In First Thessalonians 5:16-22 there are seven short exhortations which will prove extremely valuable to God’s child, which I will examine in this devotion. “Rejoice evermore”. One may say, “how is it possible to rejoice evermore”? The answer is found in Philippians 4:4; “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, rejoice.” God does not call on His child to rejoice because of his troubles or because he is mistreated by others. Our call is to rejoice always based on something worth rejoicing in - the Lord. In the midst of your troubles, you may rejoice in the Lord. As you stand beside the dearest person on earth to you and look upon their lifeless face and silent lips, you can rejoice in the Lord. God is telling every one of His children that there is always something in which he may rejoice; that something is God himself. If one’s joy of life is based on God, it will be constant, regardless of circumstances. The next statement in this series is; “Pray without ceasing”. God is not telling you to stay on your knees twenty-four hours a day. He is telling you to never leave off prayer. Prayer is as necessary to your spiritual life as mealtime is to your natural life. If you miss too many nourishing meals, you will become weak and sickly. If you miss too many prayer times, you will become the same way spiritually.
I Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” You may wonder, what is God’s will for me? This verse reveals at least one thing that is God’s will for you. You will notice as you study the Holy Scriptures that one thing God really hates is complaining. You will note that this verse does not say to give thanks in some things and in other things complain. Complaining is not the spirit God appreciates. The spirit that pleases God is the spirit of thanksgiving. A complaining spirit is an expression to God that one is displeased with God. A thankful spirit expresses to God our gratefulness to him for his goodness. We may give thanks in everything because God is with us at all times, even though we might not feel His presence.
Verse 19 reads; “Quench not the Spirit”. Quenching the Spirit is like putting water on a fire, or putting water in gasoline. The fire dies down when water is put on it, and the automobile begins to miss or may even quit running. A child of God quenches the Spirit when he will not obey the Spirit’s leading. Most of the time, the Holy Spirit will speak to us from the Scriptures. Is there anything the Holy Spirit is leading you to do? Have you been putting him off? You will bless your soul if you go ahead and do whatever he is leading you to do!
Verse 20 reads; “Despise not prophesyings”. “Despise” means “think nothing of or put no value upon”. This verse is referring to the preaching of the Word of God. We are instructed by this verse not to place a small value upon the preaching of the Word of God. The interpretation and application of the Scriptures should be prized and valued greatly. It is God’s means of the furtherance and increase of one’s knowledge, grace, holiness and comfort. We must not undervalue the preaching of God’s Word, even though it is plain and without enticing words. The preaching of the Scriptures stirs up one’s mind to holy and spiritual things so that his walk will be more in step with God.
Verse 21 reads; “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” Everything must be proven. We do not test all things by touch, taste or smell. It is not necessary to test all things by personal experience. We have a standard by which everything is to be measured. That standard is the Word of God. Everything is to be proven, not by partaking of it, but by God’s Word. Those things which prove to be good are to be held fast; and those things which will not stand the test are to be rejected.
Verse 22 reads; “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” “Abstain” means “hold off from” and “appearance” means “sight”. God is telling us to stay away from everything that looks like sin, leads to sin, or borders on sin. A person who does not shun the occasions, temptations or approaches of sin will not long abstain from actually committing sin. Sin is of such a foul odor, that even in such cases when one might not touch it, the odor gets on a person who stands too close to it. God not only wants His child to be clean, but to smell clean.
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