"Be joyful always; pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thess 5:16-18)
Admit it, you've thought this borders on excess too, hain't-cha, didn't-cha?
Do I need to remind you to lie breaks one of the Big Ten?
Well, if we thought 1 Thess. 5 was was a pushing the limits,
check out the "everything" in this over-the-top passage:
"Do everything without complaining or arguing,
so that you may become blameless and pure,
children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation,
in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life..."
~ Philippians 2:14-16a ~ NIV
Say what? "Everything without complaining or arguing"?
Some of you just lost your reason to live ;-)
Many things, most things, but . . .
My taxes, homework, housework , "that" task at work,
bathrooms & diapers, budgets & building maintenance...?
"Everything"? Come on!
Umm... it occurs to me we (yes, you too) might be - gulp -
arguing & complaining about this God-given expectation.
Does it help to know Paul wrote this in prison, not sure if he would live or die?
Yeah, me neither. . .
Yet, he continued his appeal for contentment and joy by saying:
"in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for
In other words, when we live with joy, trust, contentment & peace,
we give evidence that we are "the real deal" - God's kids -
both to the dark world & to those who minister to us.
"But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and
service coming from your faith,
I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with
Some things in like stink - suffering injustices among them.
Yet, we are told to quit griping & fighting & be different.
- shining lights (see Matt 5:13-16; 1 Peter 2:9-12).
"Do everything without complaining or arguing..."
It leads to purity and proclamation.
Let's pray this for one another today - thanks,
Years later, in jail again, Paul facing execution wrote in 2 Timothy 1:8-10
"So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (NIV)