So as I walk through the two letters from Paul to the Church in Thessalonica, I thought I'd pause and share some of my thoughts in writing. I often wander away from any series I tend to start on my blog/journal as I don't like to keep God in a box, but I think sometimes it's also important to finish an idea that I start. So in an attempt to finish said idea, I had a few things that I thought I'd share this week from his letters ...
This is Day 3: Click for day(s): 1, 2, 3
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.If someone came up to you and said one of these two things, which would be more encouraging? Engaging? Acceptable? Well received? ... even if your name isn't Matt!
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
- Matt, you need to do more!
- Matt, you're doing ____ so well! You are shining in this area! I love it! Let me see more of it!
It's how Paul encourages here. He doesn't focus on what they are not doing well, he focuses on what they are doing well. He plays up on their strengths. and encourages them to grow in that area even more!
There are ways to encourage one another that are pleasant ... and then there are ways to encourage others that will make them glow!
My 5 year old daughter can walk up to me in a new dress and I could make her smile by simply stating that I like her new dress. That would be encouraging. That would be pleasant. However I could also pause, (really pause to take a moment out of my day) ... and then ask her to spin around so I can get a good look at that beautiful dress! When she does so, and the dress twirls around her, I could answer her in excitement and exclaim "That is such a pretty dress, and you make it look even more beautiful! Look how it twirls!" ... and she would go from feeling pleasant to absolutely glowing!
Odd comparison? Perhaps ... but maybe not. I could walk up to another brother in Christ and encourage them with a pat on the back, help them as their accountability partner, or some other typical way. Or ... or I could decide to listen. Really listen, you know? Not like waiting until they are done speaking to say the thing you wanted to say while they were talking. Not that any of us do that of course ... and instead simply point out their strengths, elevate them to highlight how I see God working in them, and encourage them to focus on the great strengths they have and keep pushing forward ... all while showing my honest excitement for them!
If we listen to somebody long enough we will see where God has gifted them and where His Light shines. Point that out, and celebrate it!
But what about accountability? What about pointing out our weak areas where sin resides?
I'm all for accountability and bringing sin to light ... but I'll tell ya what. When I'm on fire for Christ, sin has no hold on me. I could walk through a valley of temptations and not even look to the left or right. So let's encourage and fan into flame the beautiful gifts and strengths we see in our brothers and sisters in Christ around us; focus on that. Let them twirl around showing off His beautiful spiritual gifts He has given them and watch them walk away glowing in the Fire of His Holiness!
I know you have some gifts! Let it Twirl!