Building Spiritual Muscles
Thursday, March 9th, 2017
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thess 5:16-22
The human body is a remarkable creation of God. Physical exercise and fitness is essential for the well being of this gift from God. The human body, like any living organism, must be used or it will lose its structure and function. What is true about physical life is also true about spiritual life. Our inner person, our spiritual being requires exercise to be healthy and productive.
We must engage in spiritual exercise to be fit and ready for service, trained and fine-tuned for efficient ministry,
In 1 Thess 5:16-22, Paul directs our attention to eight spiritual exercises to build our spiritual muscles in the Lord.
- Rejoice Always vs 16
The first challenge we receive is to rejoice always. Paul addresses the subject of joy over 24 times in his letters. Joy is a mark of one who has experienced God’s transforming grace through Jesus Christ. In life and especially in ministry, we must exercise our ‘joy’ muscles. As the ‘joy’ muscles grow stronger, we develop an optimistic outlook, a sense of humor and a winsome spirit. There is a smile rather than a frown. People leave our presence more encouraged than when they first arrived.
- Pray Without Ceasing vs 17
There is an intimate connection between vs 16 and 17, for unceasing prayer will always produce a joyful heart. A heart full of joy is the result of a heart free of burdens. A heart free of burdens is a heart comforted by prayer. Prayer is to be a regular habit, a close companion. Prayer is that incredible conversation which connects earth to heaven and man to God.
- Give Thanks In Everything vs 18
Here is perhaps one of the most difficult commands in the Bible to obey. The demand seems absurd to give thanks for everything. Note, we are to give thanks in all things not for all things. When a person believes in the Righteousness of God, he gets saved and realizes that God’s purpose is being worked out in every given circumstances. For what is fitter and more suitable for pacifying us than when we learn that God embraces us in Christ so tenderly that He turns to our advantage everything that befalls us.
- Desire The Spirit Fervently vs 19
The verse is translated “do not quench the Spirit.” The word ‘quench’ means “to put out.” A true believer in the Righteousness of God cannot lose the Spirit but he can grieve Him. In this verse it is the work and not the person of the Spirit that is in view. To quench the Spirit is to extinguish, stifle, restrain or stop His work in our lives.
- Honor Preaching Properly vs 20
One way we may quench the Spirit is by despising the preaching of the Word. Preaching of the Word is “power of God”, it convinces and it convicts. Preaching continues to be assaulted in our day. The attack comes even from within the church circle. We must preach with passion, zeal and energy without reservation.
- Live Life Wisely vs 21
Vigilance in guarding the faith which we once have embraced is an ever necessary posture. We can never relax our guard or let down our defense. Test the spirits. Is the teaching consistent with the Bible, does it express the ministry of the Holy Spirit and does it honor the Person of Christ?
- Keep The Good Zealously vs 21
Once we have put all things to the test, we are to continually hold fast to what is good. Paul is telling us to cling to and never let go of that which is good. When we discover any good thing from God, we ought to guard it and keep it close to our hearts.
- Abstain from Evil Completely vs 22
‘Abstain’ is a strong word. Paul means every kind of evil rather than just every outward appearance of evil. Evil comes at us in all sorts of size, shapes and forms. It is a complex enemy. Evil knows us from our shoe size to our hat size. It regularly unsettles us so that we might be off guard and be knocked out. Readiness and preparation is required to withstand its perpetual assault and deception.
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