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(Part 7)


December 11, 2011
Today’s reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

We are called to be holy. We become holy as we live pure. How do we live pure? “Refrain from every kind of evil.” (1 Thes 5:22).

Paul prays, “May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thes 5:23). To live pure is to be untainted in everything that we are and do, in our whole being. As such, to be holy is actually to strive for Christian perfection. As we grow in perfection, we become the spotless bride ready to meet the Bridegroom. Thus to be holy and pure prepares us for the ultimate coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in glory.

What helps us to live pure?

First, while we know it will be difficult and challenging, we know that God wills it. And if God wills it, then He will provide us whatever we need. “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it.” (1 Thes 5:24). Thus, even as we struggle, we have the confidence that God is there to help us. We need never give up or give in. We simply persevere.

Second, the way God guides and forms us is as we are growing in our personal relationship with Him. This happens mainly through prayer. We spend time with God. We listen to Him. We turn over our lives to Him. We trust in Him. We should live our life such that we are constantly in touch with Him, with the consciousness that we live for Him, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. Thus we “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thes 5:17).

Third, one way God helps us is through our brethren. God speaks through prophets. God guides, counsels and corrects through others. Often what others say will challenge us regarding our spiritual condition. We are to be open. We are to be discerning. “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good.” (1 Thes 5:19-21).

Fourth, knowing that our God is faithful and that He wills our holiness, we should “in all circumstances give thanks” (1 Thes 5:18). In all circumstances. Whether we are up or down. If we know that God is faithful and wills our holiness, then we can be thankful whatever is happening to us at the moment. We may not see it, but God will always use what is happening to move us further to perfection. In fact, the difficulties and suffering and pain are what can help purify us and propel us to holiness.

Finally, with all the above, we can only “rejoice always.” (1 Thes 5:16). It is joy that is beyond understanding. It is not just happiness that comes from good things coming our way, but it is joy that comes from knowing that we are in Christ, that we are in the best situation of our lives. It is a state of mind and heart that acknowledges the great love and plan God has for us, and His working to accomplish His purpose in preserving us blameless at His coming.

To be perfectly holy, to be entirely blameless, to pray without ceasing, to be thankful in all circumstances, to rejoice always -- that is to live pure.

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