Life can be hard. We have problems come at us from all angles. How we deal with these and move forward defines life as we know it. I was greatly encouraged through my personal study and preparation of 1 Thess. 4:9-18 in how I look at life’s problems.
It is my prayer that this passage would encourage you as well as we allow a biblical perspective to be our guide in light of the problems of life.
- The Problem of Yesterday: Just Keep Loving. We all get hurt, we all have disappointments, we all deal with this. But Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to keep loving one another. God had taught them how to love (verse 9) but Paul still reminds then that it never can just be put on cruise control and forgotten. “But, we urge you brothers, to do this more and more.” (verse 10). No mater what life has dealt you, love one another more and more.
- The Problem of Today: Just Keep Working. One day Jesus will return, but until that day we have to live this life in a productive way. We should not live dependent of others but work hard day in and day out. (verse 11) As we do this we will maintain the respect of our community, and maybe more importantly, maintain respect for ourself. (verse 12) It is a great temptation to slack off or give up when things get hard. Hang in there. Keep working hard and it will pay off.
- The Problem of Tomorrow: Just Keep Hoping. Last week I attended the funeral of a dear church member. In a year cancer racked her body and claimed her life while she was in her prime. But her funeral was a celebration of hope. It was a living example of Paul’s words that we “do not grieve as other do who have no hope.” (verse 13) While the unknowns of tomorrow can be painful, we are not without hope. The object of our hope is Jesus Christ and his victory over sin and death. “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again…” (verse 14). When we hope in Jesus we will never be put to shame. Whatever tomorrow holds, we hold onto hope in Jesus. “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (verse 18)
1 Thess. 4:9-18
9 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, 10 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, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.