August 25, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
1 Thessalonians 5:16
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Some very small verses carry really huge messages. In light of all Paul has taught and preached in 1 Thessalonians, he begins to wind up the book with a series of commands. He starts the last series in 1 Thessalonians 5:14, and now we read “Rejoice always.” If you like to memorize verses, here is a great, short verse.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16, Paul commands us to rejoice (“χαίρετε“). So often I meet people who think they cannot have any command over their emotions. Many people I know live under the tyranny of their emotions. Frequently people live under such a volcano of sinful anger that ashes of anger sit upon their lives, with very toxic effect. It tends to choke off joy, and makes you unpleasant to be around. It often stems from evil festering in your heart. Paul has great news for you!
God demands that He alone controls your emotions. Can you imagine that God demands that you rejoice today. Let me say that again. God demands that you rejoice today. Consider for a moment Hebrews 12:2, page 1884: “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy [“χαρᾶς“] set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus had joy, even as He looked forward to the cross. He had real human emotions, completely controlled by God. Can you imagine how often you let your emotions go? We sin so often when we no longer let God control our emotional lives. So many people never even consider that God demands to be in full control of how you feel every day. He said rejoice always. We never have an excuse to give up our joy. Your friends all around you need someone to rejoice over God’s activity in your life. Do you feel His love today? Why not rejoice in His love? Have you seen His kindness and grace? Why not rejoice in His kindness and grace today? You get the idea.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when God takes control of how I feel towards my friends and how I feel about God.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when I rejoice over the friends in Christ God has given me. All my friends need to see a some rejoicing in me today.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we let our emotions hurt our friends without cause. When God controls our lives, we feel His emotions and rejoice over the truth, focus upon the joy set before us, and share the joy of Jesus Christ with our friends.
Application for Today
Today, I want to rejoice in Christ and encourage my friends with joy. Will you rejoice with your friends today?