First of all, here is the passage in the New American Standard Bible Translation (NASB):
“But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. 14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. 25 Brethren, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. 27 I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”
Here are some of my thoughts on this passage:
Verses 12-13 – These verses are a good reminder to every congregation. To me the point is, “show appreciation to your leaders and don’t just take what they do for granted.” Each congregation should try to assess themselves objectively and see how they are doing. I am uncomfortable in making too much of these 2 verses.
Key Words in Verse 14 – Admonish, Encourage, Help, Be Patient,
Understand that each of the following things are meant to be an overflow of knowing Jesus. They are not intended to be a code of ethics.
Verse 15 – Don’t repay evil with evil, but seek after that which is good for others
Verse 16 – Rejoice
When? Always. Why? Not because of circumstances, but rather because the Lord is full of love towards us.
Verse 17 – Pray
How often? Like an ongoing conversation throughout the day.
Verse 18 – Give thanks
When? Notice that it said ‘In’ Everything and not ‘For’ Everything.
Verse 19 – Don’t quench the Holy Spirit
Why? How about the opposite, let Him loose!
Verse 20 – Don’t despise prophecy
Rather – respect it, fan it into flame, grow in it, listen to the Holy Spirit, keep your spiritual eyes and ears open!
Verse 21 – Examine everything, hold fast to the good
Especially these days!
Verse 22 – Abstain from every form of evil
Yes the blatant and the subtle ones!
So what do the things in the above 6 verses look like when I do them in my daily life? How do I do this?
Verse 23 – May God sanctify you entirely, may you be preserved, without blame
He has, He will!
Verse 24 – He is faithful and He will do it!
Verse 25 – Pray for us – yes amen!
Verse 26 – Greet with a kiss- mwah!
Verse 27 – Read this letter to everyone – or else (just kidding)!
Verse 28 – Grace to you! Lots of it