People love lists. We write task lists, gift lists, grocery lists, project lists, and wish lists. Lists are an easy way to help us remember things that are important.
As I was recently reading 1 Thessalonians 5, I was struck by the list of exhortations penned by Paul. It’s an inspired collection of succinct admonitions to live by—spiritual advice in a few words that can make a real difference in our lives.
- Respect your spiritual leaders (v. 12-13). Accept them. Appreciate them. Honor them. Love them. Follow them.
- Promote peace (v. 13). Love peace. Live in peace. Be a peacemaker. Don’t be a troublemaker. Don’t seek revenge.
- Help those who need help (v. 14). The unruly. The fainthearted. The weak. Remember there are times we all struggle and need people to lift us up.
- Work on your own personal, inner spiritual growth (v. 15-18). Be patient. Watch your motives. Be joyful. Persist in prayer. Develop the attitude of gratitude.
- Live a godly life (v. 19-22). Be led by the Spirit. Praise God. Follow the word. Examine yourself. Hate and reject wickedness and every form of evil.
- Don’t neglect fellowship (v. 23-28). Our relationship with the Lord produces a special bond with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Don’t neglect your church family! Don’t try to live in isolation from others. Don’t ignore your duties and responsibilities to those of like-precious faith.
Make this inspired list your own. Adapt it. Modify it. Add to it. And “may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (1 Thes 5:28).