This is my 10th post in a series on 1 Thessalonians 5:11-25. This week we are looking at what I’ve numbered as the 19th (out of 22) commandments/guidelines Paul lists on how to live our lives worthy of the gospel.
(19) Abstain from every form of evil. (Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.)
In other words, if anything is suspect – leave it. If you only slightly question it – don’t do it. Kick it out of your life. Anything that appears evil – don’t do it. Paul makes it very clear, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Paul knew that too because look what he does next. For the first time in this entire list of commandments he adds in a little prayer . Paul was a servant to God, but he was also human. He knew how we would REALLY need the Lord’s help to overcome the power of sin. Like Pastor Mike says, “If sin wasn’t fun, we wouldn’t do it.” Amen!
Unfortunately, Pastor Mike is right. Let’s be honest. Sin is fun – for a little while, anyway. Whether it’s participating in a little gossip, making decisions without including your husband, taking that item from the office they will never miss anyway, surfing a website that is “inappropriate” or indulging in one more glass of wine that puts you over the top – it can feel good and be fun for the moment, but quickly that feeling is gone and you are left only with the shame and guilt of your actions.
It was freeing to me to finally realize ten years ago that I was incapable of abstaining evil on my own. It really takes a lot of pressure off when you know only God has the power to help you overcome sin. Stay in touch with Him through His word and prayer. Only He can make you whole, keep your paths straight and your heart clean. Count on Him. He will never leave you or forsake. God is on your side. He will come through for you. You can depend on Him. As Paul prayed, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
Therefore (1) encourage one another and (2) build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to (3) respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and (4) to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. (5) Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, (6) admonish the idle, (7) encourage the fainthearted, (8) help the weak, (9) be patient with them all. (10) See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but (11) always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. (12) Rejoice always, (13) pray without ceasing, (14) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (15) Do not quench the Spirit. (16) Do not despise prophecies, (17) but test everything; (18) hold fast what is good. (19) Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Brothers, (20) pray for us. (21) Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I put you under oath before the Lord to (22) have this letter read to all the brothers. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-25 (numbers aren’t verses, but the numbers I gave them for each directive/commandment)