I’m a big fan of closure. When I come to the end of something, I like to pause and reflect on all that I’ve learned and how it’s impacted me. With another year of Bible study coming to a close at Focused Living, it seems like a good time to take inventory of the major themes we’ve been studying since September.
If you attend Focused Living, you’ll see this post complements my teaching at our end of the year brunch. For those of you who follow this blog but don’t attend the study, you’ll find some good nuggets of truth. (You might even be inspired to try doing one of the studies). The passages we’ll use will help us to see what God calls us to do and how we can apply that truth to our lives. I pray you’ll be inspired to put the things we’ve learned into practice.
Children of the Day
Beth Moore’s study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians focused on the major them of living as “children of the light” based on this verse:
“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5, NIV)
And what are we supposed to do as children of the day? Our answer comes a few verses later:
“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8, NIV)
Using armor as a metaphor, the passage urges us to keep faith and love close to our hearts (the breastplate) and hope protecting our heads (the helmet).
This sounds great in theory, but how are we to put this into practice?
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)
Rejoicing and giving thanks continually protects our hearts. These attitudes reveal faith and trust in God that goes beyond our immediate circumstances. Even when we don’t understand the things He allows in our lives, we know God is working them out according to His will and for our good. Similarly, praying continually protects our minds and helps us to keep hope central in our thoughts, no matter what we are experiencing.
I like using visual reminders to communicate themes. Because I don’t have any suits of armor handy, I’m giving you a more modern version of a helmet and breastplate (my son’s lacrosse helmet and chest pads). Let them remind you of the spiritual protection we need for our heads and hearts.
One in a Million
Priscilla Shirer’s study on the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land focuses on giving us courage in our journeys through the “wilderness” of difficult seasons in our lives. She encourages us to trust God in our hardships and to fix our eyes on the hope found only in Him. Continue reading