Thursday, July 21, 2011
Life lessons from Thessalonica (part 1) - 1 Thessalonians 1 (series 1)
We have spent a few days discussing the mentoring relationships that the Apostle Paul was involved in and the great benefit they brought to his life. As Paul continues in Thessalonica, he offers an abundance of life and leadership lessons.
Paul speaks boldly of lives that should be transformed by securing new relationships with Christ primarily, but also our improved relationships with each other. These new minds and lives, and how we approach others will add significant value to the people we serve. What Paul is speaking of this transformation, he is imploring the Thessalonians, and us to become more righteous. More right. More correct.
He wants us to be more right in how we think, what we feel, what we say, what we do, how we treat each other...more right.
What areas is Paul speaking of?
1. Anxiety and fear were the order of the day, just as it continues to be today. Increasingly, the Thessalonians were able to act in faith, trusting not only God, but one another as well (1 Thessalonians 1:3,10).
This is a vitally important concept in every aspect of our lives. Not only are we to trust in God, we must learn to trust ourselves and others. We must have sufficient confidence in ourselves to make better and better decisions. This means educating ourselves, and learning from our errors.
And, it means trusting others. This requires an open heart and mind. We have to trust people to do the tasks we give them. we must be there for backup, if they fall. We must provide training if we need to. This means we don't micro-manage. We show people that we believe in them, and teach them to believe in themselves.
What the people at the church in Thessalonica learned was that, even when these people were suffering affliction, they were able to retain confidence (1 Thessalonians 3:4). They retained confidence in God. Confidence in themselves and confidence in each other.
Did this make life perfect? Hardly, but it made and makes it much more bearable when we realize that we are not in the sour alone. We are never alone.
2. Isolation was as much a fact then as it is now. Individualism created a lonely crowd of people. We have touched on this many times. There people we come in contact with every day who lead lonely and isolated lives. Now, don't get me wrong...being alone does not necessarily mean that you are lonely. There is a major distinction between the two. The difference lies in being comfortable with who you are, comfortable in your own skin.
Are you comfortable in your own skin? Do you enjoy your own company?
What do you do to combat anxiety and fear?