12-13And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love! 13-15Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other's nerves you don't snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out. 16-18Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 19-22Don't suppress the Spirit, and don't stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don't be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what's good. Throw out anything tainted with evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-22, The Message)
I am always blown away by passages like the one above. There are so many just like it in scripture. It is easy to read over a list of commands like this one and think something like, "Paul wants me to be a nice boy," but when you actually ponder each one, it is like getting punched in the gut, repeatedly!
Be cheerful NO MATTER WHAT!
Submission, selflessness, honesty...
Intellectual commitment, humility, thankfulness...
My friends words about "God's framing hammer of righteousness..." are echoing in my ears.
I could spend a lifetime on each one of these things, thanks for the sucker-punch Paul!