Keeping it Simple: A Small Advent Reflection

“Rejoice always,
pray continually,
give thanks in all circumstance,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.
Do not treat prophecies with contempt,
but test them all; 
hold onto what is good,
reject whatever is harmful.
May God himself,
the God of peace,
sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will do it.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Epistle reading for the 3rd Sunday in Advent, Year B
As I read through the imperatives in these glorious verses, 
I feel overwhelmed with the impossibility of it all.
“Rejoice always.”
Really?
 “Pray continually.”
 Are you sure about that?
“Give thanks in ALL circumstances.” 
Say WHAT?

Man alive, this is just plain IMPOSSIBLE.

And then the negative imperatives –
almost as tough to do as the positives: 
“Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire.” 
Well…like…ummm…duh.
 Do that about one hundred times a day, at the very least.
“Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all.” 
W-e-l-l-l…
prophecies…hmm…
do we even have those anymore?
“Hold onto what is good,
reject whatever is harmful.” 
Well, I try to do this.
I really do try.
I mean, this is important, right? 

BIG sigh.
If this passage stopped with verse 22,
I might be tempted to just plain give up
on the whole discipleship project.
This is tough sledding here.

But then… 

then come verses 23 & 24,
and the whole game changes,
in a heartbeat.
Because here it is –
the pivot point of the whole deal,
the truth of the matter,
the proof of the pudding:
IT’S NOT UP TO ME.
At least it’s not all – or even mainly – up to me.

The subject changes from the implied ‘you’
(meaning us, including and especially me),
to…
God himself! 

Well, here it is – read it again for yourself.
It’s the best news ever: 

May God himself,
the God of peace,
sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
The one who calls you is faithful, 
and he will do it.” 

Well, boy howdy, hallelujah, and AMEN!

 Joining with Deidra’s wonderful new family at JumpingTandem and with Katie Lloyd and all the other wonderful photographers over at Scripture and a Snapshot:

 

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Comments

  1. Mornin’ Diana!

    Look at all those great tabs on your home page!! Way to go. =) I knew you could do it. Really cool! Howdy doo, Hallelujah, Amen!

    This post is so beautiful. I love hearing your grace-giving voice, while pointing out the truth that this is God’s work and strength in us. What is impossible for me becomes possible if I yield and allow him to work in me. You are a blessing for sharing the reminder. Hug to you Diana!

  2. Love this, Diana! It’s so easy to slip into the DIY/bootstrap mentality.

    It’s all Him, all the time, isn’t it?

  3. How we need this reminder again and again.
    Got it! Now what do we do?
    Got it! Now what do we do?
    Got it! Now what do we do?
    Got it!
    God can do it in us!
    Thanks Diana.
    Blessed again.
    Love, J&J

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