“But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6, NLT
Paul warns us of a day when God will hold all people accountable for their attitudes and actions. Since this time will come unexpectedly, we need to stay alert and ready at all times. This is especially important for those of us who tend to procrastinate. God wants us to act immediately whenever we see sin in our lives. He doesn’t want us to delay confessing our sins or forgiving others. When God shows us where we need to change, he also offers us the power to change. There is no acceptable reason to put off doing what God calls us to do. The time to obey God is always now.
In these verses, Paul leaves us with a collection of good teaching. If we follow these many instructions, as we can with God’s help, we will be well on our way. We are called to minister to others and to actively participate in God’s ongoing work on earth. This gives hope to others and preserves our own spiritual gains as well. Paul calls us to rebuild our relationships by repaying the wrongs of others with kindness. We are called to live joyful lives, to be always prayerful, to continually seek God’s will. We are reminded of the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s continual helping presence. God gives us what we need to fulfill his plan for our lives. Our part is to participate in the good plan he has set out for us.