Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men].See that none render evil for evil unto any [man]; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].
(1 Thessalonians 5:14-15)
For the next 6 devotions, we will be looking at this word of encouragement from Paul to the members of the church at Thessalonica. Our devotions will center on the six exhortations given to us by Paul…
1. warn them that are unruly,
2. comfort the feebleminded,
3. support the weak,
4. be patient toward all [men].
5. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man];
6. ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].
In this morning’s devotional we will be looking at the first of Paul’s exhortations to us…
warn them that are unruly
Do we care about others around us? Do we desire to please the Lord with our lives? If so, we will take the time and effort to warn others who are erratic in their life walk for Christ.
Who are we to warn? It is those who are “unruly”. In other words, it is those who “unarranged”, or “out of proper order”. It is those people whose life walk is not in alignment with the principles of God’s Word…
1. Their speech and actions are not in alignment.
They may speak the truths of His Word without living them out in their lives. In these cases, their words and actions are erratic and inconsistent with one another.
2. Their lives are inconsistent from one moment to the next.
In these cases, they live inconsistent lives. They are like a ship tossed about by the waves of a sea. One moment they may be living in obedience to the Word, the next moment they are living in disobedience. In these cases, their service to the Lord is not consistent but varies based upon their situation, their mood, or their convenience.
How are we to deal with these erratic Christians? We are to “warn” them of their spiritual shortcomings.
If we study the idea behind the word “warn” it teaches us much about the proper spirit and way in which we are to give warning to others. The Greek word for “warn” literally means “to gently place in the mind”. This helps us to understand several basic principles:
1. to warn implies MILD counsel and correction.
It is simply placing in someone’s mind the need for change. It does not imply a forced submission. It is simply speaking to others wanting to place in their mind the importance of change for their lives.
2. to warn implies HUMBLE counsel and correction.
It excludes an attitude of superiority or lordship over others. It is not speaking down to them, nor is it commanding them to change their life. It is simply laying forth the truths of God’s Word in an understandable way, allowing the Spirit to convict and bring about the needed change.
3. to want implies LOVING counsel and correction.
It is a counsel that is given from a heart of love (for the Lord and the one in need of counseling). It is to lovingly place in the mind of the individual a gift of advice that is only meant to be of benefit to them. If we really love those around us, how can we withhold spiritual counsel from those who are erratic in their service for Christ?
Please note these basic truths about giving counsel to others is upheld in many other Biblical texts…
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 5:25-6:2)
“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.Let every one of us please [his] neighbour for [his] good to edification.” (Romans 15:1-2)
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient,In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
May we all understand the need to help those who are struggling spiritually among us. We can do this by gently placing in their mind the truths of God’s Word and the need to align themselves with those truths.
The best way for your counsel to be received and be beneficial to others, is by delivering the counsel with the proper spirit and manner. Love, humility, kindness and gentleness should always be a part of the counsel that we give to those in need.
May we all be willing to humble ourselves and lovingly share spiritual counsel to those who are erratic in their service for Christ.
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