1 Thessalonians is a letter from Paul, the apostle, to the people of Thessaloniki, a Greek port city on the Thermic Gulf. Paul and Silas established the first church of Thessalonica. Following the teaching of Jesus Christ put the people at odds with Caeser. The idea that Jesus was a greater king made Caeser very angry, obviously. So he persecuted the people, which forced Silas and Paul to flee. Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians in an attempt to reconnect with the Christians in Thessalonica. Despite the persecution of Caeser, at this point, they were doing remarkably well.
Paul praised the people for their love towards others, as well as their hope and faithfulness in the face of Caeser’s injustices. The people of Thessaloniki treated Paul like family and he felt especially close to them. Paul was persecuted by his fellow Jews and the Christians were persecuted by Caeser. Paul felt a certain level of comradery with the people because of their shared experiences. Paul wanted the Christians in Thessaloniki to be known for there hard work. He wanted them to work hard not only to provide for themselves but to provide for the needy as well.
Caeser promised to bring Pax Roma, peace and security, to the people. Unfortunately, this peace was maintained through terrible violence. Paul explained that true hope and security came from Jesus Christ. He invited the people to stay sober and awake, to live as if Jesus had already returned.
“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.”
1 Thessalonians 5:6
Wake Up Paul wanted the people to be aware of the world around them, to see a need and to fill that need. How does this relate to your life today? How are you asleep and not aware of those around you? How can you wake up and see others’ needs better? “Let us not be like others, who are asleep…” Wake up and see the world around you, the good and the bad. Beung aware of the negative things in life will help you prepare for the bad and enjoy the good. Prepare for the worst and hope the best.
Be Sober Caeser’s treatment of the Christians was cruel, yet the people continued to persevere. They remained hopeful in against terrible odds. During an emergency, it is easy to lose your head. It is difficult to remain cool and collected in a chaotic environment. Not surprisingly, psychologists often see a spike in depression during a disaster. Would you be able to persevere during trying times? As Paul advises in this scripture, don’t drown yourself in distractions, “be awake and sober.” Face the difficulties head-on. Some suggestions to do so include:
Adjust your attitude. Paul also said, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4) Attitude is a general determinant of how you feel. Look at the trial you are facing and ask yourself what you can learn from this.
Pray for understanding and support. “The Spirit … bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:16-18). Whether your crisis is financial, spiritual, the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a lifestyle due to a calamity, turn to Him for the guidance and support you need.
Be Prepared. Of course, you don’t know the future. However, there are some things you can do to be ready for unknown trials. Store up your goods, your food storage and money, so that you can focus on coming out of the the trial instead of worrying about the necessities of life.
What do you do to ensure you are “awake and sober” in case of an emergency?