Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Key Verse: v8
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
What Does it Mean?
Paul writes to the church at Thessalonica about the need to be alert and not to be caught sleeping when the “day of the Lord” comes. The first-century Christians were probably much more alert than twenty-first century Christians, so Paul’s words are even more appropriate for us now. There’s a danger of complacency and of justifying or minimising the sinful behaviours that we can be tempted towards. We believe that Jesus will return, but we don’t have the same sense of urgency that the early church had. We need that urgency back. We need to stop excusing ourselves when we give into temptations that we have the power to resist. The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night – and we don’t want to get caught sleeping.
As Christians we are children of the day and children of light – and we have a responsibility to behave according to our status. We don’t have the excuse of ignorance that those who belong to the darkness have. When facing temptations, trials or difficulties, we have armour from God to protect us (see also Ephesians 6:10-18), and we have a responsibility to make sure that we wear it. Paul writes that we have faith and love as our breastplate and hope of salvation as our helmet. We have everything that we need, no matter what we face – it’s just a matter of remembering who we are and not giving ourselves permission to nap when we should be alert.
When we belong to Christ, we are “children of the light and children of the day” (v5, NIV). Although we can – and will – be affected by the darkness of the world, we don’t belong to the darkness (the enemy), and we have armour from God to protect us no matter what battles we face. We can remain calm (sober-minded) in the eye of the storm, because we wear our faith and love as a breastplate and hope as our helmet (v8). God gives us the armour we need – it is our responsibility to make sure we never leave home without it!
Journaling and Reflection
- Paul writes that we are children of light and children of day. What does this mean to you? How does it make you feel? What does it change?
- We have armour from God to protect us at all times, but it’s up to us to make sure that we’re wearing it. What practical steps can you take to ensure that your armour is always firmly in place?
- There’s a tendency to minimise or justify sinful behaviours and pretend they’re not all that bad. How can you guard yourself against having such attitudes? Why is it important that we maintain the same level of urgency that the first century Christians had?
Lord God, thank You that You give us everything we need to stay sober and alert in the face of storms and temptations. Help us to resist the temptation to justify sinfulness and stand firm as children of the light. Thank You that we no longer belong to the darkness and can trust and depend on You at all times. Amen.