Those who know me best know that I avidly keep a collection of inspiring Bible verses and quotes on a Pinterest board, and I’m always looking for ways to put my collection to use. I find all these verses that inspire and encourage me, but how can I use them to let them inspire others? I’ve used this board of quotes and verses as a springboard for other projects like decorative canvases and Bible journaling, but now I can dive a little deeper into the meaning of the passages instead of just the shortened versions that are usually seen.
I found this verse because of the one line (verse 11, pictured above) that I saw, and then after reading the chapter it came from (1 Thessalonians 5), I learned that the whole passage has much more meaning that just the last verse.
(Side note: if you have a favorite Bible verse, mantra, or quote, I encourage you to look it up and find the deeper meaning behind it, read the passage it came from, or learn it’s origin or original context.)
Here’s the whole chapter 1 Thessalonians 5:
(from the New International Version)
The Day of the Lord
Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 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. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
You are all children of the light and children of the day.
We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.
Those lines really struck me. We were created to not only live in the light, but to be the light. To be “children of the light” would be to imply that we are made and fashioned of the same light as the One who made us; we aren’t meant to live in darkness. There are many aspects from this passage that I love, but I’ll do my best to be brief. (Shakespeare, “brevity is the soul of wit”, anyone?)
In my earlier post, “Why I Think Happy Thoughts”, I talked about how I’m trying to become a more naturally positive person and train my mind to think positive, because it’s better for me and allows me to be happier overall. Because of this, and how much I have learned to value optimism and “happy thoughts”, I love how these verses so openly say that we are literally meant for the light. I am a true believer in the power of positive thinking, and this chapter reaffirms just that. We aren’t meant to live in darkness, but called to live in the light.
Secondly, the author of this letter to the Thessalonians is telling them they “belong to the day” and that they should “[put] on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone who wears breastplates or helmets nowadays, but the message is still relevant in that we should proudly carry faith, hope, and love with us and live on these things and share them with others.
Finally, the passage ends by reminding us that “whether we are awake or asleep” we are living with Christ. We shouldn’t hide in the night (technically, there’s really no hiding yourself from God, but you get the idea), but “be awake and sober” and remember that we are children of Christ.
Verse 11 reminds us to keep encouraging each other and bringing each other up (these are two virtues that I’m personally working to improve on). Accountability is such an important part of living in faith because we weren’t created to live this life alone. Since we are all called to a life of faith, we should help each other along this journey and work together to improve ourselves and others.