5 1I don’t think, friends, that I need to deal with the question of when all this is going to happen. 2You know as well as I that the day of the Master’s coming can’t be posted on our calendars. He won’t call ahead and make an appointment any more than a burglar would. 3About the time everybody’s walking around complacently, congratulating each other—“We’ve sure got it made! Now we can take it easy!”—suddenly everything will fall apart. It’s going to come as suddenly and inescapably as birth pangs to a pregnant woman. 4But friends, you’re not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard by any of this? 5You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. 6So let’s not sleepwalk through life like those others. Let’s keep our eyes open and be smart. 7People sleep at night and get drunk at night. 8But not us! Since we’re creatures of Day, let’s act like it. Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation. 9God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. 10He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him! 11So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. The Way He Wants You to Live 12And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. 13Overwhelm them with appreciation and love! Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. 14Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. 15And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out. 16Be cheerful no matter what; 17pray all the time; 18thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 19Don’t suppress the Spirit, 20and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. 21On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. 22Throw out anything tainted with evil. 23May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. 24The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it! 25Friends, keep up your prayers for us. 26Greet all the followers of Jesus there with a holy embrace. 27And make sure this letter gets read to all the brothers and sisters. Don’t leave anyone out. 28The amazing grace of Jesus Christ be with you!
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About