We always thank God for all of you, making mention of you constantly in our prayers.
We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work produced by faith,
your labor motivated by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
On Honor and Prayer
All of chapter 1 in 1 Thessalonians is absolutely beautiful. I read it and got all teary-eyed. Paul is writing to this group of believers in the church of Thessalonica. He, Silvanus, and Timothy were welcomed into this group with open arms of gratitude and joy. This group was teachable and humble toward the gospel and receptive to the work of the Holy Spirit.
Paul, as someone of influence and authority in this church’s life, spoke of them and to them with such grace and love and encouragement. It made me begin to think about the spheres in my life where God has given me influence and authority. How do I use my words in those spaces? How do you?
Always give honor where honor is due.
The definition of honor is to show respect and recognition. It is to give credit. That is what Paul did with each word in this chapter. He makes mention of everything they were doing that blessed him and revealed their love for God. Their work was produced by faith, their labor was motivated by love, and their endurance was inspired by hope in Christ. These believers welcomed the truth of the Gospel and endured in spite of persecution.
Paul acknowledges the fruit of their lives and honors them. For me, I have at times wanted leadership in my life to simply see me and encourage me. God always sees us. We are always known by Him, but part of His plan for community is for us to give honor where honor is due. Our words have more power than we remember. We speak life or death. Our words have the potential to bring hope and healing to weary souls. Giving honor to those around us ultimately honors God.
Speak to people’s progress and potential.
The process of sanctification is just that — a process. We are made into the image of Christ with each passing day, from glory to glory. We aren’t perfect. God doesn’t expect us to be. We shouldn’t expect others to be either. In my almost 20 years of leading youth and young adults, I have noticed that all they want is for someone to have continued faith in them even when they fall short.
Paul reminded the Thessalonians about their idol worship. I’m sure they didn’t need reminding. He didn’t remind them to shame them. He reminded them so that they could see how far they had come, how much they had grown. They were now serving the living and true God. They were waiting for the Son to return.
They were now imitators of God and example to other believers. Their faith had gone out to other places. They were now proclaiming the gospel. Others had seen their progress, but they needed to see it for themselves.
One of my friends describes this as calling out the gold in someone’s life. That is a lovely picture of drawing out purpose and potential instead of staying stuck in the past.
Cover others in prayer.
Prayer is the game changer. It is what ushers in the Holy Spirit to infuse our words with His power. I love that Paul led his letter with the fact that he thanked God for the Thessalonians and prayed for them constantly. I can encourage others all day. And that is good and important, but praying over them is how the Holy Spirit changes their hearts and lives. There is actually a double blessing attached. Prayer changes us too. It changes how we think, feel, speak, and live.
Let’s be women who give honor where honor is due.
Let’s be women who call out the gold in others’ lives.
Let’s be women who faithfully cover others in prayer.
How do you honor, pray for, and call out the gold in the lives of those around you?
How has someone done that for you?