PJ’s Daily Devotional for Friday, February 24, 2017.
Does the Bible give practical advice on everyday life decisions? I think so…
Paul writes straightforward instructions on the marks of the Christian life: “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (1 Thessalonians 4:9–12).
Here are 4 practical points of advice Paul gives in how we are to live the Christian life in everyday ways:
- BE HEALTHY IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS (“brotherly love” v. 9): God cares that you are a part of a local church sharing in the joys of doing life together in Christian community. Anyone can say they are a Christian, but the true proof is how we love one another. For example, you can say you love God, but how can you say you love the God you cannot see if you don’t love your brothers and sisters who you can see every week.
- FOCUS YOUR LIFE’S MESSAGE (“live quietly” v. 11): God cares about the bold proclamation of the Gospel as the primary message of our lives. When we live quietly: we are not hiding our light under a bushel, rather we are focusing our life on the Light of the Gospel. We are turning down all the other ambient light of our life, so that what people see and hear from us is the Gospel! In the loud world we live in today, it should be easy to for us to understand how too much information confuses the conversation. Let me give you a quick example on the way I do this: I focus my Facebook usage to Faith & Family! You KNOW what you are going to get when you read my blog or go to my FB page.”
- BE EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY (“mind our own affairs” v. 11): God cares about relationships and your emotional health. Being a gossip, being the source of information about other people’s lives, distracts and detracts from your ability to be in God’s will in your own life—the consequences are that you get a twisted reputation in the community and you are hurting your own emotional health. So, say “NO” to idle chatter and be a bold proclamation of the Gospel!
- WORK WITH A PURPOSE (“work with your hands” v. 11): God cares that you work with your whole heart to His Glory. Christians have a higher calling of work than simply putting in their time so they can do what they want in hopes of one day retiring and having it easy. Work is divine—it is the call of your whole life! For example, I hypothesize that much of the anxiety issues in our culture are rooted in deep misunderstanding and misapplication of the Bible’s teaching regarding the rhythms of work and rest.
The heart of the passage flanks it on both sides (like bookends), found in both v. 1 & 12: “Please God . . . more and more . . . SO THAT you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”
WARNING: The DANGER to this manner of life is found in verses 2-8 (which takes up a bulk of the passage): a life that demonstrates a lack of God’s will (v. 3 says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification”) is clearly evidenced by an unbroken pattern of sexual sin. In fact, there is a direct contrast between the inability to “abstain from sexual immorality” (v. 3) and “wronging his brother in this matter” (v. 6). So, when Paul jumps into the list of the four marks of the Christian life listed above (verses 9-12), it should not be surprising that the first one is “brotherly love” which would demonstrate sanctification of your sexuality.
To conclude, the boldest verse of this whole teaching is neither the commandment of how we should live nor the declaration that God’s will for our life is our sanctification; rather it is an exclamation point: “Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you” (v. 8).
God cares about the way you live your life your life; His will for you is your sharing in His holiness (“your sanctification”). God desires so much for you and from your life: How are you allowing the Holy Spirit to be the dominant influencer of your mind, heart, body and soul?