I have been reading and meditating on 1 Thessalonians 4. No matter how often I read a passage of Scripture there is always something to learn. There is always some wisdom to take into my every day life. And when I struggle, it is in conversation,(prayer) and in studying God’s Word that I find what I need. Sometimes it is a quick chat and sometimes the conversation goes on for an extended period of time. I feel like Jacob wrestling with God and I will not be letting go until I feel the blessing of understanding – at least in part.
Finally, dear brothers and sisters,we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. 1 Thessalonians 4:1 (NLT)
Live to please God. I have been taught that. I have read Scripture and I continue to do so. But Paul says here to live my life pleasing to God and if I have moments of success – it doesn’t mean I have reached a plateau to pitch my tent and live! It just means I receive encouragement and keep on climbing the mountain that leads me further from the muck of sin and closer to the embrace of God.
What more can I do? I don’t do porn. I’m not an adulteress! To do more and come closer to Jesus’ example means I embrace more activities that are God-guided and God-provided. I think more on things that are “true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT) I love my husband, Henry, but there are always opportunities to bless him more! If I ask God, He will bring ideas to me, I guarantee that!
Do you go to church every Sunday? What is your reason for going or not going? Obedience to “keeping the Sabbath holy” is not about doing what a church member or any person expects of you, but what God speaks to you as your Father. It is not about doctrines but about what is in my spirit to be obedient and in that obedience show the truth of my love for God, desiring to please Him and magnify who He is to those around me. Jesus showed me that obeying God’s laws was truly about the love in my heart for Him and His opportunities to show that same love to others.
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NLT)
Did you see that? Right there in Scripture it says, “Mind your own business!” And that connects directly with Jesus’ words to take care of the plank of sin in my eye before I try to poke the eye of another looking for a speck of sawdust! (Luke 6:41)
And then it says I should work for my living. Work in such a way that others may see that am grateful for the honest wage for true work and I do not feel entitled to a handout from others who work! To me this is pretty clear as it pertains to some of the US government programs. Social Security Disability, Medicare and Medicaid, Aid to Dependent Children are all good things. They were conceived for good reasons for people who have worked or are working and now need some help. We all have times when we need help and support but we also have a responsibility to do what we can to care for ourselves and others. God does not like to see His children being lazy!
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NLT)
Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say that if I believe in God, I should not grieve when someone I love dies. I am without someone who has a piece of my heart. They are a part of my life. Their absence causes pain. However, as I move through the days and nights, it is also good for me to remember God’s promises to those who believe in Him. Jesus said He went to “prepare a place” (John 14:2) and with belief in Him, we “would not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). It is hard for me to truly understand the concept of eternity but I know it has no end so the time I am apart from my loved one is but a moment in the concept of forever. God’s plan for me and all His children is a source of encouragement but I must be diligent to keep myself in the knowledge of those promises and not be distracted into the world’s view of death and suffering.
Hope is not a logical, even scientific concept. It is a concept of faith. If I live as a person of faith, I must actually live my faith, not just give it lip service. It must be part of my mind, my spirit and yes, even my body. I live as a child of God. I make decisions from God’s wisdom, faith, hope and unconditional love. I live with God.