2016-10-30 - 1 Thessalonians Study
Letters to a Young Church ~ Our Practice
What a joy it must have been, for Paul to be able to write to a body of young believers such as these were. These were believers he could encourage to continue to grow in areas that they could already be praised for. We need to pray and strive that the same can be said of us.
Essentially, there are two factors that we need to consider, if our lives are to be in line with the Paul’s principles. The first is that we must understand the source of life. Second, we must recognize the underlying quality that allows us to walk in a worthy manner.
If we realize life comes from only God, then we can understand how Paul can expect us to be able to pray constantly, and to be joyful in spite of circumstances, and give thanks in all things. We are called to live for the Lord and to please Him; nothing else is to be the goal of our lives. As Paul asks,
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10).
We are to live for the Lord, not for the people and things. Then, though they can affect us, they can not overwhelm us. We need to be able to say that “I am living to please God, not even my self.”
Also, the underlying spirit of our lives must be agapé, because it is only this love that puts others ahead of ourselves, that allows us to be patient with everyone, to be there to support one another, to comfort one another, and to confront one another when needed.
Applying all this to the issue of relationships, we need to understand all of us are the body - whatever our “position.” Therefore we must all live out agapé, living for one another instead of ourselves. At this point, there is minimal distinction between leading a body and being the body. This isn't a problem, though, because the call to care and get along is made to all within the body - leader or member. We are to all get along. This can happen because of and through the working of agapé within the body.
The body is a place where the needs of others are to be placed ahead of our own. Christ is to serve as our example, for He placed our salvation ahead of His life. We are called to live in the same manner.
We can rejoice because we are loved by God, as His children, having received salvation as His undeserved gift. We can rejoice knowing God is in control. Joy is to be consistent, even in the midst of persecution such as the Thessalonians faced.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Study to be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.