Lord God, thank you for your Word; speak to me through it in some specific way today. Help me to respond in a way that pleases you.
Read 1 THESSALONIANS 4:1–12
Living to Please God
4 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.[b] The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:4 Or learn to live with your own wife; or learn to acquire a wife
- 1 Thessalonians 4:6 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a believer, whether man or woman, as part of God’s family.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
In what ways do you see God being glorified in your heart and life?
For Paul, Christian faith is never a matter purely of what to believe; it is also a matter of how to ‘live a holy life’ (v. 7). In his view, not to do so is to reject God, just as surely as not believing in him would be (v. 8). Most of Paul’s instructions in this passage relate to holiness in sexual relations. Given that sexual activity featured in pagan rituals, it’s understandable that the apostles made it explicit to new converts that they needed to act in a holy and honorable way, not taking advantage of fellow believers (vv. 3–6).1 Had Paul been writing today, he might have stressed complying with safeguarding procedures to ensure that all in our communities are safe and no one is exploited. How does your church or community ensure that your common life is ‘holy’?
For Paul, holiness isn’t just a matter of good relationships. The Thessalonians’ socio-economic lives must also be honorable. Paul’s injunctions to ‘lead a quiet life’ and ‘mind your own business’ (v. 11) might seem to imply that Christians shouldn’t be extroverts or get involved in public debates. However, this would be to misconstrue his aim. It’s possible that Paul was instead encouraging the Thessalonians to disengage from the patronage system, under which clients were paid by patrons (on whom they were economically dependent) to honor them in public discourse.2 He urges them to support themselves in ways more likely to ‘win the respect’ of non-believers (v. 12) and ensure that they aren’t beholden to other people in how they speak and act. What might be equivalent ways of living for us today, that neither bring our faith into disrepute nor compromise our ability to live in accordance with our faith?
Paul acknowledges that the Thessalonians are already living lives pleasing to God, but encourages them to do so ‘more and more’ (vv. 1, 10). What more can you do?
Father, I ask that how I live for you is consistent with what your Word says my faith walk s hould be. Help me to live in ways that glorify you and testify to your love for the world.
Last Updated on February 8, 2024 by kingstar