Isaiah 47-49 1 Thessalonians 4
“Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Take care of your own business, and do your own work as we have already told you. If you do, then people who are not believers will respect you, and you will not have to depend on others for what you need.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NCV)
Paul went through four different themes in this chapter. He began by telling them to live in a way that pleases God by focusing on avoiding sexual sins. He could probably say the same thing to Christians today. He urged them to love brothers and sisters in Christ even more. Imagine what could happen if the church today would love other Christians – especially if they were in different denominations! He encouraged them to live and work peacefully in the community as an example of Christ’s love, showing dependence on God, not on other people. And finally, Paul taught about the second coming of Christ with the reminder that they were to encourage each other with their words. All of those themes boil down to how we live in society, especially among people who aren’t followers of Christ.
Paul urged the Thessalonians to live peaceful and quiet lives, taking care of the business of life and the work they did to support themselves. The end result would be respect from people who aren’t believers and the satisfaction of meeting their own needs. That advice is still good today. I see many believers getting caught up in the issues of this world and doing so in a way that brings ridicule on themselves. Sadly, that reflects on all Christians when we try to show the love of Christ to others. “What about Pastor so and so who was caught in a sexual sin?” “You Christians have all these denominations and you can’t get along. Why should I listen to you?” “All you Christians want to do is get in other people’s business.” Need I continue? You could probably add a number of similar criticisms that you’ve heard when trying to share the love of Christ. Sometimes, that criticism speaks of me or my ways and I need to re-examine myself. At other times, I have to deal with the results of the behavior of other Christians. Let’s take Paul’s encouragement to heart and live peaceful lives, working to make a living, and earning the respect of our neighbors. We can share the love of Christ, knowing that our lives reflect His grace.
Lord, we live in such a fast-paced world that thrives on controversy. It’s easy to get caught up in the controversies of the day. Help me to learn to live peacefully in the light of Your grace. Never let me be silent about injustice, but always help me to love other people. Help me to meet my needs so I don’t need to depend on others.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.