1 Thessalonians 4:1 “Finally, brothers, 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.”
What was up? The Thessalonians were already living in a way that pleased God. But Paul, ever mindful of the spirit of the age, urges them to press into even more holiness. Maybe he was recalling Israel’s penchant for soaking in the surrounding culture. Time and time again, they felt the pull to be like “other nations.” It almost destroyed them. Paul didn’t want the church to fall prey to the same fate. So he instructed them in three major areas: avoid sexual immorality (v.3-8), increase their love for each other (v.9-10) and live responsibly (v.11-12).
I can’t think of three areas more relevant in today’s culture…
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see sexual immorality is on the rise as never before. Those who oppose trendy lifestyles are labeled as bigoted and narrow-minded. As far as increasing our love for one another, the church seems to have fallen in lock-step with a society saturated by divisiveness. Can we honestly say the world recognizes us by our love for one another? And as our country becomes increasingly dependent on government programs, can we resist the pull toward entitlement mentality?
These three areas all have a common denominator. Each pose a danger to the dignity of man made in the image of God. Sexual immorality, divisiveness and irresponsibility play to our selfish nature and peck away at who God has designed us to be.
Author Flannery O’Connor once wrote, “Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you.” Friends, if there ever was a time when the spirit of the age was pressing hard, it is now. If we hope to live as salt and light we would do well to listen to Paul’s admonition. Let’s not be afraid to take a stand against sexual activity that contradicts the word of God. Let’s refuse to withhold love from fellow believers who disagree with us. And to the extent that we can, let’s be diligent and productive in whatever work we’re called to do. Let’s bring truth and grace into every aspect of our lives…
More and more…more and more….