True Gospel Lifestyles

Opening Prayer

Lord, teach me how to please You. Sanctify my heart through Your Word.

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1–12

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 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. 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.

Reflect

How do you encourage someone to grow in holiness? Pray that you would learn from how Paul encourages others in these verses.

Timothy’s report on the Thessalonian church doesn’t simply cover their persevering faith. He tells Paul that they are also living it out. Isn’t that thrilling?! But there is also room for improvement, because perfection is impossible in this life. See how Paul encourages them: you’re doing well, just make sure you do it “more and more” (1,10).
Even though he spent only a short time in Thessalonica, what Paul expands on in these verses would not have been news. He taught about lifestyle issues while there (2) with the common thread being the need to live differently from the pagans around them (5). In the Roman world, sexual ethics would have been the most obvious arena for living differently. Is it so different today? But it is by far from the only concern. Love for others shows itself in many ways.
The important thing is to notice the incentives Paul gives for living differently. As his brothers and sisters, they’re clearly already in God’s family. They simply need to show it (7–12).

Apply

As you live out your faith with others, are there ways you are failing to be holy and honorable? Confess them to God.

Closing prayer

Merciful Lord, empower me through Your Spirit to lead me into a path of godly love for the people around me.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider