We must mind our business with an intentional focus on tranquility. God’s desire is that we should desire more and more of that peaceful serenity He gives. This is His desire for us even and especially when what’s happening around us has nothing to do with the peacefulness that is flowing through us.
“that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” 1 Thessalonians 4:11
That phrase “quiet” speaks of all that we’re talking about – aspiring to lead a life with that peace. We must begin by wanting it and working toward it.
“Seek strenuously to be still.” – Charles Swindoll
It does take an intentional focus to relax and wind down. We must work hard at resting.
“Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10
The more we do this the better we’re going to get at doing it when it counts, when everything is crazy. The more we will perform well under pressure and be unflappable in the face of things that formerly made us lose our cool. We must be watchful on our lives, seeking strenuously to fight for tranquility.
We were not born again as an end unto ourselves but as a beginning for someone else. The more we give the more life can grow.
“The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.” Proverbs 11:24
We were born for our world to grow bigger as we reach out wider. Not only were we born for this, but others need to be born into this. The same gospel that brought us life must be passed on so other’s can have life. We’ve got to share the only name by which men can be saved: Jesus. He must overflow from our lives.
“May the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12 MSG
This is going to take generosity. Generosity of spirit, of time, with finances, and with sacrifice. As we are fishers of men following Jesus Christ the mark of our progress is not simply Bible knowledge, it’s evangelistic passion. You know you are like Jesus when you are growing in zeal. A generous spirit knows salvation was given, not earned. We’re stewards of the gospel and will be held accountable for what we did with it. What right do we have to let it stop with us?
Having a purpose in life gives you perspective – when you have a purpose for doing something it changes how you respond to obstacles. Increasing desire to spread the gospel and share Christ is a mark of progress in the Christian life. That’s what we see happening here with the Thessalonians:
“…sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.” 1 Thessalonians 3:2-4
The Thessalonians had experienced pain as a result of their decision to follow Jesus. Paul tells them not to make the mistake of interpreting their situation as evidence that they did something wrong, but that they did something right. They were appointed to this. They’re on the right track. They were, in fact, born for this. Their passion to preach the gospel was a mark of progress, and so was the adversity that came against them. If you are going to shine a light darkness will try and put it out.
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12
This is far from being a bad sign – it’s evidence you are right where you are supposed to be.
This weekend in part three of “Our Glory and Joy” we talked about will. Will can also be defined as determination, resolve, drive, dedication, doggedness, tenacity or tenaciousness.
Paul’s will was to minister God’s word to the Thessalonians. He was grieved to be apart from them physically, but was still with them in heart. Their part was to have a will to receive God’s word.
“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”
1 Thessalonians 2:13
Paul didn’t thank God that they simply heard it, but because they received it with faith. God’s word is powerful when it is received with active faith, otherwise it does not work effectively. The impact the word has is conditioned on the faith in which it is received. The word can’t work where there isn’t that a will to see it work.
“But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.”
This is why the work at Thessalonica was so on fire, sounding forth all of Greece so that Paul didn’t even need to say a word. There was a humility before God’s word and a drive to see it work.
What’s your will when it comes to receiving God’s word?