Years ago when I was visiting Cuba, I decided to go for a personal hike. Foolishly I went alone and began to climb a small mountain following the path, or so I thought to the top. The sun was shining brightly and as I trekked through the small village, the locals smiled at me and may have wondered why I was there. After reaching the summit, which really wasn’t too difficult, I decided to climb down a different way. In a very short time the sun disappeared and a cloud-filled sky took its place. I knew I had to head south so I checked out the trees and hoped that in Cuba, what I had learned in science years before still applied. ‘Moss grows on the north side of the trees,’ I was told by one of by wonderful public school teachers and ‘Water runs down hill.’ I tried to orient myself and followed a stream to the bottom and eventually found my way back to my dormitory.
Finding one’s direction is one thing on a hike, but a very serious matter when it comes to godly living. Paul and his missionary team had challenged the new converts in Thessalonica to live ‘in order to please God.’ Then persecution had driven a wedge between the converts and the missionary team and Paul was left to wonder about the spiritual health of these ‘left behind’ converts.
As he writes chapter 4 of 1 Thessalonians he reviews the past, assesses the present and anticipates the future godliness of these young believers. His instruction provides all Christ followers with an orientation that is essential to spiritual progress.
“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. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Thess. 4:1,2 NIV)
The aim – please God
The authority – that of the Lord Jesus
Paul is functioning as a model for all godly leaders. Live for Christ yourself and urge those you lead to Christ to do likewise. Instruct and encourage others. Urge obedience. After all, can anyone obey God too much?
So some questions of application –
- Are you living in order to please God?
- Are you more passionate about following Jesus Christ than you were when you were first converted?
- Who speaks into your life and encourages you to walk closely with the Saviour?
- Who are you investing in? What circle of influence and what tools are you using to follow Jesus Christ?
May God make you not only a serious disciple but a committed disciple-maker. There is no higher calling!