Prepare to be Different
Eternal Lord God, may Your purity, power and goodness fill my mind and heart as I worship You now.
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.  For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.  It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;  that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,  not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;  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.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.  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.  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,  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,  so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat admonitions does Paul give these Christians (and us)?
The Thessalonians are strong in faith (3:8), great witnesses for Christ (1:8) and a blessing to many people (9,10). Yet, they need to do more of the same (1,10) because God’s holiness bar is set very high! Our holy God intends to make us holy (3) and he calls us to get involved in the process (1,7). Maybe this process starts with asking ourselves the question: does this action, this word, this thought please or grieve God’s Holy Spirit? Holiness is very down to earth. Since our bodies are God’s temple, inhabited by his Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), what we do to our bodies and with our bodies will either honor or dishonor God. Paul focuses on the way we honor God through sex (3-6). In biblical terms, sexual immorality is any practice that lies outside of God’s creation model of one man and one woman committed to each other for life. A Thessalonian Christian refusing sex before marriage and committing to a monogamous relationship within heterosexual marriage would have seemed as odd and countercultural then as it seems to many people today. Holiness makes you different!
In what ways are you clearly different because of your growth in holiness? How do you want to grow more so?
Pray that all God’s people will grow in holiness. Pray for Christ to strengthen Christians who struggle with their sexuality.
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