But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; 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, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12)
Respecting Your Manner Of Life
Jesus Christ died to bring all men to the Father. No greater message is found in the annals of man’s long history that will address the need of humanity to know what the Divine has done to save them. Faith comes from understanding the word of God and this is accomplished through the avenue of teaching honest hearts the unsearchable riches of a risen Savior. The early church spent many hours teaching the good news of Jesus converting multitudes to the grace of God. It is still imperative that teaching is done in the world today to shine the light of truth in a dark world. One of the most important elements of letting others see the glory of God is accomplished through the lives of devoted people living for Christ in their daily activities of life. Often overlooked the manifestation of God is more defined in the actions of a person’s life than their words. Truth comes from the word of God but truth must be seen in the words of the individual, their attitudes toward others, the conversation of life at the workplace and impressions left on the community to the character of the person. Paul exhorts the saints at Thessalonica to abound in their love for one another because this will have a positive impact on those who are not Christians to see God living in their lives. How much harm will be done when a person claims to love the Lord and yet does not show love toward his or her own brother or sister in Christ? The world sees the life of a Christian either in the light of true devotion or clear hypocrisy. Paul enumerates a number of things that should be manifest in the life of a Christian to let their light shine in the community. It begins with love abounding toward one another as people of God. Without this kind of love there can be no love for others that is genuine. The church of Christ is a family of saints following the will of the Father behaving as children of the Most High God. Those in the world will see whether the love of God lives in the heart of the individual when they hear of their love for the brethren.
Paul exhorts the saints to aspire to lead a quiet life. The demeanor of the Christian walk is filled with humility, kindness, and forgiveness. One of the characteristics of the carnal world is loud, vocal and unkind individuals who like the world to know what they think and how they think. It does not matter what rolls off the tongue or the attitude expressed about others. Albert Barnes observed, “The duty to which he would exhort them was that of being subordinate to the laws; of avoiding all tumult and disorder; of calmly pursuing their regular avocations, and of keeping themselves from all the assemblages of the idle, the restless, and the dissatisfied. No Christian should be engaged in a mob; none should be identified with the popular excitements which lead to disorder and to the disregard of the laws.” It seems Barnes knew about Facebook before it was invented. What kind of example is left by children of God failing to lead a quiet life on social media? Paul follows up his admonition by saying the Christian should mind his own business or to attend to the concerns of the individual as they would exemplify the character of Jesus Christ. The life of a devoted child of God will refrain from becoming immersed in the political smearing dialogue of a corrupt world, vulgar references to those in authority and unkind references to those with whom there is disagreement. Jesus taught His disciples to love their enemies and to bless them – not bless them out. Aspiring to lead a quiet life and minding affairs of self are worthy goals of those who wish to be like the Father. This will allow more time to work with diligence as examples of industry rather than indolence.
The key to Paul’s admonition is to live in such a way that one walks properly toward those who are outside. Being an example in a crooked and perverse generation can radiate the light of hope in the lives of those who are seeking more than the carnal world offers. Non-believers may not agree with the belief of the Christian but at least they will respect the manner of their lives because the example shows love for God. A proper example can lead to a diligent Bible study where the lost soul can come to know Jesus Christ. The Christian must ask their heart if they had the ability and opportunity to teach someone what to do to be saved, would their life reflect a positive influence or negative? It is possible that some could never help another see the gospel because they know their life is in conflict with what they are trying to teach. When the life of a Christian is not in proper regard to the will of the Lord, it will be very difficult to show others the way of truth. Yet one of the greatest opportunities for the child of God is to let others see Christ living in their life and thereby open doors to talk with them about becoming a child of God. At the end of the day, what is the most important thing we can give our neighbor or friend? A proper life can lead prayerfully to an opportunity to share with them the message of salvation that will give them eternal life. When all is said and done, what can be more important than that? And it all began by walking properly toward those who are outside the body of Christ.