1 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.
How can those who follow Christ live in a way that pleases God? Paul makes his answer as clear as possible to his friends in chapter four of First Thessalonians. In summary, to live to please God, he shares:
“Be sanctified”: This is a word that simply means to be holy or set apart. The life of the person who follows Jesus should be distinct from those who live for their own selfish pursuits. Here, Paul does not go into much detail regarding what is okay and what is not; however, he speaks directly in other places that sexual practices are intended for a man and a wife, as reflected in the original relationship between Adam and Eve.
“Avoid sexual immorality”: A person who lives to please God realizes their sexual practices must be practiced according to God’s desires, not their own.
“Love each other”: While this should be obvious, Paul must have felt the need to point out that Christians must show love to one another that reflects the love Jesus modeled. Even in the early church, there would have been examples of churches where this was not taking place in God’s intended manner, requiring correction from leaders like Paul. The same is true today.
“Lead a quiet life”: The idea expressed here is humility. A Christian doesn’t need to boast of his or her humility. They just need to be humble.
“Mind your own business and work with your hands”: Some people and even some communities of people can tend to be lazy or to expect others to provide for their needs. Paul highlighted that this is not responsible living for those who serve Christ. The goal was to work hard to provide for their own needs and for their families as an example to others.
No one is perfect, but these words focus on some clear action points for those who follow Christ and seek to please God with their lives. May we dedicate ourselves to such lifestyles, starting today.
Dillon Burroughs is the author and coauthor of numerous books and is handwriting a copy of all 31,173 verses of the Bible at HolyWritProject.com. Find out more about Dillon at Facebook.com/readdB or readdB.com.