An Honorable Life: God’s High Calling
David Bahn-Reflections Podcast
Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. 2 For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
3 God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. 4 Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— 5 not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. 6 Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. 7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
9 But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. 10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.
11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others. – 1 Thessalonians 4:1-13 [NLT]
I’ve never climbed even a 14-er; much less Mount Kilimanjaro. I’ve never hiked more than 5 miles, much less the Appalachian Trail. I’ve not run more than 4 miles at a time (though you would never call it running if you saw me doing it!); much less a marathon. But I’ve taken walks with my wife. I’ve done a 5 K Turkey Trot. We had a great walk on the beach the other day. And we’re regulars at our local gym – three days a week.
You don’t have to run a marathon to be physically active. You don’t have to climb a 14-er to enjoy the view from a mountaintop.
Sometimes we may think we have to be super-Christians in order truly to follow God. It’s like we think following Jesus means we have to pack our bags to go to Africa. Or we must become a pastor or full-time church worker if we’re truly to follow Jesus. We imagine that to be truly committed we must do extraordinary things. But that’s not the true call of God.
Paul boils it down to a very simple lifestyle. “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands,” he urges. The world needs people who live godly lives in everyday ways. No ruckus-making. No nose-poking. No idle hands. It sounds like a call to make the world a better place to live.
Being a good neighbor. Doing a good job at your workplace. Helping life go well for the people of your community. Quiet and peaceful lives honor God.
But the reason for this is not only so that life goes well for the people in your world. It’s not just so that your neighbors, friends, and family are happy with you. We live like this so that we have a good reputation. And through that we may have the opportunity to give witness to God’s work in our lives.
Our lives as followers of Jesus is to be different, but not merely otherworldly. We are to be good citizens. We are to add value to our neighborhoods. We are to bless our friends. We are to attach our hearts to the hope of the life of the world to come. But this is not to be at the expense of living life fully engaged in this world.
It doesn’t have to be heroic. But we are called to be faithful in common ordinary ways…to the praise of God and the blessing of our neighbor, and in anticipation of being able to give witness to God’s love for us and for all people in Jesus.