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“Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more." I Thessalonians 4:1
The first thing we note in this passage is that the Apostle Paul invokes the very authority of Jesus Himself! Second, there is a way to walk and please God. Some say it is not very important what you believe or what "holy books" you follow as long as you're sincere. Others live with the philosophy that as long as "I'm happy" in whatever I'm doing, it's right and good.
But from God's perspective, which is the one that ultimately matters, the way to walk and please Him is based in what Paul taught the Thessalonians, the gospel of Jesus Christ. To trust your soul to the redeeming death and resurrection of Jesus, and then to live a life of following the commands of Jesus is pleasing to God.
Thirdly, Paul is speaking to people who agree with this and his exhortation is: keep doing it more and more! It is not that increased effort is going to earn merit with God; Christ has already taken care of that. But, it is the refusal to be satisfied with the status quo in our Christian walk. It is the joy and fire of a heart that desires to know God more deeply, love and trust Him more, bless and serve those around us more, and to never stop!
Specifically, it looks like a man I talked to this week who has been in a healthy marriage for over forty years, but is still working diligently to be a better husband. It looks like the elderly woman who loves to read the Scriptures every day. It looks like the college student who is willing to make sacrifices to be in God's house and to be interested in serving others rather than being totally self-absorbed. It looks like the pastor who has studied and preached for many years continuing to mine the treasures of God's word with passion. It looks like the mother who is steadfast in teaching, loving and praying for her children.
May you and I abound more and more in the joy-filled kingdom of Jesus Christ!
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