MAY 17, 2020
As we continue to see throughout the book of 1 Thessalonians, Christian waiting is unlike any other waiting. It is not a type of waiting which calls us to sit and pause our lives; it is a type of waiting which calls us to be active during the seasons of our lives in which we feel like we don't yet have what we want or we aren't yet where we would like to be.
1 Thessalonians 3:11 - 4:12
The apostle Paul wants us to look at the very end of our lives, standing before Jesus and all his saints, and to wait for that moment well by continually preparing ourselves for that day. We, as the bride of Christ, are to make ourself ready to meet our husband at the ultimate wedding feast. (Revelation 9:6-8) Making ourselves ready means fighting for the "holiness without which no one will see the Lord". Paul mentions holiness at least five times in this brief passage. He essentially prays that the Lord would cause the Thessalonians to increase in their love for God and others in such a way that they would become more holy as they approach the day in which they will meet Jesus.
What is holiness? We often think of it as a negative term. Holiness tends to be spoken about as a list of things Christians should avoid. However, the call to be holy is rooted in an Old Testament relational promise God made to the Israelites. Their holiness was to be the representation and distinction that they were set apart as uniquely loved by God. The apostle Paul wants us to pursue this purity and holiness in order to live into the truth that our God loves us and desires us to set ourselves apart from passions of this world, obey his voice, and follow his commandments. May the Lord increase each of us in love so that we might become blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus.
Challenge: It is generally not enough for us to say, "I need to give up ______", even if we are right in desiring to give up something in our life. We need to follow that thought by replacing the former passion with something better. For instance, maybe you find yourself watching too much television and you desire to limit that form of entertainment so you can pursue God more deeply. What will you replace TV with? Could you spend time reading novels, spend more time outdoors, find creative hobbies which allow you to still seek relaxation while learning or creating something?
As you give up somethings to in order to increase in holiness, what positive good from God and his creation will you pursue to fill that void?