Tuesday, August 16, 2016

what goes with brotherly love

But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12

Five things follow the commendation to continue in brotherly love from 1 Thessalonians 4:9. First is the instruction to live quietly. This means that the best Christian witness can be found in a barely noticeable stability... a calm confidence that is like what Eugene Peterson calls a "long obedience in the same direction". We don't draw attention to ourselves, but we do live for Jesus!

Second on the list is the admonition to mind your own affairs. I am most responsible for my actions and motives and must pay attention to my soul. I shouldn't meddle in the Holy Spirit's work in other lives unless I know that they are unrepentant in open sin.

Third on the list is good, old fashioned, hard work! Perhaps some of the Thessalonians, confused about Christ's return, had given up working. Paul calls them back to good, rewarding, physical labor to provide for themselves and commends it as a Christian virtue.

Number four speaks to the world that is watching us. When we do these things, unbelievers will notice, as we walk properly before outsiders. It is a light that shines on the gospel so that the final result can be a self-reliance (be dependent on no one) that models the gospel well. Brotherly love is accompanied by these things. Disciples of Jesus who are healthy in their faith will look this way.

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