Wednesday, December 15, 2010

1 Thessalonians 4

We urge you ... to live in a way that pleases God.You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.  God’s will is for you to be in holiness and honor— God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. ...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. ...Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers...Even so...we urge you to love them even more.   And may the Lord make you to increase and excel and overflow in love for one another and for all people, just as we also do for you  So that He may strengthen and confirm and establish your hearts faultlessly pure and un-blamable in holiness in the sight of our God and Father.        1 Thessalonians 4: 1,3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 3:10-11

Holiness and love are our job descriptions in this life.  To live in holiness and love and to
do so even more and more abundantly [attaining yet greater perfection in living this life] and to excel [in this matter of extending and displaying your love] more and more.  He has called us to holiness and taught us love.
  •  I guess my challenge is how am I responding to His call to I listen for His Word ready to obey and prepared to move or do I lessen His Word with compromise, laxness and overuse of grace? 
  • Where am I specifically setting myself apart in this world?
  • Am I zealous to be holy ... trying to get as far from unholiness as I can and bear myself becomingly and be correct and honorable and command the respect of the outside world?  (Job 27:4 lips will not say anything wicked,and my tongue will not utter lies.  Job 31 talks about making a covenant with ones eyes...James 1:27 ... to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.) 
  • Do I seek to be better today than I was yesterday in regard to holiness and loving?  Am I submitting to the Holy Spirit and God's Word in order to grow in these ways? 
  • Can anyone tell I am more holy or more loving than I was a year ago? 
  • Am I freer today than I was last week? 
  • These two qualities are hugely emphasized by Paul and completely lived out by Jesus, am I tending to them with the same energy?
  • If  my screen time (tv and movie), conversations, reading, browsing (Internet) and people watching were judged against a holiness indicator (say, ... Jesus) and a love measuring stick (again, Jesus), how well would I score on that standard (The Standard)? 
  • What changes will I make this week to grow in holiness and love?
God, it seems I have so far to go and I blow it with selfishness, pride, offense, exhaustion and distraction.  I know I can't mess up Your plans; but I hate that I am still struggling with these issues and missing out on who and what You created me to be.  Will I ever get good at love and holiness?  Will I ever lay still on the altar of living sacrifice or will I keep trying to alter my living sacrifice?  Please help me be diligent in matters of holiness and love, encourage me and keep teaching me these premier concerns of Yours that I may live a life holy and pleasing to You.  Open my heart to love You more and more, please.

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