01 Aug Living to Please God
In the New Testament book of 1 Thessalonians, Paul encourages the church to grow more and more in their devotion to God. Here are 5 fast examples of what Paul was talking about, when he told the Christians at Thessalonica, “excel still more.” Strive for excellence in confession, in prayer, in humility, in contentment, and in your home.
Practice confession (1 Jn 1:9)
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This doesn’t mean you have to go visit a priest. The New Testament says that we deal with our guilt by going straight to God. When Jesus died on the cross, he eliminates the need for a go-between, and tells us to come directly to the throne of grace. Our sin is what draws us to the Savior. Tell God often where you are falling short. Express sorrow for your sin. Where sin increases, grace increases all the more.
Practice prayer (1 Thess. 5:17)
We are called to pray without ceasing. All day every day, we pause to engage with God. We are called to invite Christ into our stress, our fear, our anxiety, our points of frustration and need. One of the greatest Christian speakers in history, Charles Spurgeon once said, “I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.” Prayer is at the very heart of a relationship with God, and we are told to use it.
Practice humility (Luke 14:11)
This means putting others on a pedestal, not yourself. Pride comes naturally; humility supernaturally. God will make us humble if we refuse to be humble ourselves. For this reason, Jesus said, “whoever humbles himself will be exalted, and whoever exalts himself will be humbled.” God will lower you if you do not lower you.
Practice contentment (1 Tim. 6:6)
Scripture says that discontentment caused angels to rebel from heaven. Satan could not be happy with the lot he’d been assigned so he conspired with others to rebel. That same spirit of discontentment has infected the world today. No matter what we have, we always want more. 1 Timothy 6:6, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Practice spiritual leadership in your marriage and family (Ephesians 5:22-31)
Your family has to come first. The Apostle Paul preferred being single because he said his “interests weren’t undivided.” A married person has to divide up his energy, and Paul found great freedom in remaining single. Having said that, it was Paul who wrote Ephesians 5, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church. Wives, respect your husbands. It is the will of God that you cherish your marriage, that you invest in the spiritual lives of your children.” How will they have a relationship with God if you don’t show them?