Now as to the love of the brothers and sisters, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you practice it toward all the brothers and sisters who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to excel even more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we instructed you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need." 2 Thessalonians 4:1-12 NASB
Paul is writing to the believers in Thessalonica but as part of God’s Word he indeed imparts God’s Will in this writing as well, fitting perfectly with what we have read in Romans 12.
"Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another. However, since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them properly: if prophecy, in proportion to one’s faith; if service, in the act of serving; or the one who teaches, in the act of teaching; or the one who exhorts, in the work of exhortation; the one who gives, with generosity; the one who is in leadership, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
It was very good and interesting that the sermon yesterday at our Church was indeed covering this very idea. The series is on "Breaking Free From Normal". I highly encourage you to stop by www.woostergrace.org and listen or find Grace Church Wooster on YouTube.
A Pastor friend of mine, many months ago, encouraged me to really reflect on 2 Thessalonians 4:3a. "For this is the will of God, your sanctification".
Reading Scripture with Scripture is always a best practice in reading. Which was why I included Romans 12.
As Pastor Nick of Wooster Grace pointed out at one point in the sermon, we often want more finite details out of God than we really need. If indeed we are walking as wise and not the unwise, if indeed we are obeying Him, our need for details becomes more irrelevant.
I am reminded of something Jesus said. Probably not the same context but indeed the same meaning. John 22:21 NASB "Jesus *said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”".
We often lament what we see God doing in others or we lament our own life in comparison to others. We have but one audience to be concerned about and it's nobody in this world.
We are to live such lives in accordance with God's Will that we hear "Well done good and faithful servant" from Him.
A very good indicator in your life is looking at how well you are doing as a servant of God.
Is your life mainly about you? To borrow from Pastor Nick's intro video to this series he just finished are you living to seize the day for your own desires or for Him? Simply put if you see more of you and a self-serving life, odds are very good you will not be hearing those words from Jesus.
You and I have been told by Jesus that we cannot serve two masters.
Yet we often keep trying to. We keep trying to get our, and let's be completely honest here - all cards on the table shall we - sinful desires met, ahead of or along side of what God's wanting.
We dabble in idolatry and turn a blind eye to that's exactly what God calls it. Don't you realize that's exactly what Jesus told Israel they were doing that grieving Him so in the Old Testament?
We dabble in self-serving things and yet say we want God's Will. Do you at all see this example in the Gospels?
We dabble in many things and if we are being honest we will admit that we are grieving the Spirit by our wants and desires. As followers of Christ we are supposed to want what He wants, we are workers in His fields, working the work He is wanting done. When you work for an Earthly employer you aren't there to do your will, but the will of the one in whom you are employed. You set aside your will in favor of theirs.
We are not to forget how well we can deceive ourselves.
God hasn't hidden His Will for you from you. Your sanctification in Christ Jesus is the central thought. The work He is doing in your life requires less of you and more of Him. We are His Disciples, following in His footsteps. Laying ahold of what is important to Him and letting go of what isn't. We see this in His teaching of the Disciples in the Gospels.
We really do over think the Christian life. We can even sometimes make it harder for others to come to Christ because we show a life or speak a life that's a turn-off. We read in a few places in the New Testament where people were upsetting some in regards to their faith by trying to add rules and regulations to salvation. We are never to do that.
We are not far from the Will of God, we are only as far away as our next decision to obey.
We are not far from the Will of God, we are only as far away as our willingness to turn, repent and follow Him.
We create our own anxiety when we forget who we are and who's we are.
Psalm 139...read that again too. Read it a few times. When we put what God wants first, when we want to be found by Him doing and living as He instructed us, we indeed will be told "Well done good and faithful servant". We indeed will know God's Will through God's Word.