“1As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.” ~1 Thessalonians 4
Have you ever felt like you’ve gotten to a point where maybe you’re being ‘good enough’, or that you feel like your being pressured to do something that you don’t think is best but you do it to make someone else happy? I have. I’ve made compromises that I still don’t know that I should have. I’ve allowed steps to happen in relationships that I never thought I would allow. I think, “Well, I’ll let this slide, but I will definitely NOT let this happen. We’re doing alright.” But are we? Is God ok with what I’m doing?
I was thinking about that this morning, about the things I’ve let happen, wondering if it’s really a good thing. But since I’ve already allowed it, can I really back out now? I didn’t know and I didn’t really want to face the questions. But God rarely let’s us just back away. I read from 1 Thessalonians 4 today. It started out encouraging. We need to be pursuing lives that please God, never satisfied with where we’re at, always pressing forward. I’ve always known this.
It was the next part, when Paul gets more specific, that is difficult and reminded me of the issue I was trying to hide from. “3It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4that each of you should learn to control your own bodya in a way that is holy and honorable, 5not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.b The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.”
It doesn’t get more clear than that. I should be avoiding what I see as passionate lust, even if others may not see it that way, because I need to do what is pleasing to God. I don’t have to worry that it won’t please others because this is what the Word of God says, and if I or others reject it, we aren’t rejecting men but God who gave us His gift of the Spirit. And I shouldn’t worry that it’s ‘too late to go back’ on what I’ve originally been ok with because God has not called me to be impure but to live a pure life. This sanctification is something to be constantly pursued. I can never be pure enough, but I can always be becoming more pure, and this is pleasing to God.
I hope that this encourages you to choose the path that pleases God, even if you haven’t been for a long time. God will give you the strength to do what’s right. Remember, even if something pricks your conscience and not another’s, it doesn’t mean you should ignore your convictions. As it says in James 4: “17If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” And do not envy the wicked. It may seem that they are free of worry sometimes, but read Psalm 73. “12This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
13Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
15If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.”
God bless your weekend.