Showing posts with label Wisdom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wisdom. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Living a Quiet Life


1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NLT)
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.

Sometimes, even as Christians, we wonder what practical wisdom the Bible has for our daily lives. Too often we don’t value the Bible enough because it seems outdated in our technologically driven world.

I believe the Bible has much wisdom to offer us in our hectic and busy lives. One example of this is found in an often neglected book, 1 Thessalonians.  The teaching the Apostle Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, encouraged believers to live a quiet life, mind their own business, and work with their hands. This type of life, according to Paul,  will earn the respect of those who do not share their faith, and they will not have to depend on others.

How does this teaching apply to our lives?

Living a quiet life is not about being silent or isolated from other people. Rather, it is about living in a way that is not characterized by loud and boisterous, drama-causing, or attention-seeking behavior. A quiet life is about being content with what you have rather than constantly scheming to get more. This doesn’t mean that you should not have goals or aspirations, but it does mean that you should pursue them in a way that honors Jesus.

Minding your own business means you don’t stick your nose in other people’s affairs unnecessarily. This doesn’t mean that you should not care about others or help them when they need it. Rather, it means we are not going out of our way to tell people what to do or to judge them harshly for not living up to our standard. Remember, Jesus taught that you need to deal with the log in your eye before helping your neighbor with the speak in their eye. Instead, you should concentrate on becoming the person God created you to be.

Working with your hands is about being productive and contributing to society. It is about using your skills and talents to create something of value, whether it is a product, a service, or a piece of art. By working with your hands, you can take pride in what you do and provide for yourself and your family. The other benefit of being productive is that it allows you to be generous. The number one way you can join in the God is doing is through your giving.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 also emphasizes the importance of earning the respect of those who are not believers. As Christians, we are called to be ambassadors for Christ, and our actions and attitudes should demonstrate his character of love, grace, and truth. By living a quiet life, minding our own business, and working with our hands, we are able to demonstrate the qualities of diligence, honesty, and integrity that are valued by people of all faiths and backgrounds. We can also show them, that in spite of our differences, God still loves them.

When we earn the respect of non-believers, we are able to create opportunities to share the gospel with them. When people see that our faith is not just a set of beliefs, but a way of life that makes life better, they may be more open to hearing about our relationship with Jesus. As the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:15, "Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it." (NLT)

Finally, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 emphasizes the importance of self-sufficiency. By living a quiet life, minding our own business, and working with our hands, we can avoid becoming dependent on others for our basic needs. This does not mean that we should never ask for help or accept assistance when it is offered. What it does mean is that we want to be generous and compassionate to others rathe than being a burden others unnecessarily.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 offers valuable wisdom for life in an hectic and busy world. This wisdom will help us live a life that is pleasing to God and beneficial to others. By living a quiet life, minding our own business, and working with our hands, we can live a life that is respected by all people, regardless of their faith background. We can also earn the respect of those who do not share our faith, and create opportunities to share the gospel with them. Finally, we can avoid becoming dependent on others for our basic needs, and strive to be people are generous and compassionate with the blessings God has given to us.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Live As One Who Is Wise

 

One characteristic that sets successful people apart from those who have limited success is how they use time. 

Successful people have the ability to make the most of the time they have been given, viewing it as a valuable resource that needs to be used wisely. 

On the other hand, people who have limited success tend to see time as a limitless resource and, therefore, undervalue it. Their mantra is often, "There is always tomorrow."

I have come to the conviction that many of us need to change the way we view time. Time is a valuable resource that God has given us, and just as we are called to be good stewards of our money, we need to be good stewards of our time.

The apostle Paul addressed the issue of time in Ephesians 5:

"Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk — not as unwise people but as wise — making the most of the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16; CSB)

We are called to be wise in our use of time.

But what does it mean to be wise in our use of time? 

To be wise in our use of time we need to be INTENTIONAL. This requires us to be deliberate about the activities we choose to do, ensuring that we use the time given to us in a way that honors God and allows us to make the most of our lives. We can't afford to let time slip away without purpose or direction.

To be wise in our use of time we need to be PRODUCTIVE. This requires us to use our time in a way that is constructive and beneficial. This does not mean that we need to be working all the time. Rest and relaxation are crucial elements of being wise with our time, that is one of the reasons God gave His people the Sabbath. Even during our downtime, we can use our time in a way that is productive, such as spending time with loved ones, pursuing a hobby that brings us joy, or worshipping God.

To be wise in our use of time we need to be MINDFUL. This requires that we are aware of how we are spending our time and making sure that it aligns with our values and goals. It is easy to get caught up in distractions and time-wasters, but we need to stay focused on what is important and use our time in a way that reflects our priorities.

Time is a valuable resource that God has given us, and we need to use it wisely. 

As God’s people, let us strive to be good stewards of the time we have been given by being intentional, productive, and mindful. When we live our lives in this way we honor God by making the most of every moment He has given to us.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Finding Freedom Through Virtue


 Followers of Jesus are to live with virtue. To live with virtue is to be a person of character that is defined by the high moral qualities of love, honesty, compassion, mercy, and faith. These are the qualities that empower us to demonstrate God’s character in the world.

The Bible, through the teaching of the Holy Spirit, provides us with the wisdom we need to be people of Christian virtue. One of the ways the Bible provides us with wisdom is through examples. These examples are not always good examples, but God intends for them challenge us in how we live. The are to get us to think about how we can live faithful lives in our situations.

One such example can be found in the book of Exodus.

Exodus is the story of the Israelites, who experienced a life of slavery for over 400 years. Their existence was marked by suffering, oppression, and forced labor. Yet, it is in this painful reality that God grew the clan of Jacob into a nation.

When the time was right, God had a plan to set them free. This plan was built around a man named Moses. He was born to Hebrew parents and raised in by Pharaoh’s daughter. This gave Moses a unique perspective on the situation, but before Moses was fully prepared to lead Israel, he spent 40 years in the wilderness herding sheep. All these experiences molded Moses into the leader God would use to lead Israel out of a life of slavery and into a life of freedom.

Not only did the Israelites need to be freed from their physical enslavement, they also needed to be freed from their spiritual enslavement. They had been living in a pagan culture that worshiped false gods, and as a result, they had become enslaved to the sinful practices and values of that culture.

God knew that in order to truly be free, the Israelites needed to be transformed from the inside out. They needed to turn away from their sinful ways and embrace a life of virtue. God’s desire was for Israel to be a light to the nations by demonstrating His character.

Through Moses, God created a covenant with Israel. The moral foundation of this covenant is summed up in what we call the Ten Commandments. This covenant would serve as a guide for living a virtuous life. These terms of the covenant were not given to enslave the Israelites, but rather to guide them away from the terrible cultural practices that enslaved their neighbors and kept them living in darkness.

In Deuteronomy 30:19-20, Moses told the Israelites:
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, love the LORD your God, obey him, and remain faithful to him. For he is your life, and he will prolong your days as you live in the land the LORD swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (CSB)
The virtuous life requires making a choice: following God’s will or doing what seems best to us. This is the choice that set before all of us, and it is crucial that we make the right choice.

To live with virtue means choosing the way of God even when it is difficult and we don’t have all the answers. It means choosing to love God and to love our neighbors, even when it requires sacrifice. And it means putting aside our own selfish desires and ambitions, in order to serve those around us.

When we live with virtue, we find freedom from the consequences of bad choices that would otherwise lead us into slavery. We become free to serve others, just as Jesus came to serve us.

In John 13:14-15, Jesus told his disciples,
“So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you.” (CSB)
Jesus, who is the perfect image of God, lived a loving and humble life which empowered him to serve people. If we are going to demonstrate God’s character in this world then we need to follow the example of Jesus.

This is why virtue is crucial for Christians.

Living a life of virtue requires humility, selflessness, and treating others the way we want to be treated. When we live like this, we find the freedom God has promised to His people. We are free to love, free to serve, and free to make a difference in the world around us.

Living with virtue is not about being perfect or never making mistakes. It's about making choices that align with God's will, and seeking to live a life that reflects his love and grace.

When we do this, we find freedom from the consequences of bad choices that would otherwise lead us into the slavery of sin. And in that freedom, we are free to help and serve those around us, just as King Jesus did for us.

Prophetic Revelation and the Gospel

  1 Peter 1:10-12 (CSB) Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who prophesied about the grace that would come to you, searched and careful...