Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Live quiet lives - 1st Thessalonians 4:11-12

"make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need." (1st Thessalonians 4:11-12)
Mathetes describes the early believers in this manor:
"For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity... and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life... They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed.... They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives... they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred." (Mathetes to Diognetus Chapter 5)
In such a way, Christianity is a truly remarkable religion. It is not so much a religion of form as it is one of life. It can be practiced by anyone and anywhere. It is accessible to the lowliest and to the greatest among us. It is a universal religion of inclusion that does not require external conformance to belong. It is a religion, not of practices, but of reverence and worship for the God-Man Jesus Christ.

However, much has changed through the intervening centuries. Some believers have tried to live separated from the world, even announcing their identities with a common dress or language, but this was not how it was intended. Christians were to be a part of everyday life; living quiet lives of holiness, temperance, and piety; people living well-ordered lives in peace, joy, and righteousness which are the hallmark of His kingdom.

One thing I have noticed is the rise of "ministry schools" and classes and seminars to teach you how to minister in the Holy Spirit. While these are good, and many have been helped by such schools, I wonder if we are really teaching people how to live in life? They may know well how to prophesy or to pray for someone, but have we taught them how to live a "quiet life" and to "work with their hands" that they might "meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful."? (Titus 3:14) I have seen some come out of such schools excited for ministry which they expect others to fund for them. In our excitement for the supernatural, have we missed the truly remarkable power of the Gospel that enables everyday people to live extraordinary lives in every day life?

David Robison

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