Paul shares with his readers some of the basics of Christian living. His focus is broad but confines itself to three areas, in our reading tonight.
The first broad focus from Paul deals with sexual sin. He doesn’t get down and list specific acts to avoid. Instead he warns them to “abstain from sexual immorality” (verse 3b). I’m assuming that they were very familiar with the litany of sexual behaviors that were present in their day. Paul identified the root of the issue as being the “passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God” (verse 5).
“Lust is a psychological force producing intense wanting for an object, or circumstance fulfilling the emotion. Lust can take any form such as the lust for sexuality, money or power. It can take such mundane forms as the lust for food as distinct from the need for food.”
This isn’t the most reliable source but for this quote, it is right on the money. Paul was focusing on the sexual aspect at this point but all other aspects are just as appropriate for Christians to abstain from.
Paul’s second issue was “brotherly love.” He felt this group exemplified that trait but there is always room for growth. This group willingly shared the gospel with others, regardless of the danger to themselves. They followed the example of fellowship and supporting one another that was established in the churches in Judea. We aren’t told exactly how this looked but it was enough that it impressed Paul greatly.
Paul’s final “daily living” instructions were “to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you” (verse 11). This kind of life was a testimony to outsiders.
I personally have questions about this. Paul certainly didn’t live “quietly and mind his own affairs.” He was very public in sharing his beliefs and spread those beliefs far and wide. However he did work with his own hands to support himself during his travels. Did troubles come to Paul or did he entice them with his life? Probably a little of both but then he was called by God to do this work. So I suppose his instructions may be interpreted “to aspire to live the life God has called you to; tending to the affairs He tasks you with, to live without fleshly quarrels, and to keep busy doing the work He provides for you.” I personally live a fairly quiet life and don’t feel called to step into a bigger arena.
Father God, thank You for my quiet life. Thank You for also allowing me to ability to stand up and deal with issues of need where my family is concerned. My interactions have dwindled over the years. Was that Your doing or mine? Have I retreated too far? Is this blog Your way of stretching me back out? This is also “working with my hands.” Thank You for this opportunity.
Thank You Lord Jesus for Your love. Help me model that love in my life; brotherly kindness in all my interactions. One of the most kind things I can do for my fellow man is to pray for them and love them into Your Kingdom. Arguing certainly won’t get me there. Help me love my kids back into Your arms. One of the most loving things I can do for them too is to place them in Your hands and leave them there. Whatever it takes Lord, bring them back to You.