I often ponder what my outward life says to those around me. When people look at me, who or what do they see? In this age of social media, the question is even more impactful as I consider what every Tweet, every Facebook post and every Yelp review conveys to the world about who I am and what I stand for. I confess, I can have a quick tongue, or in the case of social media, a quick hit to the “Post” button before really considering how what I’m about to say will impact those who hear or read it.
But we urge you, brethren, to excel still 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 commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12
As I was leafing through my prayer book this morning, this passage that I wrote down a few years ago jumped off the page. What is this “quiet life” that Paul speaks of? What does it look like, and what does it convey to those “outsiders” he mentions?
Taken in context, Paul is praising the Thessalonians for living a life that honors God by loving their neighbors and sanctifying themselves by avoiding sexual immorality and other sins that tarnish the soul as they mislead unbelievers about what the Christian life is really supposed to look like. As Paul encourages them with this praise, he exhorts them to “excel still more” – to continue to strive to live holy lives as God instructed.
I know Christians who lead the “quiet life” Paul speaks about. These men and women are not recluses; they do not hide from the world. Indeed, they walk among us. Their very faith, their very resolve to seek to live for the Lord emanates from their being. The Christian who lives in this manner witnesses to the world (“outsiders”) without uttering a single word; the world sees Christ through these people. These people are not perfect; they sin just as I do. But they are so tuned in to the Savior that they have a sense of peace about them that draws others to them, often opening the door to a dialogue about sin, death, and the forgiveness and everlasting life that is available only through faith in God’s Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus calls each believer to witness for Him; to share the Good News of salvation that only He offers. By honoring Him with my life I am as available to witness as I can be. To dishonor Him by how I live or what I say discredits me and my witness is called into question.
I’ve taken a hiatus from Facebook during Lent. I’m using this time to reflect on my own life and what it conveys to the “outsiders” I meet every day. I pray that God will forgive my shortcomings as He leads me to that quiet life that speaks volumes to the world. Amen.
Tagged: Bible, Christ, Christian, Christian church, Christian faith, Christian life, Christian lifestyle, Christian living, Christian ministry, Christian witness, Christianity, eternal life, eternal truth, faith, forgiveness, God, God's Word, Gospel, Jesus, salvation, sin