Christians talk a great deal about seeking God’s guidance. But in practice, it seems that most of us attempt to guide our own lives. We need to change that, if we are to accomplish God’s purposes. A little direction from Paul the apostle will help.
Read 1 Thessalonians 2:17–3:13. Reflect on 1 Thessalonians 3:11–13:
“Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you, and may the Lord cause you to increase and to abound in love for one another and for all, just as also we do for you, so that your hearts may be established blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints” (LEB).
Paul the apostle did not merely seek to visit the church at Thessalonica—he desired for God to guide his way. He believed that God would guide the specific timing, and likely the specific travel route. The type of guidance God had over Paul’s life is in sharp contrast to the practices of many of us today. And this should cause us to stop, pause, and reflect.
Paul desired for godly guidance to be present in the lives of the Thessalonian Christians. Paul also desired for the Thessalonian Christians to love more fully and deeply. He wanted love to envelop every aspect of their lives. Love is how we become holy—set apart for God’s purposes.
If we truly love God, we will seek his guidance. And as we seek God’s guidance, we will find ourselves called to love other people more fully. And this process is what will lead to us having holy (set apart) lives.
For Paul, all this was preparation for Jesus’ return. Almost within a breath of talking about love, Paul looks to the time when Jesus will come back to earth, with his “holy ones” (“saints”). (This could refer to believers in Jesus, but it more likely refers to angelic beings.) Paul views the return of Christ as a reason to be ready—to be prepared.
God desires to guide us. As he guides us, we will learn to love more fully. And this is the only thing that can prepare us for Jesus’ return. It’s the only thing that can prepare our world.
What areas of your life are you currently attempting to guide—rather than letting God guide? What areas of your life do not express love?
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