Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Finished 1st Thessalonians

A few things:

1) "labor prompted by love." The love the church sees they work and labor for. This is a great reminder that we need to be willing to work hard for the things we love. Whether it is physical or emotional.

2) "not looking for praise from men" I certainly struggle with looking for the approval of those around me. It has got me into trouble and even caused me to place my convictions aside and take on the convictions of someone else all because I wanted approval.

3) Lead a quite life, work with your hands, and don't be dependent on anybody. That is pretty much what chapter 4 verses 11-12 say. Don't be dependent on anybody. Are we dependent on people and things. FOR SURE. I can't turn on the news without hearing how dependent on oil we are. I am dependent on money. I don't know about you, but I have bills. How can we be less dependent on others and more dependent on God? Sure we can be dependent on God to provide us with money, but I think Paul is preaching this idea of freedom from bondage to others.

4) "Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong." How do Christians argue wars like Iraq? I have really come to an understanding that the New Testament might very well be the most passive and peaceful collection of books ever written. This is a mandate from Paul. When someone hurts you, you don't hurt them back. We hear this as small children growing up. Our parents teach us not to hit someone just because they hit us. Then somewhere we forget it. Somewhere we loose faith in love. We think that violence will accomplish more than love and our motto becomes, "peace through war" much like the Roman empires motto, "peace through victory." It is sad that the Christian community does not take passages like this seriously. It is sad that I have become so desensitized to redemptive violence that it's a struggle for me to take it seriously.

5) "Test Everything." We don't. We don't truly test everything. I don't. I know there are many Christians who never open their Bibles. They don't test what they hear on Sunday morning, partially because it takes work to test something. Paul understood the importance of testing things. I think we grow when we test things.

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