“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (emphasis mine)… .” Titus 2:11-13 (NIV)
As I write this I am three days away from our second child’s due date. As I wait in eager expectation that our baby girl will soon grace us with her presence, it makes me reflect upon how I am living, or not living, in eager expectation for the glorious appearing of our great Savior. The Bible says no one knows the day or hour of Jesus’ return, but there will be signs alerting us to the season (Matthew 24).
In this season, my ever expanding belly is a sure sign of what lies ahead. In preparation I shop, clean, cook and wash with the hope of seeing her soon. But what am I doing while I wait for the day of Jesus’ return? I have to ask myself if I am truly living life from an eternal perspective? Because if I was, I have a feeling some of the encounters I have with people that the Lord places in my path would look a bit different. I have a feeling my prayers for those who do not know of the hope found in Jesus would be a little more fervent. And I have a feeling my efforts towards helping to make the body of Christ His pure, spotless bride would be a bit more intentional. So as I wait with the hope that my baby girl will soon be gracing us with her presence, I also pray that the Lord would show us how we need to live with a greater expectation of hope while awaiting His return.
“Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone… Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18 (NIV)
This short passage from Paul to the church in Thessalonica is brimming with practical advice for godly living! Below is a short list detailing Paul’s instructions to the Thessalonians’:
Respect those ministering for the Lord and those who are in authority over you
Live at peace with each other
Warn those who are idle
Encourage the timid and help the weak
Be patient with everyone (yes, even those who have a driver’s license even though they obviously failed the test)
Be joyful always
Give thanks in all circumstances.
While these are wonderful instructions to follow, if we try to accomplish them in our strength we will fail. It takes humility and discipline on our part to surrender ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit so He can victoriously live out this godly life within us. It is not a onetime surrender, but a daily, sometimes hourly, surrender. But when we do, the result is we will be living out God’s love and being His light in a dark world that desperately needs it.
“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8 (NIV)
Have you ever had someone give you a specific set of instructions and if you left out just one detail the result was not the same? I know I have! Just ask me to share some of my baking fiascos. 🙂
God gave Joshua a set of explicit instructions to follow when he became commander of the Israelites. And from His command we can take away four very insightful truth’s to guide our approach to God’s Word.
1.) It needs to be regular. Joshua was commanded to meditate on it day and night.
2.) It needs to be reflective. Joshua was commanded to meditate on it.
3.) It needs to be retentive. Joshua was commanded to be care to do everything written in it and he could not do so if he did not remember what the law of the Lord said.
4.) It needs to be regulated: meaning it needs to be the standard by which we live. Joshua was commanded to not let the law depart from his mouth. It was to be the guide to every action is his life.
I hope are you encouraged to apply these when spending time with the Lord!