In my our previous post, we discussed how God helps us to mature as a believer. Today we will look at what the scripture says what our part is. We don’t just sit back and watch God work. He wants us to do something. As a believer the Spirit indwells in us and guides us to live in a way that honors God and in so doing, our faith will grow and so will our character. In our daily lives as well as the ministry God has called each of us to do, we need to be like Peter and get out of the boat and obey what Jesus commands us to do. The other twelve sat in the boat and watched while Peter walked on water.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Do all things without complaining and disputing that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
This does not say to do works for salvation. This is about working for God in your salvation. It starts with obedience and allowing God to work in you with joy and without complaining. We need to be different from those of the world that people will see our lights shine. We want people to see that we are different, to see the joy and hope that is in us so that we can share God’s grace.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
Paul urges us to do what pleases God; to be obedient and to not live as we used to live before we were “born again.” Our new life is so much greater than the old, not that we are greater, but the life given to us is. Let us start by “cleaning house.” It is about how we use our bodies as living sacrifices, that our body is not corrupted with evil desires and lusts of this world so that God can use us for His glory to further His kingdom and bless others.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Thank God that we are no longer in darkness! He has transformed our lives and our hearts. As believers, we turn from our old ways to glorify God. We must live righteously and let go of those things that keep us from drawing near to God and keep us from being a witness to those around us. Be careful with who you hang out with and what you do, for we do not want to be a stumbling block for others or ourselves, but to be the kind of examples that honor God and would draw others to Him.
So, how are we to live? Read God’s word and it will tell you. Pray that He will lead you. Spend time with other believers so that you can learn from each other and from scripture so that you can help each other grow. It is not about following rules and regulations, but about conducting ourselves to be pleasing to Him and allowing the Spirit to work in us to become mature believers, to be “sanctified.”
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
1 Peter 2:1-3
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Romans 12: 9-15
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
This covers a lot of how we should live. As we read our Bible and follow it, as we allow the Spirit to work in us, our acts will be that of righteousness and goodness, not following the things of this crazy world, but doing what is right. Most of this stems from showing love. Jesus said that others can tell that we are His by loving one another. With love, we can be who God wants us to be, and through that we can have abundant joy and our life will be complete.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”