More than 130 years ago, a group of twenty distinguished Americans met in the Astor House in New York City during the presidency of Millard Fillmore. Among the dinner guests was Secretary of State Daniel Webster, who had been unusually quiet. In an effort to engage him in conversation, a colleague asked, “Mr. Webster, will you tell me what was the most important thought you ever had?” Following a brief silence, he confidently replied, “The most serious thought that ever occupied my mind was that of my individual responsibility to God.”
1 Thessalonians 4:1–2 (ESV) — 1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
Pastor Paul was giving the Thessalonians the encouragement needed to help them take the steps necessary to develop their faith and relationship with God. His heart for the Thessalonians is clear. He didn’t browbeat them, demand, or demean them in their level of faith, rather he challenged them to take what they know and apply it to their continuous spiritual growth. This is a great example of a pastor’s heart toward those they lead into greater spiritual maturity. A heart of kindness, gentleness, and humility, while at the same time, challenging the core of their spiritual comfort zone.
As we study this passage of scripture, we must also take the words of Paul seriously. We must be growing in our relationship with God and developing our faith in Him. If we are not, this challenge is meant to move you forward in establishing the disciplines of faith. Take what you know, study what you don’t, and pray. God will help move your spiritual life from a place of stagnation, to a place of vitality and life.
Purpose to become spiritually extraordinary and excel in your faith. You will not be disappointed!
Your turn: What helps you keep your relationship with God fresh and maturing?