Brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more… – 1 Thessalonians 4:1
I have always appreciated the idea of our faith as a journey. We walk with Jesus; we are followers of The Way; we are living this Great Adventure.
Maybe that’s why scriptures such as the passage from First Thessalonians always resonate and ring true. “We’re glad you’re doing this,” Paul writes; “good job y’all. Now do this a lot more!”
It’s so evident from New Testament teaching that there’s nothing “one and done” about being a disciple. We can’t check off a box: “Saved? – check” – then return to business as usual. It’s not that we’re constantly tinkering with the idea of following Jesus and improving the model, so much as it is that the road we’re on takes us through real life, that our faith always challenges us to respond, and that Jesus is constantly tinkering with us.
This road may be referred to as “the straight and narrow,” but it’s also varied, winding, challenging, liberating, restrictive, wide open, lonely, crowded, safe, fraught with danger, well-signposted, off the beaten track, isolated, populated, uncomfortable, comforting, even, bumpy….
This road may be referred to as “the straight and narrow,” but it’s also varied, winding, challenging, liberating, restrictive, wide open, lonely, crowded, safe, fraught with danger, well-signposted, off the beaten track, isolated, populated, uncomfortable, comforting, even, bumpy…
We can’t engage a journey like this without continual reevaluation, adjustment, pause, inspiration, encouragement, repair, and more.
Jesus has offered to be our guide; the Holy Spirit lives in us as “another counselor;” The Church provides inspiration, teaching, resources, encouragement, accountability, and the grounding of a worshipping community.
Faith that takes us somewhere is anything but static. So, as Paul writes in his letter to his friends in Thessaloniki, Yes, we understand that you have learned a lot about how to live and to please God, and you’re doing well. However, this is not a codified religion but a forward moving, vibrant, living faith, and that means there is always adaptation and growth.
So, thinking like this is what happened to me when I read the scripture (1 Thessalonians 4:1-3), then looked up to see a crew of guys back outside again, working on our house. Like this home we love so much, I am a work in progress, constantly on a journey, always challenged to adapt and grow.
It’s not only true to say that, “God hasn’t finished with me yet,” but also, “God is leading me on a journey, and I think I’d better take the blinders off, move forward, and put my hand in the hand of Jesus.”
– Peace, always: DEREK