…and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands as we have instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. | 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
I was introduced to this verse fairly recently. Though I had read it and heard it many times, it was merely a passing acquaintance. I’d never considered all of its connotations, never looked it full in the face.
1) “aspire to live quietly”
Social media. Every site is linked to your Facebook, news stories are condensed to listicles (yes, I see the irony), coffee dates revolve around Instagram-worthy locations, and the political climate of our nation is influenced by Twitter. Consider what it would look like to live quietly in the midst of that. We live in an age of false humility, the age of the selfie, the age of vanity.
But as believers, it is our duty to
cultivate a life that points directly to Him.
Once we dedicate ourselves to Him, our lives are no longer our own.
I am not immune to the draw of social media. My Instagram account is carefully curated. I’m continuing to make an effort to curate it for Him and not myself. But it’s hard. To live quietly, I must stop trying to get people to look at me, and try to get them to look at Him!
2) “mind your own affairs”
Modern terminology: “mind your own business.” Gossiping is not a foreign concept. But where I’m most guilty of not minding my own business is in my actual mind. Thoughts are hard to control (but not impossible thanks to God). How often do you find yourself wondering about the lives of others, judging life choices, dwelling on what you perceive to be mistakes, thinking you know what’s best for their lives when you only know part of the story. Me? More often than is fitting for a daughter of God.
The takeaway concept—turn your gaze inward to take the plank out of your own eye. Turn your gaze upward to focus on Him. Maybe then we can stop stumbling around (okay, not completely, but it would help).
God is jealous after us; after our attention,
our thoughts, our minds.
He wants us fixated on Him.
3) “work with your hands“
This is a little different in the 21st century than in the time of Paul. We’ve no need to make our own tents, or hunt and gather for food. Commute has even changed from foot traffic to road traffic (hello Houston highways!).
One thing, however, hasn’t changed:
living equals work.
Working 9-5 to make the money, serving in your church, chasing after a crazy toddler, cooking, laundry, yard work…in whatever form it may take, to live we must work. Natural human tendency is to avoid the work. That’s not what this verse commands, though.
If people see you working hard and not always looking to others for help imagine what kind of testimony that would be for the Lord! So whatever you do, work hard and eschew laziness.
Reasoning behind all of this is found at the end:
“…so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”
Unbelievers and believers alike are watching at you. Moments after claiming you are a Christian, your life is put on display. Especially with the rise of social media. They are looking for mistakes.
Before hitting “share,” ask yourself what that post might do to your testimony.
Before judging someone you barely know, consider why you should be thinking about her at all.
Before asking for someone to do the work for you, contemplate what you can do yourself.
Always, always consider
what would glorify God the most.
Live for the Rock! (Not the WWE superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson but … you know … the solid Rock on which we stand.) Living for the Lord is the most fulfilling thing you can do, and it starts by living quietly.