Keep on Keeping On

We enjoyed a pleasant day in warm Atlanta. We had the opportunity to get out to run some errands and enjoy a nice lunch in a new area of suburban Atlanta.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Mind your own business, and earn your own living, as we told you before. If you do these things, then those who are not believers will respect the way you live…” 1 Thessalonians 4:11,12 ERV

As Paul writes to the Thessalonian believers he makes the observation, We taught you how to live in a way that will please God. And you are living that way. Now we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus to live that way more and more.” (1 Thess. 4:1 ERV)

As we face the coming year it is important that new goals are not the only focus for our life. When people make a “New Year resolution” it seems that people look for something insightful, creative and unique. Paul tells these believers to “continue to live the way that they have been, as he taught them.”

Often times the best goals we can have are those that continue and build on what we have accomplished or committed ourselves to. I recall Tony Dungy writing about his years of success as the Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts. He said for a number of years they maintained their focus on the same basic goals for offense, defense and special teams.

Paul reminds believers about the priorities he gave them. These priorities included living holy lives, living in right relationship with other believers refusing to take advantage of or cheat each other.

He then summarizes the goals they should have by saying, “live a peaceful life.” We see scripture says that much of the peace we experience in our life is under our control. To the Romans, Paul said, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Rom. 12:18 NIV) The writer of Hebrews says, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy…” (Heb. 12:14 NIV)

Paul then basically tells believers to take personal responsibility for their lives. “Mind your own business, earn your own living.” While we have a duty to share with others and “carry each others burdens” our focus should be on our own lives and families, being responsible and productive.

The result of a “life well lived” is respect from others, especially those who do not believe. It is important for Christ-followers to not look for excuses for ungodly behavior, but to live a life that reflects the values and commitments which earn the respect of others. The result is an opportunity as Peter said, “…to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have. But answer them in a gentle way with respect. Keep your conscience clear...”           (1 Peter 3:15,16 NIV)

As you plan for the coming year, perhaps the best thing you can do is to focus on the basics you have been taught and have been practicing. Improving the areas that are weak, protecting the areas that are strong and in the process demonstrating the life of Christ that is lived by faith.