onward and upward

1 Thessalonians 4

“God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.”1 Thessalonians 4:7

 

If you know me at all, you know that I have not been the perfect textbook Christian. My relationship with Christ looks more like a rollercoaster than a gradual increase. I grew up in a Christian home with loving parents and 3 amazing sisters. We all went to church and loved God the best way we knew how. At one point, I was the most perfect cookie-cutter Christian you could find, up until about high school.

High school is a tough age. You are still trying to find the balance between having adult-like responsibilities and your parents taking care of you. You begin to drive, get your first job, or maybe start dating for the first time. There is a lot going on and not a whole lot of maturity to go with it. Unfortunately, for me, I tried to create my own independence by rebelling, which continued on through the beginning years of college.

But, God was still there. He would whisper His words of grace and love and I would listen…on occasion. I liked what the world had to offer for a short while, but then came the depression and anxiety. Where did all that come from? Well, a short-lived rebellious life often comes with these long-term consequences.

Mistakes are bound to be made by everyone, even Christians. We all fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23). However, I think there is profound power in realizing the depth of our sin and the price Jesus paid on the cross. Putting our trust in the death of Christ immediately acquits us of our sins: Freedom.

Following this, our sanctification process begins and lasts throughout our lifetime. Paul is talking about sanctification in this chapter. He begins with, “…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 Lord Jesus.” I love how Paul is writing in this chapter. He starts off by reminding them of the commandments given to them through the Lord and encouraging them to move onward.

What are these commandments? In Matthew 22, we can read what Jesus has to say about the greatest commandments. “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (verses 37-39)

This means we need to press into the Lord’s love in order to grow and cultivate our faith. As we do this, our love for one another grows and our lives will be significantly different than those who do not believe. We will be living the pure lives that God has called us to live because He is able to work our willing hearts.

I know where my weaknesses are; do you? Protect yourself from those things. Say no to the world and yes to Jesus. I’ve tried the world’s way, and I can tell you first hand that it only leads to emptiness. An emptiness that can only be filled through a relationship with Christ; a relationship that only comes from the blood on the cross and the gift of grace. Onward and upward.

be free. xo

Leah

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