March 7th

Living to Please God 

1Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.  1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 NIV 

The idea of controlling our sexual nature is often ridiculed in our current world culture. This passage links our sexual behavior ultimately to our acceptance or rejection of God.  Every day we have choices in life that reflect who our true master is.  If we choose the easy road of lust, we will be out of Godís will for our lives.  God gave us several instructions in the above passage to help us live in sexual purity. 

We are to live to please God, instead of living to please ourselves.  God wants us to be sanctified (set apart for His purposes) through obedience to his commands for living.  This can be especially difficult since virtually everything in our consumer-oriented world is geared toward self-pleasure. 

We are to avoid sexual sin.  Sexuality is a powerful area of life.  When we dishonor God through sexual sin, we potentially will reap many unpleasant consequences and cause others harm.  Note that we are called not only to resist sexual sin, but to also avoid it.  Avoiding it means not going near it, not making a provision for it, not pre-planning it and not doing stupid things that will put us in tempting situations. 

We are to learn how to control our bodies in ways that are holy and honorable to God.  Some people have been convinced by the devil that this is impossible.  God is ready to teach us and show us that it IS possible.  The one requirement is that we stop allowing ourselves to be carried away by lust.  Notice that God didnít tell us to learn how to control lust.  If weíre allowing our bodies even the slightest instances of lust, then weíre already in trouble because lust is untamable.  We canít continue to feed our lusts and expect to control our bodies.   

These are challenging instructions, but all are possible!  For a more in-depth look at how to tackle them, please visit our online study, Freedom Journey.   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer: 

Dear Father, Thank you for showing us the path to abundant life in your word.  Please forgive me for all the ways I have lived for self-pleasure.  Lord, please help me to live to please you in everything I do.  Please quicken my mind to avoid every path that leads into sexual sin.  Please teach me how to control my body and completely stamp lust out of my life.  I commit myself to following you every day accordingly.  Thank you, Father! In Jesusí name I pray, Amen!Ē