Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Thessalonians 4: Sex, work and heaven

Paul continues to speak as father to children to this young church - not only young in the faith, apparently, but just plain young. He tells them three things:

1) Sexual immorality - avoid it. Learn to control your body so that you won't harm a brother or sister. If you don't, God will punish you. (Yes, that is the word my Bible uses. Maybe some wimpy translation says "correct" I don't know, but the staid, mainstream NIV says "punish". Punish, how? Not sure - but some just response to willfully harming others, profaning the temple, and insulting the Spirit of God that lives within me.)

2) MYOB. Love others but without nosy meddling. When Paul writes, "make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody" I think of our brothers and sisters the Mennonites in Lamoille County, who work with their hands, are not dependent on anybody, mind their own business, and have won the respect of outsiders.

3) Some people we love (by God's grace without meddling or impurity) will die before we do. Paul says do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. Christ will return, raising the dead in Christ with Him, then raising us, and we will all be with Him in heaven. A couple of days ago Tim and I were encouraging one another with these words. Is it okay to think that Diane might be praying for us in heaven? Yes, we agreed, it might be happening. The important thing of course is that she is "there" and in a little while, we will be "there" too. 

So as a son of God I choose to walk in His Spirit today: to love the sisters with purity, to love the sisters AND brothers without being a meddling burden, and to grieve their deaths yet celebrate their homecoming. Peace be still, all is well.

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