Living a life that shows the world our love for Jesus Christ can be difficult. Not because we don’t want to do it, but because there are so many distractions, our focus shifts.
And we know from Peter’s example, that when our focus turns to the crazy storms in the world around us, we begin to sink.
Like Peter, we can call out to our Lord and he will save us from drowning in the sea of distractions flooding our days.
God knows we struggle. That’s one of the main reasons He inspired men to write the Bible.
If you’re a person who likes lists, this post is for you. Feel free to grab a copy of this graphic and use it as a screen saver.
In his first letter, Paul gave seven not-so-easy steps for living a life that stands apart from the world. Find this list in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22.
- Rejoice Evermore
Life isn’t joyful. But we can be full of joy. Why? Because joy isn’t happiness. Joy is peace because our hope is in the future God holds in his hands not the present circumstances.
- Pray without ceasing
Don’t think this means mumbling a prayer all the time. More like always “in the room” with God and ready to communicate with him. Remember, communication involves listening.
- Give thanks in every thing
Even though I try to list at least one thing I’m grateful for each day, I don’t feel thankful for everything that happens. But if Corrie ten Boom can be thankful for fleas and Matthew Henry can be thankful for being robbed, I can be thankful when hard things come my way, too.
- Quench not the Spirit
The Holy Ghost dwells in every believer. When we feel a nudge to speak kindly to someone, that’s him talking to us. Ignore him enough and you’ll stop hearing those small hints to do good things. And that would be sad, wouldn’t it?
- Despise not prophesying
I loved how our pastor defined prophesying (because who uses that word in everyday conversation). He ways it’s “God’s revealed will.” So when God reveals something he wants you to do, don’t ignore it.
- Prove all things
Too often, we jump at every new opportunity. We need to slow down and seek God’s advice before we commit to something new. Once we get a green light, we should follow after the good things.
- Abstain from all appearance of evil
I’ve heard this verse used in many contexts, and the older I get the more I think that isn’t the way Paul intended it. This is a personal measuring stick. Before we do something, we should ask “What will this look like to anyone who sees me?”
If we know we’d have to say, “I can explain” to our pastor or parents or employer, that’s a red flag. No, it’s not better to ask forgiveness than permission. It’s always best to consider the consequences and avoid things that have lead to negative ones.
As the pastor pointed out, this isn’t a checklist. This is a daily outline for living. No matter where you go, these seven steps should be used as a guideline for every choice.
Which of these seven steps gives you the most trouble?