“Finally then brothers we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that as you received from us:
1. How you ought to walk, and;
2. To please God;
(just as you are doing) that you do so more and more…
…but we urge you brothers to do this more and more AND to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands (as we instructed you) so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (1 Thes 4:1, 10b-12)
Preach the Gospel; first and foremost to myself. Why? Among other things the focus is for me to remember and to serve Him who called me.
I often think about the purpose of the Gospel.
Why did the Triune God conceive the Gospel as a Principle; then a Plan (or project); then an Execution?
Yeah, I think about stuff like this. It seems to me that He did not NEED the Gospel but He WANTED the Gospel. It puts my self-awareness appropriately in focus: I am not NEEDED, I am wanted. Back to the basics: He is Creator, I am created.
And? What is your point?
Preaching the Gospel isn’t outward alone. It isn’t even primary (outward focus I mean). The Gospel is the integral and operative portion of making Disciples. The above scriptures are about disciple making. The first step in making a disciple is to make one out of the face in the mirror.
So why is Paul reminding the local church about this AGAIN? Is Paul a “one trick pony?” Am I?
I think the Scriptures remind us that being a Disciple isn’t primarily about missions—it is about walking worthy of the Gospel (“how I ought to walk”) or how I conduct myself before the Only One watching who matters. What I do in secret AND in public ought to be directed to our Lord Jesus alone and with that mindset. For instance:
When James talks about affirming my “faith” but I am not following it up with doing stuff that affirms my “faith”, I am off the mark in walking worthy of the Gospel. The same goes in reverse when I am locked into doing stuff or my focus is “doing stuff” but I am not backing it up searching for God, then possibly justification by works lies at the door.
Fighter pilots call this sensation “target fixation.” Hunters call it “buck fever.” Whatever definition is appropriate if my overriding focus isn’t searching for and chasing after the Triune God then I am shortsighted and crippled in my Walk.
Lord, please help me in my time of distress. Let me draw near to you. Again I am shaken, my foundations are tested. You, You alone are worthy of all my attention all my days. AMEN.