1 Thessalonians 4: 1-2
1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
This is refreshing. I like first how Paul again affirms that the church in Thessalonica is walking The Walk. It’s always encouraging to be lifted up like that, at least for myself anyway. His commendation, however, is followed by a very important aspect of life, let alone our relationship with Christ, that you excel still more.
Let’s first look at it in a non-Christian context. Why wouldn’t we want to better ourselves? Whether it is in work, in school, in relationships, in health. Certainly, we all know areas of improvement in our lives. Some of them are areas we don’t know how to better ourselves, but it does not negate the fact that we know we can do better at something, always. Sometimes we simply cannot do it, though. Whether it is time, energy, situation, capabilities…the list goes on. We’re good at finding reasons not to improve ourselves even though somewhere in our mind we want to improve ourselves.
Enter our relationship with Christ. I’ve been involved in recovery circles for the last few years and if there is anything I have learned, it’s that everything is a process. Seems dismal sometimes, doesn’t it? It is especially daunting when trying to overcome a habit or addiction, a bad relationship, or a particularly bad event in our lives. How are these things possible then? Through His strength. We are reminded of this in Philippians 4:13, “13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
The point here is that we aren’t designed to “go it alone.” A reoccurring theme in my life is that God doesn’t give us anything we cannot handle. Unfortunately, we forget this verse in that moment and cut the phrase short. God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle without Him. He wants us to have a relationship with Him and rely on Him for everything. Yes, ev-ery-thing.
That being said, as we develop our relationship with Christ, he will implant the desires on our hearts toexcel still more. Why? We read about it in the book of James chapter 1, “4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
Do you have a desire to do what it takes to improve yourself today? If not, have you asked God to help you? Why or why not?