August 2, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Ambitions for Today
“and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,”
1 Thessalonians 4:11
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I really enjoy meeting all kinds of people at the beach every day. I sometimes go to a table, sit down, and expect to have time to read my Bible quietly. Frequently, however, the Lord Jesus has other plans and He sends someone to talk with me. Recently, I went to my usual table and a man I had met a few times was sitting there reading a book. I left my Bible on the table, and went to the railing to watch the beautiful evening on the ocean. Soon he came over to the railing and asked if we could pray for our mutual friend in the hospital. He told me about a man who had broken his neck while riding his bike. He was now paralyzed on the left side of his body, and had been in the hospital for over a month. Our friend was just learning to move his left hand some, but he could not even begin to walk. He was working on moving with physical therapy. As I stood at that railing, I thought how blessed I am to walk, talk, and move as I wish. I was also very happy my friend had asked me to pray with him, because I also shared with him how he could receive forgiveness of sins by simply believing that Christ died for him on the cross, and now lives as the risen Lord.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:11, Paul talks all about ambition. My injured friend now has the ambition to regain the use of his hand and arm, and to learn to walk again. You see, he had broken his neck, and had a plate installed to join his neck vertebrae together. We all have ambitions in life. Paul describes three ambitions that every Christian should hold dear in his or her heart.
First, our ambition should be to lead a quiet life. This term quiet (“ἡσυχάζειν“) means to be silent, or to quiet down and give your attention to someone speaking (Acts 22:2). In our case, we need to quiet down and listen to the Lord Jesus speaking to us.
Second, we must attend to our own business. The literal phrase (“πράσσειν τὰ ἴδια“) means to do your own things, or to mind your own business. The idea means that you take care of your own issues first, before you take on someone else’s problems or concerns.
Third, we must work with our own hands. The emphasis falls upon being self sufficient by earning your own living. I see many men who do not have regular work, nor actually seek work. Paul commands the Thessalonians to be self-sufficient and not rely upon charity from others. Working forms an important part of the Christian life for every able-bodied person.
Finally, Paul repeats that he has already commanded the Thessalonians to live according to these ambitions. Christ gives every believer tremendous freedom in pursuing so many areas of life, but He also provides commands that guide us in our lives. With every command, Christ also makes available the spiritual power to carry out each command.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we follow the commands of Christ regarding our ambitions for life.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we make it our ambition to lead a quiet life, attend to our own business, and work with our own hands.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we lose control of our lives and live wantonly, become busybodies poking our noses into other people’s business where our noses do not belong, and we start depending upon the charity of others when we should be working with our own hands.
Application for Today
Today, I want to follow the ambitions that Jesus Christ has for me in my life. What ambitions will you be following today?