July 23, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Excelling Still More Today
“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.”
1 Thessalonians 4:1
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Receiving instruction can often make a huge difference in our lives. When I was a child, I liked to watch people surf. In many ways, I learned to surf watching the best surfers, and understanding how they moved their surfboards across the waves. I also learned at school, and at home, about how to think and how to live. Some of the things I learned at school, I frankly could not care less about. But the things I learned about surfing, I was eager to put into practice. I really enjoyed surfing, and wanted to surf with greater and greater skill. I wanted to do many maneuvers on the waves. I was willing to receive instruction about surfing, although I could not care less about art history being taught at school. One thing I received well, and the other thing–you know.
The word “received” in 1 Thessalonians 4:1, means take, take along, accept, learn. It points in this case to completely accepted. It joins together the hearing of the truth with the proper application in our lives of the truth. We not only hear the truth, but we live the truth. Often when I try to learn something, I know to employ a mental and spiritual filter to see if I should be learning this new thing. Does it please God? Will it edify me? When I read the Bible, however, I know that God’s Word never needs filtering, because I know that every word of Scripture has been breathed by God and will profit my life and soul (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Thessalonians completely accepted the God’s instructions about how to walk to please Him. Even with this complete acceptance and application of the truth, the ministry team requested and exhorted them to excel still more.
In this sense, God will always urge us to more and more spiritual growth in our lives. He will continually be sending us people to promote more spiritual growth, where we excel still more. In some case, God will be sending people to us to confront us about our sin, and cause us to seek repentance, confession, and the return to righteous living. In other cases, God will send us “excel still more” people. He plans for us to grow constantly in His grace, every day.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we receive the instruction the Lord Jesus Christ delivers to us through His Word.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we excel still more in obedience and application of the Word of God, particularly in loving one another more and more.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we stop growing in Christ, and refuse to follow His commandment to excel still more.
Application for Today
Today, I want to excel still more and more in following Jesus and doing what He wants with my life. Will you encourage your friends to excel in Christ more and more today?