Living to Please God

4    Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.

When a passage starts with the title “Living to Please God”, we should pay attention! Afterall, is that not our priority in this life?

Paul focusses on two categories of sins in this passage after encouraging the Thessalonians who were, in fact, living lives that pleased God.  He encourages them to do more and more in order to live lives that please God – not because their (or our) actions affect our eternal salvation, but because they affect our communion, our intimacy, our fellowship with Jesus Christ!

The two categories of sin he focuses on is  sexual and relational.  Is it co-incidence that after encouraging his readers to live more and more lives that please God, he zooms in two categories of sin? I believe not.  I believe that these are two categories of sin that have the greatest affect on our intimacy with God.

Speaking about seual sin, it is interesting that he admonishes us to control our own bodies.  The root of sexual sin is a lack of self-control. But self-control is honouring to God. Self-control reveals a life led by the spirit of God rather than a life led by our sinful natures.

Then he speaks of not wronging our brother (or sister!) or taking advantage of him (or her!).  Some interpretors believe this relates still to sexuality, but whether or not that is how you intepret this context, the instruction is clear:  Do not wrong other people, an do not take advantage of them.


Paul’s letters are so helpful in evaluating ourselves.  His teaching puts a standard before us against which we can measure ourselves. Today is no different – it is a challenge to measure your sexual sin and the way you treat others.  Take a few moments to be honest with yourself – and it there is sin in your life of the nature Paul speaks about in this passage, take time to repent! Repentance is a right about turn involving our whole selves: body, mind and spirit. Repentance means asking for forgiveness, and for strength to stop sinning.


God thank you that your sacrifice through Jesus Christ means I can come boldly to your throne of grace and ask for forgiveness.  Today I confess the sins of ________________ and I ask you to forgive me.  Please help me to live a holy life, pleasing to you. Amen.

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