I want to be able to walk into a room and have everybody notice me. No…really. I would love to be the type of person that follows God so closely that no one can miss His presence in my life. The Old Testament talks of Moses coming down from Mount Carmel after spending time with the Lord. It says that his face glowed with a brilliant light because he had been in the presence of God. Can you imagine having that type of a relationship with your Creator!
And what about the unseen spirits in the room? What if God was so glorified in me that demons couldn’t handle the heat. I would love to be the type of person that Satan has to send his trained professionals after… not these minimum wage demons I fight with now.
But how do I get there? Have you found that place yet? What must a person do if he wants to continually walk closer to God? Strangely enough, after briefly thinking about it this morning, I happened to read 1 Thessalonians this afternoon. If your desire is to start down that closer walk with God, I think you’ll enjoy what I found.
There are three things that 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 says you must continually do if you want to walk in a manner pleasing to God.
The first thing you must do is to continually improve your walk with God. It’s important to realize that Paul was writing this to a group of Christians who already walked in a manner pleasing to God. He says this in verse one. Yet, he tells them that it is necessary for them to excel even more.
This reminds me of my relationship with the computer. (I know, I know. Stay with me though and I promise you’ll see the connection). When I was ten-years-old, my dad bought a Tandy1000. This thing was as slow as they come. Its hard drive couldn’t even hold as much as a 3½ inch floppy disk. It didn’t take much to understand how it worked. Now days, computers are much more technical than they were back then. As technology has improved, I’ve had to continue to learn new things just to keep in step.
The same is true of our walk with God. Just because you knew how to walk with God better yesterday than you did the day before, doesn’t mean that you don’t need to know more tomorrow. Like me and my computer skills, your walk with God must never stop improving!
Beyond a continual improvement of our walk with God, Paul teaches us that we must continually define what type of walk is pleasing to God. This process of learning to walk closer to God is called sanctification. Like road signs, Paul gives us three general areas of caution that we need to be continually looking for. If we don’t recognize them, our walk with God will be seriously hindered.
First of all, one who is seeking to walk closer to God must intimately guard his sexuality. 1 Thessalonians 4:6 says, “You must abstain from sexual impurity.” This goes much further than losing your virginity. Ephesians 5:3 says that not even have a hint of sexual impurity should be in you.
Beyond what you think, say, or do, you must also watch how you present yourself. This is the second warning sign Paul gives us. He commands us to keep our own vessel (or body) in honor and sanctification. This most definitely includes all forms of sexual impurity mentioned previously. It also alludes to how you present yourself. Romans 12:1 commands you to, “Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” If you desire to have a closer walk with God, you must watch the way you talk, the way you dress, and the way you act around your friends. Paul defines this further by adding that we should not look like the unbelievers around us. (This includes skimpy clothing and popular t-shirts with double-entendres on them).
Our last warning sign is the way we treat those around us. One who takes advantage of others for self-profit will find their walk with God seriously hindered. This becomes painfully relevant when related to group dynamics at school (a.k.a. “Cliques”). Returning to Paul’s primary argument, one last thing needs to continually be practiced if we want our walk to be pleasing to God.
We must continually embrace the walk that has been laid out before us. For instance, chances are that one of those warning signs will look more like a billboard for instant pleasure at some point in time. What may sound like a good thing at the time, will only lead you to wander off the path God has chosen for you. If you do that, your walk with God will suffer obvious hardship.
Furthermore, the signs that we often cast aside as pointless inventions of man are actually direct revelations from God. Ignoring a commandment from God is much worse than ignoring one from some lawmaker on the other side of the country. Paul addresses this error in verse eight of chapter four. “Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man, but the God who gives the Holy Spirit to you.”
If you truly desire to walk with God in a manner that is pleasing to Him, you must not reject any of the warning signs you come across on the road of sanctification.
So, how do I become that man I want to be? How do I get to the place where everyone notices the glory of God within me? I must daily seek to improve, define, and accept my walk with God. Maybe then will the demons shutter at the presence of God when I walk into a room!