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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

WALK HONESTLY

1 Thess 4:11-12 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

In the lesson text, Paul continues his exhortation, to the Christians of Thessalonica, to live good and faithful lives, for this is the will of God (Vs. 3), ...For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness (Vs. 7). Listing a few "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots," of which the church at Thessalonica needed to be reminded, Paul says they were to abstain from fornication (Vs. 3), each was not to defraud his brother (Vs. 6), and they were to love one another (Vs. 9). Not only did these commandments of God need to be taught and obeyed by the Christians of Thessalonica, but likewise by Christians of all ages.

The same is true of Paul's exhortations in the lesson text - all members of the body of Christ are to hear, obey, and teach others these spiritual tenets, to all they have opportunity to persuade. Christians are to study to be quiet. As used here, the word "quiet" means that, a child of God is to have a calm and peaceable demeanor, or manner of life, not prone to arguments, or given to disorder, and not given to contention or a meddlesome concern about the personal affairs of others. One's disposition toward others is to be ordered in kindness, gentleness, and meekness; it is to be void of discord, quarrelsome contention, gossip, and strife with, or about, others. Used in this sense, to be quiet is evidently difficult for some Christians to obey. We know this to be true, because Paul says that, to accomplish it, and practice it in our lives, requires that we study to be quiet. As Christians, we must diligently study God's word to know how we are to order our lives in accordance with His will. Only by diligent, determined study, will a Christian man or woman be able to recognize that human nature can be deceiving; only then can we be in total control our actions in order to be quiet,as God requires of His children.

Paul continues by saying that Christians are to do your own business. In words we understand today, we are to "mind our own business," and not that of others. The apostle Peter wrote that we are not to be busybodies prying into other men's matters - the personal lives of others (1 Pet. 4:15b). It is evident that the church at Thessalonica needed to understand, and obey, this commandment of God. In his second letter to this congregation, Paul wrote this: For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies (2 Thess. 3:11). The busybody is to replace, prying into other men's matters,with something that is useful. As a Christian you are to work with your own hands, as we (Paul and his fellow laborers in Christ) commanded you. To be idle is sinful. Idleness wastes one's talents and abilities. Children of God are required to be useful, helpful, and beneficial to their families, and unselfishly charitable to others. Each Christian is to labor, working with his (or her) hands, the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him (or her) that needeth (Eph. 4:28).

And why does God require Christians to be quiet, mind their own business, and to work with their own hands?In the following verse, Paul gives us in the answer: That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without. We are to walk becomingly in the sight of those without (not members of)the body of Christ. By exemplifying these Christian characteristics in our lives, we demonstrate the honesty and integrity of followers of Christ to the world around us. A member of the church of Christ should never be seen by others in a manner that is given to disorder and contention; never be seen as a busybody; never be seen as an idler. These ungodly qualities should never be found in Christians; no one should ever be given a reason to associate these worldly traits with members of His body, the church.

The other reason God requires these good qualities in His children is that ye may have lack of nothing. From the beginning of time, those made in the image of God, both men and women, are to provide for the necessities of life by their God-given talents and by the labor of their hands. When it is physically possible we are to provide for own needs; not burdensome to our family, friends, fellow Christians, or our government. Paul told the Thessalonian Christians that if any of them did not work (which indicates they were able to do so) that neither should they eat (2 Thess. 3:10). To walk honestly before God is to be the best possible example to the world around us - spiritually through righteous living, and physically through diligent labor. Be a good Christian example! Jesus says: Ye are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14).