BY: ELI THOMAS
BIBLE TEXT: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-7: And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you.
PERSONAL REFLECTION: At face value, this passage is Paul cautioning us about laziness. Through the rest of this chapter he details that we should work hard for what we have and never expect hand outs. However, as I read this one morning I couldn’t help but shake the idea of adding one word to the sentiment: Spiritually.
Lately there has been a fair deal of turmoil in my life — from starting a new job, a new schedule with new people, to my car’s transmission and I parting ways. I’ve started thinking about how to get closer to God and bring a greater sense of balance into everything and then I came across the passage above. Paul warns us against being idle or even associating with idle people but what I can’t get away from is being spiritually idle. People who know me know that I enjoy working out and almost all manner of physical exercise, and I understand the benefits and consequences of staying in shape. All of these principles apply to our spiritual selves.
Exercise and strain builds strength and endurance and molds a more capable person. Idleness leads to atrophy and apathy. We’ve all been there. You have a day off and lay around only to feel like laying around more afterward. The same thing happens when we abstain from prayer and service to the Kingdom. It just seems easier not to return to the work. That’s where the danger lies. That’s when falling away begins and we have been warned to stay vigilant and avoid it.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Just like any exercise the key to seeing results is sticking with it. To see growth we need to eat, stretch, and lift. Eating gives the body strength and energy as well as healing after an intense work out. Stretching prepares the body for work as well as helping it relax and avoid injury. Lifting is what truly causes growth. It not only changes you but it affects your environment as well. Spiritually, we need to eat by reading the Word to give us a foundation that helps us prepare for work. We stretch our spirit through prayer to get it ready to move and we pray after spiritual and emotional activity to avoid injury. Finally, we lift by serving the Kingdom — from an everyday greeting at the church to intervening for a person in dire need. Remember, when lifting you don’t grow unless there is a change on those round you. Find a routine, set aside a meal time every day, stretch as often as possible, and find a place to lift regularly within the church or elsewhere in community. The only way to grow is to commit.
PRAYER: Lord, your Word tells me that if I ask for wisdom it will be given, so I ask today for wisdom to see through each trial and situation I face — that I would be made aware of your movements and not miss my chance to act . I also pray that you help me to see every opportunity to carry your message and love to those who cross my path. Help me, Lord, to grow closer to you in an unmistakable fashion for your kingdom and honor. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I’m Eli Thomas and I lead the young adults group at Life known as Pneuma. I am also a professional baker at Tennessee Cheesecake and an avid people person. I enjoy just about every kind of physical activity. I love the outdoors and Predators hockey. If you ever want to talk or work through something with a helping hand feel free to get a hold of me or if you just want to go for a hike or watch the game, I’m your guy.