HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU'RE RIGHT? We've heard this phrase dozens if not hundreds of times the last few months: 'America is the most divided it's ever been.' People are coming to conclusions diametrically opposed to each other but yet everyone is convinced they are right. One of the best ways to determine your own rightness is to check your motivation. Verse 4 reminds you that your motivation must always be to please God, not necessarily to please people. What is the motivation for your political & social positions? If your first goal is not pleasing God, it's likely that you're coming to the wrong conclusions.
STOP PUTTING LIPSTICK ON YOUR PIGS: A big reason that political disagreements are often so volatile is that we hold them so dearly. Ultimately, they're a reflection of who we are, so it strikes us to the core when we're accused of being wrong. Conversely, we often mistakenly conclude that if people like our political opinions, they'll like us, so it's very easy to manipulate facts and truth so that people like our opinions (and hopefully us) more. Don't be this way. Instead follow the advice laid out in v5-6:
You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed... We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else...
EXCELLENT ADVICE FOR FATHERS: In reminding the Thessalonians that he treated them as a father treats his children, Paul gives excellent advice to fathers. Verse 12 provides 3 key things fathers must continually do for their children:
Encourage them (the greek word literally means to call out to them and to teach)
Comfort them (literally: to come alongside)
Urge (literally: witness to) them to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory
THE BIBLE IS NOT A REGULAR BOOK: The Bible is not just another set of ideas floating out there that's on the same level as any other book on the shelf. The reason we participate in daily Bible reading is because this book is so different. It's powerful and authoritative, because it transcends all of the empty and vapid human opinions being spewed forth, rather it is "the Word of God, which is at work in you who believe (v13)." As you read these Words, and as you humbly submit to the Spirit, God is working you (and your opinions) into a person who pleases Him (v4, 14).
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Almighty God, who is at work in you as you read His Word
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that the Spirit would continually mold your motivations to please God and not people
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: