In this section of the letter (1 Thessalonians 2), Paul is reminding these believers how he and his team acted amongst them. He is building the platform from which he will later give some instruction to these believers.
What he writes describes brilliantly what Godly leadership ought to be like and is well worth deep consideration.
However, for today’s devotion, I want to focus on just one aspect of Paul’s life and leadership that has life application for all believers.
“We speak, not to please man, but God who tests our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
What motivates your actions & words?
We live in a self-conscious age. We are constantly attempting to manage the perceived perception of others regarding ourselves.
And so we do things, say things, post things because of what we believe that will portray to others about us. It is all too easy to get sucked into living for affirmation, likes, followers. We are salespeople!
Paul, however, could declare that he was free from such pressure. He lived and spoke with his eyes, not on the opinion of others but rather firmly fixed on pleasing God alone.
Our age loves the notion of freedom, and yet we so readily enslave ourselves to the fickle opinions of others, or even worse, our perception of what the opinion of others might be!
I believe that the apostle Paul was genuinely free. He lived for the audience & the approval of ONE – God the Father in Heaven. He lived to please God in all he did and said. This was the motivation in his heart, the guidance for his life.
Paul knew that it was futile to try to do a sales job on the all-knowing, all-seeing God. After-all it is God alone who can test our hearts and truly know the motivation for all our actions.
So, Paul knew the glorious freedom, confidence and security that flowed from knowing that He was loved and accepted by God because He had believed the good news about Jesus. Therefore, he proclaimed the gospel fearlessly in spite of great danger and also lead courageously.
What a relief! There is no need to be a salesperson anymore. If you KNOW that you are loved and accepted by God because of your faith in Jesus, then you can live truly free from the endless tyranny of the opinions of others.
Live your whole life for the audience of the ONE who loved you enough to save you for Himself. And when you live for Him and not yourself (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) – you will end up glorifying Him with your life.