Summary: It’s one thing to know God’s will; it’s another to do it. God wants us to be pure, to love others, and He longs to have our lives attract others to the life-changing message of the gospel.
To live a quiet life is the answer to the problem of restlessness. The word “quiet” speaks of the end of conflict, of peace after warfare. Be ambitious, Paul says, to live quietly. We need these words because our ambition tends to be noisy, to make a splash, a name, to get ahead, to rise above the crowd. Eugene Peterson translates this phrase with two words: “Stay calm.”
To mind our own business is the answer to the problem of being meddlesome. Almost no one appreciates a busybody. Let me share three signs that you have crossed the line of genuine concern and have started meddling:
You base your happiness on what others do or say.
You repeat your advice over and over hoping to convince someone.
You judge others on whether or not they do what you say.
There are two things wrong with this:
First, busybodies violate the principle of individual liberty given to every Christian. Each of us will stand individually before God someday. Since you’re not God, don’t try to play God for someone else.
Second, busybodies spend so much time worrying about others they neglect their own lives. You end up losing all sense of values. You strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. You become at expert at seeing the grain of dust in your brother’s eye while ignoring the log in your own eye.
The best way to light the path for non-Christians is by working honestly and leading a quiet life of impeccable integrity. We should attend to our own business as we avoid gossip and backbiting. People will see Jesus in you through the influence of the day-to-day grind of life because your workplace habits speak volumes. You can make Christ look beautiful by the way you do your job. The greatest witness you will ever have is the life that you lead.
Do you want to know how to lead a life that pleases God?
Set yourself apart from sexual immorality.
Love your brothers and sisters in Christ.
And work hard and honestly so that lost people can see your good works and glorify God in heaven.
Sadly, too many of us are living anxious, guilt-ridden lives, with no sense of vision for what God wants us to do. Some of you are probably thinking that it is too late for you. Maybe you’ve been hoping a trap door would open up and swallow me in the middle of the sermon because you don’t want to hear any more. You’ve lusted too much, you haven’t loved enough, and you could care less about the lost.
Listen carefully. The glory of the gospel is that we can always have a fresh start, a new beginning. All of us have messed up our lives in one way or another. Jesus has something He wants to say to you. He said it to the woman caught in adultery in John 8:11 and He says it to you this morning: “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” You can’t do a thing to change the past and it’s a waste of time to try. However, you can do something about the future.
When our daughter Lydia was two, she liked to test her boundaries. I can remember one night when she threw her fork on the floor after I had told her not to. I picked it up and gave it to her and she promptly dropped it again. I turned to her and said, “Lydia, look at me.” She kept her eyes down, staring at the floor.