November 10, 2019, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 – Post 3

I have asked you to pay attention to what Paul writes about being “… imitators … [and] … example.”

Actually, thus far I have mentioned being an imitator and asked you to recall persons (and groups) that are maturing in Christlikeness and in that call for your imitation.

Paul then adds, “ … so that you became an example to all …”

How? By mere imitation?

I don’t think so.

Left on one level imitation might be only about surface behaviors and even maybe superficial.

As we look to those who are maturing in their relationship with God and in Christlikeness we can learn from how they treat others and relate to others, how they worship, and from their acts of piety.

That last phrase, “acts of piety,” might sound strange or even archaic.

Maybe we should use terms more in use today – spiritual disciplines, spiritual practices.

Some folks seem to have a problem when others speak of spiritual practices. For them it seems to diminish the concept of “saved by grace” and might lead to some form of “works righteousness.”

In my understanding, at its root, a spiritual practice is a way of offering ourselves to God to be formed by God into the disciple of the Kingdom he knows we are called to be, made to be, and are already in part.

Did you notice Paul wrote, “…our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit…”?

That is the power and the Spirit that can inhabit our practices.

The practices open a means for God to form us.
So if our practices are our offering to God, when the offering plate come pass us next, when another child of God, by whatever means asks something of us, what will we offer?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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