Chapter 2 continued …
4) Cultivate Spiritual Authenticity
1 Thessalonians 2:9-10
We proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers.
Mr. Swindoll writes,
These verses disclose what Paul did to influence the thessalonians when he was with them. “We proclaimed” (v9) and “we behaved” (v10). Paul revealed his ultimate desire for the Thessalonian believers later in chapter 2, verse 12: “so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the god who calls you.” See the connection? Paul was saying, “When I was with you, I proclaimed to you the good news. I gave you the truth. But I also demonstrated the power of that truth by my behavior, so that you could grow.”
I think one thing that is important to remember, which Mr. Swindoll goes on to say, is that spiritual authenticity does not mean perfect. It is not about how well you actually do, as much as that you try. It’s important that the children see you trying. The point is to keep on trying, just because you fail doesn’t mean you stop trying. It’s important to take a look at scripture and make some changes to try to be better. It is about steadily growing in obedience, and maturing as a Christian.
Mr. Swindoll asks two questions here that I would encourage you to think on,
1) If a boss or someone with authority over you were to talk one way and live another way, what would be your opinion of them?
2) How do you think it would affect your willingness to follow their leadership?
4) Be a Positive Influence
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
11For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
Some versions translate as “exhorting and encouraging and imploring.”
Exhorting – Strong lists the meaning of the original text to mean to call near, that is,
- invite – give rise to a desire by being attractive
- invoke – by imploration, hortation [giving strong encouragement] or consolation [the act of consoling; giving relief in affliction])
Encouraging – Strong states the meaning as to relate near, that is,
- (by implication – An implying, or that which is implied, but not expressed; an inference, or something which may fairly be understood, though not expressed in words
- encourage – inspire with confidence; give hope or courage to
- console/comfort – give moral or emotional strength to
Mr. Swindoll writes,
Loving fathers have open, welcoming arms. Their hearts ache for their children when they suffer. And, rather than lecture, loving fathers identify with their children’s pain and give them hope for better times. This kind of encouragement lifts the spirit and restores the soul.
Imploring – Strong states the meaning as to be
- a witness, that is, testify (literally or figuratively)
- charge – appoint: assign a duty, responsibility or obligation to
- give [evidence],
- bear record,
- have (obtain, of) good (honest) report, be well reported of,
- testify, give (have) testimony,
- (be, bear, give, obtain) witness.
Mr. Swindoll writes,
Imploring comes from the same word we use for martyr. Martyrs don’t merely speak the truth, they implore others to accept it by enduring pain and even death. By their suffereing, they influence others to take the message seriosly and to join in living it out.
Mr. Swindoll also points out the word Positive. He notes that “rarely do negative messages inspire people to greatness.” I find this, and I see this, as being something that is not practiced. It seems that negative comments and commands are much easier to dish out than positive ones.
Mr. Swindoll ends the chapter by restating the five guidelines for being the type of dad found in 1 Thessalonians 2:8-12:
- Demonstrate a fond affection
- Lead a transparent life
- Exhibit an unselfish diligence
- Cultivate spiritual authenticity
- Be a positive influence
I think these are great guidelines for being the type of Christian that we all should be, not just a dad. If everyone would practice these guidelines in other areas of their lives, the world would be a better place. Don’t ya think?