Sunday, 22 November 2015

Live Your Calling - 1 Th 5:4-11 and 2 Th 1:11-12

'Who on earth are you?' is a rude but poignant question for each of us. Paul actually asks 'Who in heaven are you?'. Who we are in God's eyes translates into our calling and purpose in the here and now on earth.

Paul is clear that for the Thessalonian Christians their true identity is in their relationship with Jesus, from which flows purpose and calling. They wait for that wonderful reception when Jesus returns, though v1-3 remind us that we do not know the time or date.

For those who have no relationship in Christ it will be a complete surprise, a total shock, because they are living their life effectively in the dark. Yet those who know Jesus can see it coming, and wait expectantly. They wait eagerly, knowing they belong to the Kingdom not just as loyal subjects, but able to join the procession as members of the Royal Family.

Now all members of a family have roles to play and jobs to do: i.e. Kingdom work that applies today, in the here and now - hence the key question:

Key Qn: [UP] Do you recognise God's calling on your life?
Challenge: Be intentional with your life – go with your calling

Verses 6-8 give us three contrasts to make the point: awake vs asleep, sober vs drunk, clothed in battle ready armor vs unprepared. God has stuff for us to do, so being asleep, putting our feet up, hoping to sit it out until eventual salvation is not an option! Of course each of us is different, but put simply God has a calling for each person that He has tailor-made to suit them. Sometimes the calling feels a stretch at first, but that is because God wants us to grow into it, becoming the person He wants you to be.

Be sober: intentional, thoughtful and prayerful about your life. Don't stagger around as if drunk. Finding your calling doesn't happen in an instant, it can be a multi-year (or decade) process, but learn to go with it.

Be prepared and ready for action. A soldier back in barracks doesn't need to wear the armor, but when they go into action they have to get kitted up! We go not simply with Christian bravado, but with God given attributes of faith and love, protected in the knowledge that Jesus can save us.

Ultimately we get to v9 where Paul uses the word 'appointed'. Yes God wants us! Not to be overwhelmed by anger at things wrong, but benefiting from what Jesus has already achieved, drawing others in too. The urgency Paul expresses matches the stories of Jesus, and is repeated in the 2nd letter (1:11-12) where Paul prays that we will be worthy of God's calling.

So take the challenge, ask 'who in heaven am I?', and discover God's calling on your life.

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