10/15 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

11 . . . and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

Some people find a sense of importance by delving into others' affairs. They talk among themselves about their neighbors' or families' problems and seem to feel the need to correct other people about perceived wrongs. Christians should reject these tendencies. We should avoid talk that incites to anger and violence. We are to aspire to live quietly and mind our own affairs. Our presence in a community should be one of peace and grace.

Societies can foster dependency so that they can control the masses. If we are dependent on our social order for our food, we can be unduly influenced by it. Christians should strive to be independent and support themselves. In another passage, Paul tells us to work so that we can have to give to those in need (Ephesians 4:28). Those who are on welfare should take every opportunity God gives them to earn their own way. Christian charity should be ready to help those who are in need through no fault of their own.

These descriptions of the Christian life are contrary to some views that are being preached and practiced today. The busybody sin-hunter is not a new phenomenon. Know and love your neighbors. Help them when the need arises. But don't interfere in their lives or demand that unbelievers live up to Christian standards. The conviction of sin is the job of the Holy Spirit.

Consider: Walking properly toward those who are outsiders is to live an honorable and holy life in the eyes of others, but most of all, before God.