Walk in a manner worthy of God
by Carolyn Ehrlich
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Walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12b).
Paul was a leader who ministered to the Gentiles. In this part of his first letter to the people of Thessalonica, Paul shows us how he ministered. He outlines for us fundamental guidelines for leadership and ministry that worked then and are necessary today:
- Boldly declare our God amid conflict (verse 2).
- Act with integrity. Paul wasn’t coercive or deceptive. Instead, he was completely sincere; he had a simple heart and a pure mind (verse 3).
- Please God alone (verses 4 and 5). Paul wasn’t a people-pleaser. He didn’t engage in insincere flattery. Paul didn’t manipulate his principles to convert someone. He didn’t soften his message to avoid rejection.
- Do not be motivated by greed (verse 5). Paul did not seek limelight and glory. He did not nurture greed to get numbers at Sunday services or for power, influence or fame.
- Serve with humility (verse 6). Paul was handpicked by Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit to perform astonishing miracles. Other churches acknowledged him as an authority. But he did not seek prestige or glory from people.
- Be sensitive and gentle (verse 7) – cradle and nurture infant believers.
- Love people with strong brotherly and sisterly love (verse 8). Get close to people. Do not guard personal spaces or cling to strictly professional relationships. Provide for people spiritually and physically.
- Model transparency and authenticity (verses 8 to 10). Paul lived out the gospel in everyday life. Only leaders whose actions match their message have the power to motivate others.
- Exhibit enthusiastic affirmation (verse 11). Paul and his team were an avid cheer squad for the newest members of the church. Encourage new members, and coach them – even when they feel downtrodden and defeated.
Then, in verse 12, Paul tells us why it is important that leaders do these things – so that we are encouraged and led towards an ultimate goal of ‘walking in a manner worthy of God’. We (you and me) are called to walk in a manner worthy of God. That is a high bar. We need leaders to encourage, direct, motivate and help us. We each need to be a leader who encourages, directs, motivates and helps. This is not an easy task. So, we also need to diligently pray for our leaders everywhere.
Heavenly Father, I cannot walk in a manner worthy of you without support, encouragement, direction and motivation. Thank you for the leaders you have placed in my life who show me your ways. Keep them strong in you. Protect them from the evil one. And, Father, show me how to lead, encourage, motivate, nurture and care for others. Give me the courage to boldly declare you in the middle of the conflict of this world. In Jesus’ awesome name, I pray, Amen.
Carolyn Ehrlich lives in retirement with her husband Wayne in Ipswich, Queensland. Before retirement, Carolyn was an academic, working as a researcher in the fields of disability and rehabilitation. Carolyn had also previously worked clinically as a registered nurse. Today, Carolyn keeps busy with hobbies such as patchwork and quilting, supporting the Ipswich Lutheran Parish in various leadership roles, and supporting her family.
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