1st Thessalonians 4:1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.
Suppose you’re driving your spouse’s car and you notice the gas gauge is nearly on empty. Even though you’re rushed for time you stop and fill up the tank. You might do it simply because it needs to be done; without really thinking about it. There is nothing wrong with that. A helpful deed is done that is good in its own right.
Or while you’re standing there filling the tank, you have a smile come upon your face as you think about blessing the one you love. It is an act of kindness that has its own fulfillment. It’s possible that your spouse might not even notice that it was done, but that’s not important. You did it to bless them.
Have you ever noticed that an obligation doesn’t have to feel like something we have to do, like one more demand upon our time? It can be perceived as an opportunity, rather than one of simple duty. Much of the time we might not even notice or think about these activities – we simply do them because they’re the right things to do. It is part of being responsible.
But these same obligations can also have the rich feel of opportunity. They are something to be done that brings blessing and pleasure; to the one they are being done for and to the one who does them.
The more we learn to differentiate right things from wrong things, the more aware we become of our opportunities (rather than obligations) to do the right and avoid the wrong. (Sometimes the wrong thing is simply not doing the right thing we see needs to be done – James 4:17) While this can take on the feel of duty, doing the right thing is positive in its own right – and such an opportunity if we have the eyes to see it. In every one of these situations we can recognize that we have the opportunity to do something pleasing to God. We get to experience the joy of blessing Him.
Making wise choices and living righteously are pleasing to Him and enriching to us. They communicate our love to Him (and to those around us) in a way that is genuine and biblical. Words are important, but they don’t compare to actions done with our motivation centered in Him. The Holy Spirit will transform us as we pursue these opportunities that enable us to live lives that please Him more and more.