F.L.O.W. OR W.O.L.F.

“Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God – which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 NLT

Human ideas cannot save us from our human nature – only God’s Word can set us free from our sins. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23-26) and we need a Saviour to deliver us from sin:

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” Romans 3:23‭-‬24 NLT

The apostle Paul preached the message of God’s amazing grace with demonstrations of the power of God’s presence when he delivered the slave girl from the spirit of fortune telling and when he was set free from prison (Acts 16). It was God who gave Paul the courage to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the face of great opposition. the gospel of Jesus Christ turns our world upside down and move us out of our comfort zones.

In a Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica, he had explained the prophecies of the Jewish scripture and proved that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead to the Jews and God fearing Greeks. And he proclaimed that Jesus is the Messiah to set us free from sin. (Acts of the Apostles 17:3 NLT)

He later wrote to the Thessalonians to warn them that it is so easy to preach the gospel from wrong motives – out of greed or guilt – instead of seeking to glorify God:

“So you can see we were not preaching with any deceit or impure motives or trickery. For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:3‭-‬4 NLT)

The apostle Paul provides us with a model of sharing the gospel with servant leadership and sacrificial service:

“Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you.” (1 Thessalonians 2:9 NLT)

The apostle Paul challenged the Thessalonians is to live their lives in a way that God will be glorified. We can do so by taking “sacred pauses” in our daily lives to enter quietly into God’s presence and to give thanks for His rest and peace.

It is through silence that our minds are rooted in our faith in God. Our hearts will then be opened to the Holy Spirit to be filled with God’s love. Only then are we able to obey what God commands us to do. And our obedience will lead us to service as our act of worship to God.

So let us learn to F.L.O.W. (Faith – Love – Obedience – Worship) with the grace of God – to grow in our Faith in God so that we will be filled with the Love of God. Only then can we live a life of joyful Obedience that is our sacrifice of praise as our Worship to God.

When we seek worship and obedience in order to love and to have faith, we will become W.O.L.F. (Worship, Obedience, Love and Faith)in sheep’s clothing. This is not what God wants us to do. Through the prophet Isaiah, God reprimanded the Jews:

“When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all  your ceremony? Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting – they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings.” Isaiah 1:12‭-‬13 NLT

True worship flows from a heart of obedience. Worship before obedience leads to a heart of idolatry. To have a heart of obedience we need to do more than just declaring that Jesus is Lord – we need to enthrone him in our hearts and keep our eyes on the cross of Christ. So let us encourage one another to live as children of the promise:

“We will stand as children of the promise
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul’s reward
Till the race is finished and the work is done
We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.”

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