We don’t have to guess, the Lord tells us how to live (walk) so as to please him. Hear Paul in 1 Thess. 4:1:
Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. (NASB)
First, the obligatory nature of the walk: must. This is the divine necessity, the same word as when Jesus said it was necessary that he go to Jerusalem and die. That’s why Paul talks about the commandments they had given the Thessalonians in v. 2. The whole language of punishment and rejection is present to say that these aren’t optional matters (verses 6, 8).
Second, the balance between action and motivation. To walk indicates the action that Christians must be about; to please God expresses why we act. Not only is it important to act, but the reason why also makes all the difference. This action particularly is in reference to God. We do, not to cater to others’ demands or wishes, nor to satisfy our own desires and passions (see verse 5), but in order to please God.
Third, the progress needed in our faith: excel still more. The Thessalonians were already doing what was right. But they needed, as one version puts it, to make new progress. Good thoughts as we face the new year. We may be faithful, but we also need to be progressing and growing in the things of God. Stagnant water is not healthy, neither is the stagnant Christian. There is always room to improve and excel in what we do in the Kingdom of God.
This verse is the beginning of a passage that starts and ends with the idea of walking (4.1-12), so it’s a key thought.
These were some of the points in my lesson this morning on verses 1-7, here he talks about the will of God. Soon, the text of our article for today’s bulletin on 4.1-12.