In an earlier devotion on Christian Holiness Daily, we learned that it is God’s will that we be sanctified, or filled with the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:3). After Paul proclaims this to his readers, he expounds on what is expected out of those whom Christ sanctifies.
- Abstain from sexual immorality
- Love one another
- In verse 11 of that same chapter, he says that we are to live a quiet life. What does Paul mean, though, when he uses the word quiet?
- Paul’s life seemed to be anything but quiet. He traveled from town-to-town preaching first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles, bringing a new message – and one that few wanted to accept – and stirred up so much trouble that he found himself often in jail, stoned and left for dead, beaten, and eventually martyred. Ask and the definition of quiet life, I doubt any of the items on that list are mentioned.
- When I think of a quiet life, I think of a cabin in the woods, off grid, and a room full of books.
- Others may think of a sailboat on a calm sea, or a fishing boat on a still lake. Some might picture a horseback ride or a cross-country trip on a Harley. Though peaceful, I doubt any of those images are what Paul had in mind when he wrote of the quiet life. Paul’s idea of quiet can be determined from his other epistles.
- The first clue that we find about Paul’s definition of quiet is Romans 12:18, where he gives similar advise:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. – ESV
Peace and quiet are synonymous. In this passage Paul ads a qualifying clause, If possible…
In Paul’s life, peace and quiet wasn’t always possible, for it wasn’t always up to him whether he lived at peace.
- Galatians 5:22 tells us the same thing that Paul tells us here in 1 Thessalonians 4, but it is more succinct: the fruit of the Spirit is peace.
- In Philippians 4:7, he urges us to allow our hearts to be guided by the peace that comes through the Holy Spirit.
- In Romans 14:19, he urges us to make every effort to bring peace into our lives.
- As with every aspect of sanctification, living in peace or living a quiet life is only possible if we allow the Holy Spirit to rule (take charge) in our lives daily.
- If He is not the King of our hearts, then the best that we can hope for is brief calm often followed by a ferocious storm.
- If we allow the Holy Spirit to reign, then we too can say (like Paul),
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.