Finally, the, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you out to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.
1 Thessalonians 4:1
I still cringe to this day when I think of the boy I was at age 11 or 12.
I was a student at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Round Lake, Illinois.
I was in the sixth grade. My teacher, Mr. Lambs, called me his “little theologian” because I received very good marks in religion class.
It doesn’t seem so much of a surprise now, considering what I ended up doing with my life, but at the time it was surprising as I didn’t get as good marks in any other class.
I also was an acolyte in chapel and in church. I was picked to sing solos in church services. And dad was a member of the Board of Education.
I tended to think of myself as pretty important, even though I was a sixth grade.
This self-importance manifested itself most often in how I walked around the church. I walked with a purpose, with my head held high (or at least my nose in the air), and as if I always had someplace important to be.
I wasn’t so much important as I was arrogant. I was thinking mostly of myself and not how I should be walking to please God.
I suppose I could be dismissed for being an immature boy at the time.
But the sad part is that I continued in that arrogance as I grew older.
Thankfully, God has gotten through to me. He has reached into my heart and into my life with the means of grace. The Holy Spirit has turned my head and my heart away from myself and to God.
At least most of the time. I’m still working on it!
I have had wonderful and amazing mentors in my life through whom God has done this.
They have pointed me to the Scriptures. I have received from them how to walk and how to please God.
They have taught me the Law of God which, because I am baptized and saved, is the guide of how to walk. To do this more and more is to show forth good works because I have been grafted into Christ as a branch is into a vine.
I’m still learning and striving to do this more and more. I am more deliberate in my listening when other people talk to me and around me. I try to listen to understand instead of listen to reply.
In the past I would listen to others speak, all the while thinking of what I could add to this conversation with a clever story of my own or about my own experiences.
Or I would be a part of a conversation and add what I think was the correct way to live and walk instead of trying to understand why others live and walk as they do.
As I said, I’m still working on this and am so glad of the patience of my friends and colleagues – and most of all, my family – when I fail to do this.
I still cringe when I fail because I see that arrogant, little sixth grader.
But then the Lord Christ reminds me that he loves even that sixth grader and he certainly loves me and continues to work his victory over sin and death in me!
He urges me on so that others may know of his love for them. That’s why we all walk according to what we have learned from others and the Word of God.
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