Red Ropes and Restriced Access

Rebecca Van Noord

Daniel 2:17–3:30; 1 Thessalonians 3:6–4:12; Job 40:13–24

I often want to keep certain areas of my life roped off. God can reign over some of my relationships, but not to the extent that I need to make gut-wrenching decisions to fall in line with His will. God can move in my Bible study, but I keep the chaos of my work life outside the bounds of His sovereignty. I am in charge, I think, and I allow only restricted access.

We might not readily admit it, but subconsciously we often operate with this mindset. Paul speaks to the Thessalonians about the nature of faith. He spent time with the believers in Thessalonica, instructing them about God and life. He now sends word to encourage them to move along in faith. “We ask you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus that, just as you have received from us how it is necessary for you to live and to please God, just as indeed you are living, that you progress even more” (1 Thess 4:1). He continues to instruct them in sanctification—the work of becoming holy by serving God, loving God, and loving others.

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Even though he is grateful for the Thessalonian believers’ faith, Paul doesn’t want them to remain at a standstill. He doesn’t want his example to be their measuring rod. He turns the believers over to Christ, entreating them to pursue Him.

God doesn’t expect us to meet a faith quota. He wants to claim all areas of our lives fully for Himself. This is not an option; it is “necessary for you to live and to please God” (1 Thess 4:1). Nothing escapes His notice or His attention. But He doesn’t expect us to go about this work on our own—that would only result in disaster. He gives us His Spirit, through whom He continues to form and shape us. Whether it’s our relationships, our work life, or our time spent studying and pondering His Word, God expects our total allegiance.

Do you want to allow God only restricted access to your life? Pray today about an area of your life that needs to be transformed.

This article was originally posted in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.