Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. 1 Thess.4:1
Read that last sentence. I mean really look at it. "You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more." It's a pat on the back followed by a kick in the pants. Paul is telling folks that they're living good, they're living right but hey, maybe you can do this living right thing even more. Don't rest on your laurels. Don't settle for good at the expense of best.
What's this all about? I know what some of you are thinking ...this smells of 'works' salvation. Not at all. Paul is always pretty clear about grace. No, this is about not living in a rut. It's a reminder that settling leads to stagnation.
Ever have someone say 'good enough is good enough'? I have. It's a good word especially towards those who tend towards perfectionism. Most of us don't have that problem, right?
Sometimes we can use 'good enough is good enough' to claim victory in that widely popular comparison game. Truth is that I can always find someone I'm beating in the 'good enough' department.
Paul reminds us that 'even more' has the potential to get our eyes off each other and our tendency to compare and back onto the real game we're playing. That game is called 'following Jesus'.
I know, without looking too deeply, that I could love better, be more generous, care more passionately, reflect more earnestly, and use my time more wisely. So could you.
Without beating ourselves up (not easy to do for many of us) maybe we ought to spend some time asking ourselves what 'even more' might mean for our life. We do trick ourselves, you know. We fall into cultural and religious traps. And we do settle for being OK when God beckons us to more.
I don't want to be just OK. I want more. Don't want to be legalistic about it. Don't want to be depressed about my 'even more' progress. But I do know that there's a deeper 'more' that is rooted deep in my heart. I betcha it's in your heart too. We will never feel quite right until we allow that 'even more' to become what God intends it to be.