In almost every sector of life there are expectations placed on us. Whether it is in the business world, sporting arena, family life or academia expectations are a norm and we generally accept these expectations. Sometimes these expectations are difficult to achieve and satisfy. Normally, if you fail to deliver on the required expectations there is fallout. You may be penalized in some way. It could be a demotion at work or fined if that expectation is not realized. Some high profile Australian cricketers are fined a certain percentage of their match payments when they do not live up to the expectation of sportsmanship on the cricket field. We understand this as a normal part of life.
It is the same for Christians – those of us who take on the name of Christ. As Christians we are to mirror Jesus. He is our role model. It is expected we live lives that are pleasing to His Father. This is what Jesus did. There is responsibility in taking on the name of Jesus and being part of God’s family. Jesus pleased His Father when He walked the earth. He pleased Him by His obedience to His Father’s teachings, directions and commands. In fact, Jesus delighted Himself in doing this. This brought glory to His Father in heaven.
In our Bible reading this morning Paul encourages the young Christians in Thessalonica to live lives pleasing to God. Yet these young Christians had already made a name for themselves in their love for one another and for their outreach to their city, nation and beyond! Why did Paul have to ask them for more? Paul targets three areas where the young Christians need encouragement – sexual purity, brotherly love and the danger of idleness. It is hard to imagine that such an outstanding church family would need such teaching and encouragement. They were fantastic role models. It seems to me that Paul is targeting three critical areas where each one of us need warning and encouragement. Yes, there are great expectations and responsibilities placed on all those who take on the name of Christian! Charles Spurgeon says, “I believe the holier a man becomes, the more he mourns over the unholiness which remains in him.”