For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:1 (NIV).
Let’s be real: this verse sounds like a parent calling you out. “Don’t make me say it again!” Or your mom calls you by your middle name; “DAVID LEE COME HERE RIGHT NOW!” We know Paul was the man who met Jesus on the road into Syria, and we know Jesus instituted a personal ministry into Paul. Now here’s Paul saying he didn’t just say the things he did by his own authority but, instead, BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE LORD JESUS.
Throwdown, baby. But not really.
Here’s a mind-blower: you have that same authority. When you speak from your follower’s heart, you’re speaking with the authority of the Lord Jesus. When you tell what you believe, you’re speaking in the Lord Jesus. When you follow Jesus, you speak with His authority. When you say, “yeah, I believe in Him,” you’re standing up for Him and He’s speaking through you. What will you do with that? Perhaps a better question would be “what will it do with you?”
Face it: this faith-walk thing can be crazy. Up and down struggles, hypocrisy with overflowing blessings and gratitude for things you don’t deserve, real peace with real conflict: being a believer in Jesus is the most real thing you can do. And what are the instructions Jesus gives us through men and women like Paul? Love the Lord you God with all your heart and all your mind. When you’ve done that, repeat, then love your neighbor (i.e. everyone else) the same way.
I bet the Thessalonians struggled with doing it. We do; we probably aren’t much different from them, at least not temperamentally. So Paul reminded them that he taught them the ways of Jesus by Jesus’ own authority. It came straight from the top. He spoke with wisdom and power and grace: just like Jesus would. But the Thessalonians were like us, and we’re like Paul. We’re sinners, and we constantly need Jesus’ re-affirming wisdom, power and grace. We need reminders to love God with all our hearts and minds; we need constant reminders to love each other with that same devotion. When you fall down, when you slip into old habits, when you’re just having a rough day, you and I need reminders that Jesus is still living in us, speaking through us. That we still speak and act in His authority. Those reminders help us break through the fog and get back up when we’ve been knocked down.
So maybe it’s a more than good thing to hear my parents calling me out.
For further reading: Luke 10:27, 1 Thessalonians 4:3.
Lord Jesus, speak through me today. Speak Your authority over my words and actions, and help me to do Your bidding where I am today.