There is an epidemic of apathy that has polluted our churches. I worry that we love to show up and be entertained on Sunday mornings (ears tickled) and then we fade back into the world without an ounce of change. (Of course, I am generalizing and I realize that this is not always the case).
The question is this: Is this how Christ intended His Church to function?
Paul tells the Thessalonians (a very solid Church by all accounts) that they need to live to please God. Now don’t slide past the word “live.” Life is a collection of moments, and I think we would all agree that a majority of these moments happen outside of a church building. So Paul is not saying that while in church for one hour a week you should please God. What he is saying is that every moment of your existence should be focused on pleasing God. You should please God in your thinking, in your dreaming, in your relaxing, in your aspiring, in your talking, in your struggling, in your rejoicing, in your working, in your loving, in your questioning, in your hurting, etc.
And not only should this be our individual goal, but as brothers and sisters in Christ we should be “urging” each other to live a life pleasing to God. And we should recognize that this urging never ends. There is always room for improvement, hence the phrase “more and more” in the above verse.
Make no mistake, this is risky business. With urging can come resistance. When you push, sometimes an opposite force will push back. However, I don’t see that urging in the Church is optional. Whether there is resistance or not, we are told to urge each other to live a life pleasing to God.
I believe if there is mutual urging, done out of love and with grace, within the Body of Christ, we will see amazing things happen. We will see fires for Christ burn more brightly, laborers sent out into the harvest, soldiers equipped for the battle, and the making of disciples. But above all, we will know that the Lord is pleased, which should be reason enough.
With that said, I am urging you, brothers and sisters, to live every moment to please God. It is also my invitation to you to urge me to live every moment to please God. Let us eradicate the epidemic of apathy.