The idea of quietly living a quiet life offends me. I don’t like it.
I want to yell, “I want to be a heroine. I want to save the world. I want to make a difference. I don’t want to live a quiet life that no one notices.”
The fact there are lots of “I’s” in those statements points out the selfishness of that attitude. I know God’s way is best. It’s all a matter of convincing myself of it.
The Bible clearly says that I should live quietly in I Thessalonians 4:11. So I know that I need to study the quiet life, knowing that after I study it, I must then live a quiet life. It says this…
And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.
This verse has an introduction, three steps and an application. We will look at each…
"And that ye study...
1. To be quiet
2. To do your own business
3. To work with your own hands
...as we have commanded you"
We are to “study”. The word study does not mean sit and try to cram knowledge into our brains for the future as a third grader studying for a multiplication test.
Instead, it requires much ambitious work, more like the way most people approach studying to get a driver’s license. Knowing the material is not enough. Hours of practice are spent until driving seems to become natural. Only when you have applied those lessons practically do you earn a driver’s license. Then the real tests come: the unexpected hazards of driving.
The word “study” in this passage requires much. It means we are to earnestly study and ambitiously labor to learn to live this way. This material is not easy, nor does it just require recitation, but it should become a natural part of life. There will not be just a final test, but the everyday hazards of a busy woman’s life help us to examine ourselves to see where we need more practice.
Before I began this study, I would have defined quiet as silent, not active. Basically, a kind of sitting on the bank and watching the current of life flow by.
Joyfully, I discovered this is not how we are to be. Instead, we’re to be more like a boulder in the current. Not swayed or moved but strong women, affecting the world around us.
A boulder does not have to be louder or noisier than the current. No, the water can roar as it rushes by and the calm stability of the rock changes the roaring water. If we can have a calm and quiet temperament even in the challenges of life we will be able to change the world around us.
The roar of the water may cause people to notice the water. But when they study the current, they can see the unmoving boulders. We should consider a noisy life a disgrace because the noise draws attention to ourselves. We should always point people to Christ, no matter what we do in life.
So the question for my life is…
“Is my life drawing attention to me or Christ?”
This section begins by telling us to “do,” not just talk, read or study about life. It instructs us to be active, doing life. But the verse goes on to tell us whose life we are “to do”. We are to do our own business--that of living our own life. We are not to live anyone else’s life either fictional or real.
This means we must resist all of the modern temptations to spend too much time imagining “doing someone else’s life” or taking care of their business. For some this may be spending too much time reading about other lives. For me this is a real struggle as I enjoy Christian fiction and a new book seems to call me.
Others are tempted to spend too much time watching TV or on the web to learn about other lives. These things are not necessarily bad but must not be allowed to interfere with us doing our own lives.
The age old temptation to direct someone else’s life is also part of this section. Often our neighbors, church, or extended family can become our focus and then we are tempted to gossip, pry, or meddle. The kids have it right this time when they say, “Mind your own business!” Remember…
We should be like a boulder…that means not disturb others lives.
With our knowledge, experience, and personality of course we would do things differently. But God put the other person in that situation and me in mine. Therefore most often I should hold my piece of advice or criticism and thereby hold (on to) my peace. Robertson’s Word Pictures observed…
“ It is amazing how much wisdom people have about other people’s affairs and so little interest in their own.”
So the question for my life…
“Am I doing my business as God gave it to me?”
This section reminds us that although we are to be quiet, we are not to be idle or lazy. We should actually do something…not just talk about it. Talk is cheap and gives us nothing to show. Instead, we should actually work and have something to show (Maybe a clean house, well-tended children, a successful home business or a testimony at work.)
Our excellent work should speak for itself…results are louder anyway. Our work can be seen by the world and often is our testimony.
So the question for my life…
“Is my work a testimony of my service for Christ?”
There is a lot in this short verse about how a godly woman must live the quiet life. But the verse ends reminding us that these three sections are not optional but are commands. Therefore, I must live quietly but actively. This isn’t always easy. But God will give us the strength to do what He commands.
This advice may not make you world-changer but it will change the world around you.
We hope this Bible study lesson on a quiet life has been a blessing.
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