Paul warns the new converts about idle minds and idle hands. We should show others the love of Jesus Christ by being a good example to them. Paul worked as a tentmaker to buy his own food. He admonishes us to always be a help and not a burden to those around us. We should encourage each other in doing good deeds and helping unbelievers. If there are those among us who are unable to work either permanently or temporarily, we need to help provide their needs. Jesus tell us that when we do this for others here on earth, it is the same as doing it for Him. We should always be working for our Lord and Savior. James tells us:
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.-James 4:17 (NKJV)
When we see a need, we need to meet that need to the best of our ability. Doing good works here on earth is how we lay up rewards in heaven.
It is because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, that God has given us His Holy Spirit to abide in us. The Holy Spirit’s role is to teach us and guide us “into all truth”. He is also the earnest that seals us so that we can be assured of everlasting life with Jesus. Therefore, because of that, we can be secure in our salvation. Knowing this, we can focus on leading a Holy lifestyle and setting an example for others to follow. We need to stay away from foolish and frivolous arguments. This is not a call to separate ourselves from sinners. We need to associate with them (being careful not to fall into temptations ourselves) and build bridges with them so we can witness to them. We must embrace the value of every human, though, sometimes we will not be able to embrace their values. Seize every opportunity to witness to the unbelievers.
1 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!–1 Cor. 6: 1-6 NIV
Can you imagine what it would be like to attend a congregation where everyone agreed to take their complaints against each other to the congregation and accept their decision? Wouldn’t this be a good example for the world to see? Paul says we should be able to judge the trivial things ourselves. Anything short of salvation is trivial. Why do we ask the world to judge between us? Is it ego, greed, or revenge? Since we have access to heavenly wisdom, who could be wiser in judging than God’s children? We are all one family, the family of God. For us to ask the world to settle our disputes is somewhat like hanging out the family’s dirty laundry. The world is probably never going to recommend that we just forgive each other and move along since they look on humility and meekness with scorn. But that is exactly what the Holy Spirit recommends for members of the body. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.—Eph. 4:31,32 NIV
2 Continue praying, keeping alert, and always thanking God. 3 Also pray for us that God will give us an opportunity to tell people his message. Pray that we can preach the secret that God has made known about Christ. This is why I am in prison. 4 Pray that I can speak in a way that will make it clear, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity. 6 When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should.–Colossians 4:2-6 (NCV)
Paul was in an actual prison in Rome requesting prayer for opportunity, strength, and boldness to continue witnessing for Jesus. He wanted to carry on the work that God had called him to do. He was chosen as the apostle to the Gentiles and wanted to set the example for unbelievers. Even in that situation Paul wanted to be kind and pleasant. Even though his cell was cold and uncomfortable, He refused to complain so that his lifestyle would attract others to Christ.
Even though we live in the land of abundance, we are in prisons of our own making. We are held captive by our own fleshly desires, pride and public opinion. Our fear of what others think of us has sealed our lips. We are more concerned with pleasing our families and our friends than we are with pleasing Jesus. We need to pray that we will be like Paul, he didn’t witness because of an obligation, he witnessed because of his love for his Lord and Savior. Pray that God will release us from our fleshly prisons and that our love for Him will override our doubts and fears and our lips will be loosed to praise Him.