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Standing orders and fixed points

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

—1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
No specific reason to quote this, other than it struck me this morning (I'm behind in my Advent readings) how good it is to have standing orders from God. The desire for a black-and-white world can be a grotesque and damaging idol, but avoiding this idolatry by painting everything in muddied shades of gray is unfaithful to the God who speaks by both Word and story. We who believe do have standing orders, fixed points by which we can set our course (the above are just a few, and by no means the most important). In these, there may indeed be a great deal of gray in the "how" of following Jesus, but the "what" is often spelled out clearly, and the "why" is always rooted in the story the gospel gives us. Part of discerning wisely is in not spending time discerning that which is already clear.

Comments

one of the long-standing jewish prayers is

"Blessed Lord God, He who distinguishes good from evil."

It's prayed as a prayer of thankfulness. They see fixed points as very important