2 Thessalonians 1:1-4
1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. Silas and Timothy join me in writing. We are sending this letter to you, the members of the church in Thessalonica. You belong to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 May God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3 Brothers and sisters, we should always thank God for you. That is only right, because your faith is growing more and more. We also thank God that the love you all have for one another is increasing. 4 So among God’s churches we brag about the fact that you don’t give up easily. We brag about your faith in all the suffering and testing you are going through.
Paul is writing to encourage the church in Thessalonica. He reminds them that they belong to God the Father and to Jesus Christ.
It is evident that the believers are experiencing persecution. And I wonder if they were asking “why us?” or “what did we do to deserve this?” or something similar.
Instead of encouraging them by saying that he is praying that the persecution would end, he encourages them by his observation of what the persecution is producing in them. It is producing a flourishing faith, love for one another, endurance and faithfulness. That’s a pretty good result.
Instead of viewing persecution as something to avoid or complain about, persecution and trials can be embraced as an opportunity for God’s work in me to bring about these kinds of results through the Holy Spirit.
As James writes, “consider it an opportunity for great joy….” It’s not easy to get excited about that, but Paul was, and if anyone could write about trials it’s Paul.
Father, I know I complain about the trials that I experience, and I repent of that. Help me to see the results that you are working in me through these. Thank you Holy Spirit for working in me to produce the same things.
Written by Andrew Martin