Today’s Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1
The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians shortly after writing the first letter in order to correct a misunderstanding about the Lord’s return and to encourage persecuted believers. This was a difficult time for the church in Thessalonica because of the violent persecution from the surrounding culture.
2 Thessalonians 1:3-5 (NIV)
3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 5 All this is evidence that God’s judgement is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
Paul indirectly pointed out the perseverance of believers by thanking God for their increasing faith and love, which is evidence of maturing Christianity. Notice that he wrote “ought to always thank God.” There is a spiritual obligation to thank God when he accomplishes great things in the lives of Christ followers. Paul used their church as an example for other churches because of their perseverance. He also emphasized God’s affirmation to keep going despite their persecution. The Christian life does not promise to be free from suffering. Jesus suffered so that we could have a relationship with him and one day see his Kingdom. Suffering is real, but so is the coming Kingdom of God! It is not written in the fine print: suffering is boldly written throughout the Scriptures.
1 Peter 4:12-13
12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
2 Timothy 3:12
Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Paul also wrote about God will defend those who suffer for his name. Retribution is the responsibility of God alone. He will “pay back trouble” to those who persecute Christ followers when and how he decides. We need not worry about fighting our battles— God will fight them for us.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-7a
6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well.
Are you living your life with perseverance? Do you consider suffering as a way that God perfects Christ followers? Do you seek revenge on those who persecute you?
Consider how you view suffering. Journal the ways you are suffering and how this is perfecting you to be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God. If you cannot consider suffering as a way of purification, pray that God will help you see as he sees.
May our God make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.
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