Wednesday, September 3, 2008

In Search Of Truth


1 Thessalonians Chapter 3

In this brief chapter we see further examples of Paul's genuine love for the Thessalonian church community, and we can also take from it an example of how to pray for and love other Christians.

First, we see that Paul sacrifices the valuable presence of Timothy so that he could go and give help and encouragement to the Thessalonians. (V1-2)

As mentioned in the first chapter, this new group of Christians was suffering mistreatment. Paul knew that affliction can wear down our faith and cause us to turn from God. He had told the Thessalonians that pain is inevitable, but was still concerned that the tempter (Satan) may use the persecution they were experiencing to turn them away from God. (3-5)

What would you say your instinct is when you experience trouble, or stress? Do you ask, "why me, God"? Do you become resentful toward God? Do you ask him for help? Do you tend to push God away, or do you try to get closer to him?

Like Paul, when we know someone is experiencing pain or stress, we can let them know that we've been thinking about them and purposefully praying for them. We can also take steps toward helping them, despite the sacrifice it may mean for us in terms of time, money or resources.

When Timothy returned, he was able to tell Paul that the Thessalonians had been remaining strong, trusting in God even through their pain. And the news helped Paul to do the same! Did you know that our pastors and mentoring friends often take a huge amount of encouragment from the faith we show in our lives? They get to see God working in us and in them. Seeing people grow is a reminder to them that God is really here and really involved in our lives. So if you ever want to encourage a pastor or a friend that helps you grow spiritually (and they can really use the encouragement!), let them know what their words and actions have meant to you. Tell them about the small ways you may have grown because of something they said or did. They feel so much purpose in helping others grow, that it will mean a lot! (V6-10)

Paul ends this chapter with a prayer for the Thessalonians. He wants to be reunited with them and for them to love those around them more and more, because love is at the core of having a heart that is "unblamable". We won't achieve "unblamable" hearts in this life. But learning to grow in love for others is part of our journey in "holiness". (11-13)

Quick definition: Holiness means being set apart for the purposes of God.

We will be completely and perfectly in line with God's purpose for us when we are finally with him after this life. But the journey begins today as we continually learn how to love others more effectively.

Coffee House Question

Can you think of someone that influenced you to go deeper in your spiritual journey? What did they say/do and what was the result in your life?

Next Week-

Love, Sex, Death: Chapter 4 has it all!!

No comments:

Post a Comment