Today takes us into Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians. Scholars date this letter at about 4-6months after his first to them. Persecution had continued and Paul is assuring the Thessalonians that God would pay back those who were troubling them. Persecution was a painful reality in the early church, but even in the midst of it, the message of Jesus spread like wildfire.
Even though at this point in the US, persecution for Christ followers is not prevalent, it is in many other parts of the world. And yet, the church flourishes under those conditions. That’s such a marvel to me, but I think it attests to what true faith and trust in Jesus can overcome. We have so many things in our everyday lives that are distractions to our faith; in some areas of the world, dependence on Jesus for mere survival is an absolute must.
Both letters to the Thessalonians challenge me to take a deep look at how I handle adversity. I’ve never know persecution for my faith, but I still have opportunities every day to handle life’s ups and downs with the grace that Jesus provides – or not. I wish my track record was a perfect one, but sadly it’s not. But a faith that isn’t tested is not necessarily a strong one. I’m reminded of Matthew 12:35 “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” When the pressure hits, what’s stored up inside of us is what comes out. That’s a pretty sobering thought.
I hope you will join me today in doing an inside inspection. How do you handle it when things don’t go well or when adversity hits? God gives us an opportunity to store up good within ourselves through His word. That good allows us to be the overcomers that we were created to be, no matter what the circumstances.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach