1 Thessalonians 3:1-13
Friday, 12 February 2021
“So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith.” -1 Thessalonians 3:7[NLT]
Paul was concerned when he heard about the persecution that the Thessalonians were going through and was afraid that their faith would be shaken by these afflictions. So he sends back Timothy to encourage them. When Timothy returns he gives Paul a good report on their steadfast faith in the face of tribulation and their love towards them and their remembrance of him with Joy. When Paul hears this, he is encouraged and writes to them saying, “It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord.” (V.8)
Paul and Silas were having a difficult time. In every town that they went to there were those who opposed them. They suffered many attacks on them both in words and in actions. This could have left Paul feeling weak and tired and discouraged. It was at such a time that Timothy came with the above good news and it revitalized Paul for the tasks ahead of him!
Can a report about us encourage and strengthen others…?
Paul rightly discerned the body of Christ. When the Thessalonians were afflicted he felt afflicted, and sent someone to encourage and strengthen them. When he heard their faith was alive, he felt alive. It was reciprocal.
In the physical realm when one part of our body is hurt we feel the pain throughout. We try everything possible to heal it and restore its function so that the whole body returns to normalcy and is kept alive and well. The question before us is this…. Do we do the same attitude when it comes to our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ or do we try to cut off the offending part or hurt it further by the things we say or do/ not do? How much concern do we have for the afflicted, weak (slippery in the faith), struggling brother/sister in Christ? 1 John 2:11: “But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
We should be mindful even in the manner we deal with those who are outside the body of Christ. Colossians 4: 5,6: “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
If we encourage and support the ones that are weak we ourselves will be rejuvenated at the time of our need as seen in this chapter.
In the same manner whenever we see someone discouraged, we should remind/encourage that person of the times when the Holy Spirit had worked through them in action or words of encouragement towards you. This will give anyone a desire to get up and walk again.
How we are to be with each other in the body of Christ is seen in Philemon 1:17-18 where Paul is willing to take on himself any wrong done by Onesimus towards his master Philemon. “ If then you count me as a partner, receive him as you would me. But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account.” Paul demonstrated compassion in his action!
Thought for the Day: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” ― John Wesley