Paul concludes this letter to the church of Thessalonica with a prayer of hope. This young established church of new Christians had faced great opposition and persecution in the one year that it had been in existence. Yet through all the severe trials they endured, the Thessalonians remained utterly dependent on God. They pressed into God and continued to flourish and grow in Him.
We have a lot we can learn from these young believers in Christ. The Thessalonians latched hold of the good news of Jesus, turned away from idols, and remained steadfast in the faith. They fought to love others, including their enemies, and committed to serve God despite severe opposition. They remained hopeful, even in persecution, as they patiently waited for Jesus Christ to return for them. They had unfailing faith in God despite their circumstances.
In what situation might you be tempted to doubt God’s faithfulness because of unmet expectations?
We see from the Thessalonian church that despite difficult circumstances, God is so faithful.
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for He who calls you is faithful. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
In this closing prayer, Paul makes it clear that God is faithful to do all of the heavy lifting when we surrender to Him. The God of the universe is absolutely free to do as He chooses, when He chooses, with whomever He chooses. Yet, He lovingly chooses us!
God is always faithfully at work to accomplish His plans and purposes for His people!
- God established His perfect plan for our salvation through Jesus Christ.
- God pursues us and draws us near to Him.
- At the moment of our salvation, He exchanges our sin for His holiness and righteousness.
- God imparts us with the Holy Spirit to help teach us and transform us to be more like Christ.
- God keeps us blameless and perfect in Him for eternity.
Verse 24 tells us that God will make all of this happen. This is a certainty. There is no doubt. There is no hesitation. God is faithful to do everything that He has said He will do!
When we belong to God, we are His, forever and always! Regardless of what we experience in this life, our standing with God is finalized and unchangeable. We have all of God’s love and devotion. God sees His children as perfectly righteous in Jesus Christ – even on our worst day. We are completely blameless before Him.
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
The Thessalonians became part of God’s family and were immediately terrorized for their faith. They were loved by God but hated and slandered by those around them. They were God’s chosen but still threatened and murdered.
Instead of allowing persecution and hardships to defeat them, they thrived and flourished in God. They kept their focus on Him. They continued to show love to their haters. They continued to live set apart from the norms of the culture. They continued to serve God faithfully. They remained hopeful in the return of Jesus.
Jesus Christ is our only strength and hope in our ongoing battle with the sin, pain, and brokenness of this world. We can pray and ask God for the same grace and strength that Jesus had which empowers us to love hurtful people and serve Him in hope – no matter what the circumstance.
We, like the Thessalonians, can thrive and grow deeper in the Lord, even in the face of pain and persecution. No matter the circumstances, despite our feelings, we must press hard to love God and people, to serve Him faithfully, and to patiently hope in the coming of Jesus.
As you reflect on your life, where have you seen painful and difficult experiences lead to your deeper relationship and dependence on God?
Peace and grace to you,
Terria serves on the LGG encourager and social media teams. She lives in Virginia with her husband. She is a proud mother of two beautiful girls in college. Her passionate goal is to ignite and empower a generation of millennial women to grab hold of God’s truth and cling to it. She can be tracked down hard at work in busy hospitals listening to patients’ stories, while sharing the lessons and love that God has poured out in her life. Despite the sometimes chaotic circumstances of Terria’s life, God always shows Himself strong and loving.