March 1, 2014
READ: 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12
We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering (v.4).
Recently I took a 17 hour road trip with my family and a foreign exchange student we were hosting. To save time we attempted to cut through a bordering country. We were turned away at the border, however, because our exchange student did not possess the right paperwork. Good security resulted in bad news for us. Disappointed, but undeterred, we took the long way to our destination.
Extended road trips and living for Jesus require endurance. The apostle Paul encouraged the persecuted believers in the church at Thessalonica to endure. He wrote of the “severe suffering” they had experienced at the hands of “their own people” (1 Thessalonians 1:6, 2:14). Then, in a second letter, he commended them for faith that was “flourishing” and love that was “growing” (2 Thessalonians 1:3). And this took place amid “all the persecutions and hardships [they were] suffering” (v.4).
The church was choosing “endurance” and “faithfulness” instead of caving in or running for the hills. Why? They were choosing to trust God, who—as Paul wrote—would eventually use their “persecution to show his justice and to make [them] worthy of his Kingdom” (v.5). Peter also wrote of the privilege of facing persecution for Jesus: “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” (1 Peter 4:13).
There might be times when you’ll be called to suffer for Jesus and to endure with Him. As Paul wrote, “May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do” (2 Thessalonians 1:11). —Tom Felten
Joshua 3:1-17 ‹365-day plan
Read Colossians 1:4-5 and see what Paul says leads to an enduring faith.
What has God provided to help you endure through times of persecution? How does suffering for your faith make you “worthy of [God’s] Kingdom”?