Read This Week: 1 Thessalonians 3
We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. – 1 Thessalonians 3:2-3
Going through trials in life can be a beautiful paradox. It is strangely difficult on one hand but helpful and enlightening on the other. God never fails to teach even when we’d like for him to choose other means and he always seems to bring people to help, give us strength and make the hard times more bearable.
It is true that hard times show who our real friends are and this truth typically points out those that couldn’t hang with us. But tough times can also uncover a few friends that we didn’t expect, a person or two that we didn’t see coming. People that step up when we need it most. Gaining an unexpected friend is like finding a hidden treasure.
Paul is talking about this very thing in 1 Thessalonians 3. He wanted to comfort the Thessalonians in their lives, challenges and faith so he sent them an encourager, a friend. He sacrificed his own relational needs and time with Timothy to make sure they had leadership and found encouragement in their various trials. He did this because he loved them and that is what we should do for each other. We should be willing to disregard our own conveniences, desires, and self-interest to make sure those we care about are lifted up.
This doesn’t just happen on its own though. We have to be committed to each other; invested in the messy work of relationships. We have to take the stance of Paul who saw the greater value of seeing others lifted up more than his own This is essential as life becomes more complex and the challenges become more intense. We need everyone.
All the references to the church in its context in the N.T. are communal and are applied to everyone in the Body. Through Jesus, people of all backgrounds, races, cultures, talents, gifts, and experiences are united for His glory and purposes. We were never meant to do this alone. So friend someone today and let’s do this together.
One of the benefits to responding to God and becoming part of God’s family, is that we never have to be alone again. God is always with you and He has giving you a family. Sharing your life with God and the family of God, can be so awesome and is one of the best things you can do to grow as a Christian. I want to encourage you to get to know Jesus better and to get to know the people God has put in your life better.
God is saying, “I have not meant for you to be alone, I am always with you and I have given you a family, a life and a future with Me and your family.”
When I was praying and speaking with God earlier on trying times, I asked “If there is a plan and there are trials, then wouldn’t praying for these trials to change prove to be irrelevant?” God responded with “There is always a plan, and there will always be trials to help you grow, but knowing that I am there with you and will guide you will provide the peace needed to remain calm and pass through the trials much easier than if tackled alone. Know that prayer is always welcome and asking for guidance will make hardships easier. If what you pray and ask for doesn’t occur, just know that there is something better that will.”
To me this showed that sharing life with God allows us to be free and with the comfort that His love with always guide us, no-matter the circumstances.
I really agree and resonate with what you are saying, Javaid. It doesn’t happen by osmosis though. It is a commitment and hard work to do life together but it is worth it. It is always advantageous to be around people that have character, competence, and dedication to the right things. Those that will help, coach, invest and encourage us to be about God’s agenda.
When people come together like that, a strong bond is formed, relational depth is built and enjoyed and big things get accomplished. With God’s help and guidance, that’s when the hard work of cultivating community and doing life with others is worth every second.
As we read 1 Thessalonians chapter 3 verse 11, we see that we must follow and come closer to God, our true Maker. And what he is saying to me is that Jesus leads us through our troubles and trials. In our sins and lawlessness, He is the greatest Father we could ever know. We must hold true in our hearts to Him.
It’s so sad that many people have issues with their parents, which lead to authority issues and many of them project to their relationship with God. He is a good, good father. Not like our earthly fathers, but much greater. You can rely on Him, trust Him, He will never leave you and know that He loves you infinitely. Thank you, Jesus, for reconciling us with our father God Jesus is a reconciler. You may have relationships that Jesus can help you to reconcile. I want to encourage you to seek Jesus and reconciliation. God is saying, “I can make a way where there seems to be no way for you to reconcile.”
May God gives us all the grace, humility and strength to do our part in reconciling relationships and be restored to those with whom our connection is broken, Ken. I pray the Lord will give us the attitude that it is better to be in right relationship and to honor God than it is to be right.
Sam, I too am grateful that God guides, shepherds and walks with us through our trials and tribulations. I am also thankful in my heart that he provides people to do the same. He gives the gift of relationships as a way to lift us up and see us through the world of sin and our own issues and mistakes. He uses people to help, encourage, build up and challenge us in life. He’s a good Father like that. He gives good gifts and sometimes that is in the form of others.
In 1 Thessalonians 3 it says, “Therefore, when we could no longer endure our separation [from you], we thought it best to be left behind, alone at Athens, and so we sent Timothy, our brother, and God’s servant in [spreading] the good news of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you [exhorting, comforting, and establishing you] in regard to your faith.” Just like Paul sent Timothy, God sends us into the world everywhere we go to not only help the brothers and sisters in the family of God but to reach out to others with the good news and encourage others in their faith.
The Bible teaches that this is believing, trusting, and relying on Jesus for everything. Faith is a life-shaping attitude towards God. The person with faith considers God’s revelation of himself and of the truth to be certain and sure, then responds to God with trust, love, and obedience that expresses a Love for God and for others. What this means to me is God sends us out to love all people where they’re at, to ask God how to love, and help to encourage everyone. No one is above or better than anyone else. Our job is simply to be like Jesus and keep sharing how much God loves them and help build them in their faith.
God seems to be saying, “It’s all about reaching out to everyone that I send you to encourage and strengthen in their faith. Difficulties, struggles, and trials will always be around and our purpose here is to spread the good news to everyone, learn how to be ready to share our testimonies and to know God more and more so you can help people in their lives. Whenever we do something nice for someone, help them, or encourage them, that’s the Holy Spirit flowing through us to others.
Heidi, this comment is packed full of good truth and practical insight. This particular line stuck out to me: “Faith is a life-shaping attitude towards God.” I love the word picture of life-shaping faith. A faith that molds and fashions a life toward the heart of God and His truth is reminiscent of saving faith; faith that is fueled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This type of faith trusts God in all things, follows His lead and certainly expresses itself to others and the world.
In 1 Thessalonian 3, this is what God was saying to me: “I want you to be established and encouraged so you will not be shaken by your afflictions. I appointed you to these afflictions. I teach you through trial and tribulation. A lot of suffering could be spared if you obeyed my word. I will teach you perseverance, obedience, how to comfort others and deeper fellowship with my son in trials. Your affliction does not mean I am angry at you. The truth is it means that I love you enough to give the best to you when you desire what is easy. Your faith will be tested as the enemy wants you to give up on me. When you are suffering you need the help of other Christians who can come alongside you. You should show love to one another an to all.”
This was encouraging to me because I have at times wondered if God is angry at me and that He was punishing me. I know He wants what is best for me, and that doesn’t always mean the easy way. It is such a blessing to have other Christians help me through this journey.
Kathy, once again, we so appreciate your insight and sharing with us on A Week in the Life. You’ve pointed out and addressed a topic that I think a lot of people struggle with. I know it has been a challenge for me throughout my life. This idea that we are going through hardships or being corrected because God is mad at us or wants to punish us is a deep, existential question that every believer has to confront and gain perspective on.
I think you’ve pointed out one way to do that in seeing our trials and tribulations as a means of getting closer to God, becoming more intimate with him and understanding His heart for us better through faith. Seeing it also as a way to draw closer to others and relationships so God can use them to help. The testing of faith has gotten a bad reputation as a negative thing when in fact it is an eternally positive thing. There is nothing more positive than being close to the Lord and knowing who we are in Him.
I heard pastor and author, Erwin McManus say one time, “God doesn’t allow for the trials and challenges to show us what we’re not, He uses the trials to show us what we are and what we know about Him.”
It’s so true Kathy. Going through hard things in life with God, builds your strength and helps you to learn to rely on and trust In Him and not just In yourself. To me, it’s like resistance training which makes you stronger and learning to depend on the best friend you can ever have, Jesus, who will always be with you and never let you down. God is saying, “Trust me, rely on me, depend on me and I will make you strong and wise, and I will show it off for you.”
For me, as I go through things good and bad, doing it with Jesus makes it so much better!
Thanks for sharing Kathy! I know I’m blessed to spend life with you. It’s such a blessing to hear God through you. You touch so many lives through sharing what God is saying to you and you’re an amazing encourager. I love this chapter because God is showing us how much we need Jesus and each other to help us through life.
God gave me another song. I hope everyone is having a blessed week.
Living our life with Jesus, living our life with Jesus
Giving us strength, hope, and love
Giving us his strength, hope, and love
God is an amazing Father
Wanting us to shine, shine bright as his servant
Showing others his love, comfort, and faith
Knowing Jesus is the reason, Jesus is the reason
God is the true Lord of lords. He’s always with us. He listens and tells us what we should do. Remember it is all about his timing. Sometimes we do not like to wait and that’s when things go wrong. God loves you all the time. Trust Him, rely and believe in the Lord and your life will change.
Thank you for your song from your heart, Alma. Your words always remind me of other songs that have impacted me through the years. This one where you talk about God the Father and His love for us and knowing what is best recalled this song:
I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you’re pleased
And that I’m never alone
You’re a good good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us
Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love
I hope this will bless and minister to you as you continue to reflect on the trust in God’s timing and His desires for our lives that are perfect and always good for us. He’s a good Father like that.
Today, God drew me to 1 Thessalonians 3 verse 8: “Because now we really live, if you stand firm in the lord.” God was saying to me that as you come to me and grow, you will see all that I have done for you. You will have a true understanding of my love for you and the healing that has taken place in your heart. That means as I grow closer to Him with my heart, soul, and mind, I will have eyes to see the things he has done in my life and in the lives of those around me.
This chapter truly does speak volumes through the point of God’s purpose behind our trials. The young man I was in middle and high school truly relates. During middle school, I was diagnosed with epilepsy on Easter Sunday. Even though it was a very mild form, I asked the Lord for the longest time, “Why me?”.
Through time, I learned a lot about why He revealed this. I was blessed to find new brothers and sisters in Christ throughout my mission trips. With a new perspective, I noticed their struggles were much more to bear than my own. Yet, their faith was as strong as I have ever seen. In the light of my own and others’ struggles, that point of connection to uplift and encourage became substantial. What I used to view as a low point in life has transformed into a blessing a decade later. It taught me that God has a purpose behind the trials and mine was to view others in a new light, persevere, and not take our short time on Earth for granted. Better yet, use time to make a difference in others throughout encouragement and care.
Super cool story and so true. We need God and each other to truly have a victorious life. It’s helpful to know that someone else made it through what we are going through and if that can, we can too. Thank you God for always being with us and giving us a family of God.