(Guest Devo by Gray Manicom)
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
“Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians’ Faith
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4 For we know, brothers and sisters[b] loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”
You cannot compete with Satan, you need Christ and you need believers around you who are strong in the faith to encourage, rebuke and guide you as you strive for godliness. Being adopted into God’s family does not set you apart in the sense that you are now an individual; you have been adopted into a family of brothers and sisters- God the father, Jesus the firstborn. You have a responsibility for your family just as they have for you.
1 Thessalonians chapter 1 is an incredibly encouraging piece of scripture. Being a Christian in Thessalonica (in Macedonia) was not as easy as we have it in SA. The large and influential Jewish population did not take to Christians lightly, and a lot of persecution of the church took place. Throughout this the Christians embraced the Word with the Holy Spirit, receiving power, joy and deep conviction, and endured suffering which helped guide them to imitate Christ and spread His message. The effect of this was widespread. God used the Thessalonians as examples to Christians throughout the area who would have heard of their faith by word of mouth. This encouragement spread to Paul in Corinth (in Achaia), and must have been a great source of hope to him and the new church there, as well as a great advert for salvation. The virtues of the Thessalonians built up the whole family of Christ.
The challenge now is be like a Thessalonian, and I feel the crux of it is in the way we embrace God’s Word and teaching. Welcome the Word of God with expectation and openness to the Holy Spirit’s power, conviction and joy for the sake of your spiritual family and for the sake of extending it. Do not be like the Israelites God spoke against in Ezekiel 33 saying, “31 My people come to you , as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.”
A CALL TO ACTION
Find yourself someone who you know serves the true and living God, that you can journey with as a Christian. Speak to them regularly about God’s word. Ask them questions. Discuss deep truths together. Even King David, a man after God’s own heart said, “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me.” (Psalm 101:6).
A PRAYER TO PRAY
God thank you that I am adopted into a family where I can relate to other Christians. Thank you for Your word which guides us in the best way to live. Please help me to embrace both of these: other Christians I can journey with, and Your Word which is alive. In Jesus name, amen.