The typical myth of coming to Christ is everything will be easy when we follow Jesus. That we’ll have no more struggles, no more pain, and no more temptation. While that will be true in eternity, here on Earth, we will experience pain, suffering and temptation to sin. This is a reality that can sometimes make us want to give up.
The church in Thessalonica also experienced these pressures, if not worse than we do today. The church was made up of former idol-worshippers who had been transformed by the Gospel Call and had been drawn to Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They may have had powerful salvation experiences, but they walked right back into their families, jobs, and communities with people who operated under a whole different set of values.
It would have been easy for believers to walk away from the church and conform to the ways of the world.
Often, we experience that same pressures when we step out of church and back into the our lives where it’s financially easier to live together before marriage or into the job where it’s common to fudge numbers to get ahead, or back into a home that is filled with conflict.
We can stand firm in these situations when we understand that the Gospel isn’t a one-time recognition, but a reality that changes the way we approach every day of our lives (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). Growing in your walk with Jesus is a process. Paul encourages us to, “…stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
Jesus was dead; now He’s not. And one day He’s coming back to set things right. Of all the things Paul could have encouraged the Thessalonians (and us) with, he points to Jesus’ return. That truth gives us hope. Hope changes our hearts, giving us the strength to do what’s right and trust that God will work things out. Hope invigorates our work, allowing us to have a positive attitude when our coworkers complain and mock us. And hope enlivens our speech, allowing us to encourage others even when it seems like there’s nothing worth celebrating (2 Thessalonians 2:17).
When we feel like giving up, staying connected to Jesus through prayer, the Bible, and His people will give us the strength to keep going.
Father, thank you for this day you have blessed me with, help me to find the strength to worship you and face the struggles and temptations today.
Kiefer is an Elder and the Worship Leader at Pleasant Grove Reformed Church, outside of the church he is a creative director and graphic artist.
At 11 A.M. for our worship service!