2 Thessalonians 1:1-4
It has been a little while since I have sent out a Reading Challenge, but it is nice to get back into this. I have really been enjoying The Wiersbe Bible Commentary as I feel it really breaks things down in a simple manner. II Thessalonians 1 is broken down into three sections:
The Encouragement of Praise: 2 The. 1:1-4. Paul starts off with normal fashion for one of his letters, a greeting. Paul is praising the Thessalonians due to their faith, love, and patience. Praising them for their faith, love, and patience are all points in fighting against Satan.
Praise builds up and encourages. Job is a great example of praising the Lord during his trials of direct Satanic attack. He said, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” It is hard for Satan to maintain a foothold and gain ground during trials when we continue to praise the Lord, when we continue to lift others up in praise to encourage them in their times of troubles.
Continued faith doesn’t allow our hearts to be moved away from he Lord. Our faith will be tested at some point, and a lot of times, this comes directly at the time of belief. Wiersbe states, “a faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.” We should all expect for trials to come, doubt to creep in, society to sway us from Biblical truth. In fact, these are all specifically stated in Scripture that they will occur. Hebrews 11 is a great reference where men and women who trusted in the Lord had trials, but their faith grew and stood the test.
Continued love doesn’t allow our hearts to grow cold, but it keeps our focus outward as a testimony. In fact, what is the opposite of love? Hate. Jesus specifically warned against hate. In fact, He said to hate is the same as murder. Love is a foundation and expectation of a fruitful believer. Verse 3 praises the Thessalonians in not only did they love, but their love was abounding. What a blessing that is, and a testimony for us a church.
Increasing patience is a difficult one, at least for me. I am not a patient person. Patience only comes through suffering. In order to learn to be patient, you have to be pressed to exercise patience. That can manifest in many different ways. It could simply be patience with your children when they test you. It could be patience when conducting a menial task that isn’t going right. It can also be patience in the Lord through trials of many sorts as our faith and love is put to the test. God is faithful to not waste our trials that test us. We can read an encouragement to this in II Corinthians 4:15-18 and James 1:1-5.
The praise we give both to the Lord during trials and the encouragement to others during their trials that produces faith, love and patience all works toward the testimony we have toward others. It is the fruit that others can see that we are truly changed by Jesus. As much as it is great to receive this during our sufferings, we must ensure we give it to others during theirs. Wiersbe states, “we are not to be cisterns that receive and keep, but channels that receive and share.”