Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5
“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.“
Devotional: Trusting God in Trials
In this passage from 2 Thessalonians, we see the commendation of the Thessalonian believers for their perseverance and faith in the midst of persecutions and trials. They serve as an example to other churches of how to handle difficult circumstances with love, encouragement, and unwavering faith.
It is natural for us to desire a life free from trials, persecution, and criticism. However, as followers of Christ, we are called to do what is right, even if it means facing challenges. Our response to trials can have a profound impact on our relationship with God and our ability to glorify Him.
Embrace Trials as Opportunities for Growth: Instead of avoiding or resenting trials, we should view them as opportunities for spiritual growth. The Thessalonian believers demonstrated this by allowing their faith to grow stronger amidst persecution. Let us adopt a similar mindset and trust that God can use our trials to shape us into the image of Christ.
Love and Encourage One Another: The Thessalonian believers stood out not only for their perseverance but also for their love and encouragement towards one another. In times of trials, let us be intentional about loving and supporting our fellow believers. By doing so, we can be a source of strength and inspiration to others, just as the Thessalonians were.
Recognize God’s Perfect Judgment: The passage reminds us that God’s judgment is right and just. It is not our own opinions or standards that matter, but God’s perfect standard of goodness. We must humbly acknowledge our imperfections and our need for a Savior.
Embrace Trials with Faith: Instead of running away from trials, choose to face them with faith and trust in God’s sovereignty. Seek His guidance and strength to persevere through difficult times.
Show Love and Encouragement: Look for opportunities to love and encourage fellow believers who may be going through trials. Offer a listening ear, a word of encouragement, or practical support. Let your actions reflect the love of Christ.
Reflect on God’s Perfect Judgment: Take time to reflect on the perfection of God’s judgment and our need for a Savior. Recognize that it is only through Jesus Christ that we can be counted worthy of the kingdom of God. Surrender your life to Him and trust in His sacrifice for your sins.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of the Thessalonian believers who demonstrated unwavering faith and perseverance in the face of trials. Help us to embrace trials as opportunities for growth and to trust in Your perfect judgment. Fill us with Your love and encouragement, that we may be a source of strength to others. May our lives bring glory to Your name. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen
Podcast Transcript: Discover the Key to Perseverance
Here we are, the second letter to the Thessalonians. In chapter 1, it starts off by reminding them that they’re going through these persecutions, but they are an example of how to handle that. They have done so well with loving one another through it, and encouraging one another through it, and just persevering through all the trials and tribulations, through their faith, through sharing their faith that they have, that they’ve gone through, and they are an example to other churches. And that’s got to be tough.
Thankfulness for Faith and Love
Starting in verse three, we ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches, we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. I mean, nobody really wants to sign up for that. I don’t want to be an example because of all the trials I go through and how I handle them. But God does work through those, and we are going to experience trials and persecution through our life. I don’t want to spend my life avoiding persecution, avoiding criticism, or avoiding trials. I want to do what’s right. And along with that will come trials. And how I handle those? with grace and humility and in a way that God can use to impact the kingdom and something that glorifies Him. Because that’s what my life’s about. I want my life to honor God in all that I do and all that I say.
Sharing Faith and Impacting Others
Part of the reason why I’m doing this podcast, I do, I just want to share my faith more and I want to be open more about it. And this has helped me just articulate some of the things going on in my head and when I’m in the Word. Just through this already, I haven’t done this very long. I’ve already been getting some feedback from people. I haven’t, you know, it’s worldwide, right? So in another country, I got people that are reading what I’m saying, listening to what I’m saying, and they’re having a hard time with it.
God’s Judgment and Justice
In verse eight, it says, he will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destructions and a shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power. on the day he comes to be glorified in his people and to marvel at all those who have believed. This includes you because you believe their testimony to you.” Now in this, there’s a section in here where it talks about him judging. I think it’s in verse five. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right. And as a result, you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which you are suffering. God is just. God is just. It’s the beginning of verse six.
A Good Person? Really?
I can understand why people think that they are a good person, that they deserve to go to heaven when they die. I think it’s natural for us to believe that we are good people. I mean, I thought that for a long time. I’m a good person. But it’s how do we articulate that or how have we come to that conclusion that we are good? Because good is depending on the standard you use. I mean, you can say, yeah, I think that pizza was good. And I could say, no, that pizza wasn’t good. And it’s based on a matter of opinion on what I consider good and what I don’t consider good. And at the end of the day, my opinion doesn’t really matter. It’s God’s opinion that matters on what’s good. And it’s obvious when you get to know God that God is perfect in all of His ways. And so, to God, what is good? It would be impossible for anything to be good that is not perfect. That can be tough to accept, but how would a perfect being accept anything good that’s not perfect?
What it Takes to Enter God’s Presence
At the end of the day, when our life is done, it’s not about whether we’ve been good or not, whether we can live in God’s presence. It is whether or not we have been perfect. Because God, even in these verses, describes him as judge and he is just. Since when does a perfect judge not punish someone who has committed a crime? If somebody’s committed a crime, even in the American justice system, they don’t ask how much good stuff you’ve done in your life. Because that’s irrelevant. You can be good your whole life, and then if you commit this crime, there are consequences to this crime. And that is what sin is in our life. It is a rebellion from God. It is deciding to live a way that God doesn’t want us to live. And to Him, that’s not good. And it’s a rebellion. And if He comes, and when we go before Him, when our life is done, we have to sit on the judgment seat of all the things that we have done wrong, that we have rebelled against God for and he’s going to judge it and he’s going to judge it perfectly because he is a perfect judge and he is just in doing so. He would be unjust to allow us to not pay for the things that we’ve done wrong. No matter how insignificant that it seems to us, a perfect judge that is just must punish all wrongs that have ever happened.
And he’s the creator of the universe And his wrath is greater than our wrath. And his judging is perfect. So, that leaves us with being in a lot of trouble. Because scripture even tells us that nobody’s perfect. So, everybody’s going to sit there and going to be judged and everybody’s going to suffer the wrath of God. And that’s why Jesus was necessary. There was no other way possible. God’s wrath had to be quenched for all the wrongs that have happened. So through all of his love that he has for us, he sent his son to live a perfect life, sinless, blameless, and to die and to go before him and to be judged for all those who would accept him and let him volunteer to take their place on the judgment seat. So that we can go before God blameless because Jesus has died is taking our sins on his shoulder, has been judged for our sins, has suffered God’s wrath in our stead, so that we wouldn’t have to. That is a gift that has been given, but is not forced to be accepted. Either Jesus has suffered and paid for your sins, or you will, upon the day that you die, you go before the judge and suffer for what you’ve done.