2 Thessalonians 3
Before there was anything, God was at work... creating light and colors and sunsets and mountains and flowering plants and shooting stars and animals that swim, crawl, walk, hop, and fly. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the WORK OF HIS HANDS.” (Psalm 19:1).
As God looks around after the first several days of creation, He sees there is no one to work the ground. So, He sets out to creates man; a being in His image and likeness. And unlike the other created things, He breathes into the nostrils of the first man and brings him to life. Then God took His new creation and put him in the garden to work it and keep it. We were CREATED for work.
God could have created self-sustaining beings having no need to refuel with water and food. He could have made us to sit around and stare at His creation, feet propped up with no responsibilities. But He didn’t. He designed us with drive and purpose. To use our hands and the creativity that was breathed into us by our Creator. To have a passion for the things He has a passion for. He created us to be part of His unfolding story. We GET TO work.
The Thessalonians Christians find themselves an oppressed and persecuted people. Life is hard, and work is even harder. They believe Jesus is returning any day. As a result, some people decide to quit working. They may even brush it off as a spiritual waiting and watching for Jesus. But we weren’t made to be idle. And as long as we are able, we are to work. When we aren’t living out the calling of God on our lives – whatever our “work” looks like in a given season– we find other things to fill the time. The Thessalonians that have stopped working have started meddling. Paul calls them busybodies. They fill their time concerned with how others are filling their time. And while they’re at it, they ask to be fed and cared for by these same people. Paul admonishes them saying things like, “if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” and “…work quietly and earn your own living.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10,12)
Paul knows that people will take advantage of the generosity of others. And among an already persecuted crew, he knows this can add to the suffering and discouragement. So, Paul is quick to encourage them saying, “do not grow weary in doing good.”
Do you sometimes feel like your work is getting you nowhere? Like you give and give with no returns? Do you sometimes feel taken advantage of? Unnoticed, unappreciated, unrewarded? Don’t give up, friends. Your work is good. There was great need among the Thessalonians thousands of years ago, and there is great need among us today. Never grow weary in doing good. There is a priceless reward awaiting you.
2 Thessalonians 2
Jesus is coming back and all believers will be gathered with Him. Things will get crazy with rebellion and the “man of lawlessness” proclaiming to be God. And then this, “...the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8)
We don’t fully grasp the extent of what is to come, but we know God wins.
Paul is writing to the believers in Thessalonica, who are awaiting Christ’s return. It was roughly 20 years after Jesus’ death on the cross. They were sure Jesus would come in their lifetime. It has now been more than 2,000 years–and we are still waiting.
Waiting is hard! Have you ever waited for something you were sure would come soon? At first, it was probably easy. You were filled with excitement and anticipation. But as time passed, you began to lose hope. You doubted it would ever come to pass. You even second guessed all that you believed. You lost your attention and focus.
Paul reminds us we must STAND FIRM during times of waiting. We must hold to the truths of the gospel. We must look to God’s Word to be our guide, and not what impressive icons, slick advertisements, and celebrities of the day might be telling us with their smooth words and enticing promises.
Our culture is set on steering us away from truth and righteousness, but we must stand firm. God’s truth is the only truth that will lead to life, peace, contentment, and joy. Everything else leads to ultimate suffering and torment. Sweet friends, Jesus is so worth the wait.
God, in the daily grind of trials and troubles, please help me stay focused on You and Your promises. Help me to not be deceived by those wishing to steer me away from Your truth. Help me to stand firm!
This post taken from my post on the @thouartexalted app for tweens/teens going through the New Testament! Such a privileged and honor to be a part of this ministry.
2 Thessalonians 1
In this follow-up letter to the Thessalonians, Paul is giving thanks for several things:
- Their faith is growing abundantly.
- Their love for everyone and one another is increasing.
- The result is their steadfastness and faithfulness in the midst of great persecutions and afflictions they are enduring.
Growing faith + increasing love + ability to remain steadfast in the storms of life. Who doesn’t want that? So, how do we get there?
Charles Spurgeon says, "Do all you can, and then do a little more; and when you can do that, then do a little more than you can. Always have something in hand that is greater than your present capacity. Grow up to it, and when you have grown up to it, grow more."
We don’t have to look at the faith and love of others and think that we could never get there. We don’t have to instantly have great faith and great ability to love well. We just have to do a little now, then a little more. We can strive to start where we are and grow from there. Like a muscle in training, each stretch of faith and act of love makes us stronger for the next bigger one.
Growth doesn’t happen by taking the easiest road. It comes from making hard choices and doing hard things. And then doing it again. Showing up, practicing, repeating, stretching farther each time. It doesn’t happen overnight; it takes work and practice.
It’s easier to sleep in rather than wake up 30 minutes early for quiet time. It’s easier to go home or to happy hour than to go to that Bible study after work. It’s easier to say no to that prayer group invitation than to step into the uncomfortable. It’s easier to worry and try to control than to trust God. But easy doesn’t lead to growth or transformation, and it isn’t very rewarding.
We have to shift our thinking from a destination where we one day achieve faith or love for others; instead, it is a slow and steady growth process. We don’t just have faith and show love. We grow in it, always striving for more through little steps and acts of obedience along the way. Each step gives us the courage to aim higher next time. And as our faith and love muscle grows, so will our ability to stand strong and steady in times of suffering and trials which are sure to come.
The easy thing is to read this, nod in agreement, and then move on. What if instead, we pray earnestly about it, decide on our next faith and love workout – a specific, tangible thing we can do – and then get to work strengthening those muscles?
All 1 1 Corinthians 1 Peter 1 Thessalonians 1 Timothy 2 & 3 John 2 Corinthians 2 Peter 2 Thessalonians 2 Timothy Acts Colossians Ephesians Galatians Hebrews Info James John Jude Luke Mark Matthew Philemon Philippians Revelation Romans TItus