Heavenly Father, I come to spend time in your Word today—to spend time with you. Help me to sense your presence and hear your voice.
Read 1 THESSALONIANS 2:13–20
13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.[a]
Paul’s Longing to See the Thessalonians
17 But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
- 1 Thessalonians 2:16 Or them fully
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Consider the miraculous ways God’s Word has impacted your life.
I’m responsible for our household laundry. Frequently, I have to use a stain remover for blotches of tea, blood, or chocolate. The instructions are to spray the stain and let it work. This reminds me of Paul’s description of the Word of God being ‘at work’ in you who believe (v. 13). The phrase is used throughout the New Testament to refer to God’s activity among people and it’s from a related Greek noun that we get the English word ‘energy.’1 It’s amazing that the words we read in Scripture or hear preached can become ‘the Word of God’ to us, acting with energy and power to transform our lives and open our hearts to his truth. A friend recently described to me how he came to faith, hearing a preacher describe Jesus as like a parachute, saving him from falling. Through those human words, my friend heard and received the Word of God, which transformed his whole perception and life.
God’s Word was ‘at work’ in the Thessalonians as well. First, like my friend, they turned to ‘the living and true God.’2 Second, they received gifts of faith, love, and hope in Christ, which emerged in their work and endurance.3 Third, they suffered persecution (v. 14). (Paul digresses in verses 14–16 to criticize the Jews for persecuting the Judean churches and so trying to derail God’s plan for salvation. This language doesn’t license anti-Semitism, however—Paul loved his people and longed for them to accept Christ.)4 Do you find it challenging that Paul considers the Thessalonians’ suffering to be evidence of God’s Word working in them? This is no prosperity gospel. Much of the church, then and now, has discovered that, when God’s activity meets opposition, persecution is often the result.
What are the ways God has used your words to make a difference in the lives of others?
Lord God, thank you for those life-saving words that brought me salvation. Give me vision to share words of life with others who need to hear them.
Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by kingstar