WE LOVE YOU
Spirit of God, I need You to be my Comforter today. Minister to my spirit as only You can do.
Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1–16
Paul’s Ministry in Thessalonica
2 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children[a] among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9 Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
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.[b]
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.
ReflectIn what areas of your life do you need encouragement and comfort today?
Paul’s language in this passage is tender and warm. Notice how he makes his genuine affection for them clear. He writes of the Thessalonians becoming ‘dear to us’ (8, NRSV), and uses the similes of a mother (7) and father (11) caring for their children to express his sense of closeness and compassion for the Thessalonians.
Love is Paul’s motivation to share the gospel – and his life (8). The two are fully integrated and interdependent, providing us with a model of what it means to express the full nature of God’s Word both in spoken and written language, and actions (9,12). Which do you find comes most naturally to you? How can Paul’s expression of love to the Thessalonians both encourage and challenge you?
The verb ‘dared’ at the beginning of the passage (2, NIV) frames this love with a sense of risk, as well as with an awareness of the opposition and trials that can come with obedience to God. How might God be asking you to step out in order to bring his message to others? Be reassured and emboldened, knowing that the Word of God is ‘at work in you who believe’ (13).
With whom are you sharing your life and the gospel? Let them know of your affection for them, and how you see God’s power at work in their lives.
Jesus, I want to live boldly for You. May Your Word be at work in me.