This Sunday we will take a week off from 1 John and look to Titus 3. In Titus 3:3-8, Paul outlines for us the foundation of a Christian testimony. In preparation for that passage, let us spend some time today reflecting along with Paul on the testimony of God’s gracious transformation in the lives of the Thessalonians.
Wednesday, March 4th
Larger Portion of Scripture - 1 Thessalonians 1-2
Focused Passage for Reflection - 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10
Reflecting on the Text:
How well do you know your friends? Are there portions of their history that remain a mystery to you? Do you ever inquire, or are you even curious to know? For some of us, these questions may seem foreign. We don’t think that deeply about others and their stories, preferring instead to simply remain in the moment. Maybe that is because we’ve never learned to “go deeper” to truly know someone.
Over the past several years I’ve had multiple opportunities to go and minister among our missionary partners in South Asia. The work has been a blessing, but I was also been blessed by an unexpected rhythm on one of those trips. During our evening mealtime with the mission team, our leader asked each of us to take an evening and share our Christian testimony. In those moments, I got to know my teammates more deeply and intimately and got to celebrate along with them the work of the Lord in their lives.
Why didn’t I think of that? It was such a simple, beautiful way to get to know one another and to grow in wonder over our creative, redeeming Lord. Many of us don’t think to go that deep, maybe because it's not been modeled for us. But in 1 Thessalonians we do see something of this type of intimate knowing…and this type of gospel-centered celebration.
Paul is writing a letter to the church in Thessalonica. This is a church he planted with many people whom he had the privilege of leading to Christ. He didn’t have to ask their story because he had walked it with them. But he had also heard from others who had been impacted by the Thessalonians and their experience with Christ. So in knowing, and in hearing, Paul prayed prayers of thanksgiving.
It is hard to read this passage without a smile on your face. You can sense Paul’s warmth toward these people. You can hear his care for them. He is clear in attributing the good work in them to the movement of the Holy Spirit applying the Word of God to their lives. He is thankful as he celebrates Christ in them.
Does reading this passage make you want to get to know others and their testimonies? Does it make you want to celebrate along with them the movement of the Spirit bringing them from death to life? Or as Paul writes it, to celebrate that they had "turned from idols to serve the living and true God.” Paul shows us what it looks like to know one another in Christ and to celebrate His work in our lives. Let’s learn from him and celebrate Christ with one another.
Questions for personal reflection:
Have you taken the time to consider what the Lord has done in your life to bring you from darkness to light?
Have you taken the time to ask a friend if they would share the Lord’s work in their life?
If you do not know about the Lord’s work in your life, would you be willing to ask another to guide you?