Do you find following Jesus easy or difficult?
Paul wrote a second letter to the Thessalonian church and here we have it. It starts just as the vast majority of Pauls’ letters do, with a greeting and then with thankfulness. In the last letter he told them how their faith, love and hope had led them to do some amazing things and how the Gospel was ringing out through the ancient world because of it – lives were totally transformed because of what they were doing to live out their faith. But here, it things seems to be even better. The love they have for one another is increasing.
But life isn’t all a piece of cake. They are going through trials and persecution. Things are hard. Somehow, it’s easy to look back at the golden days of the early church and forget that they often really struggled, and living life differently could be much more dangerous then than it might be for us in England today. They still chose to live out their faith despite all the persecution, despite all that was going on around them.
It’s hard to compare from the comfort of our own lives, but I wonder whether we’ve ever had to make the choice to live in faith anyway. To decide we’re going to keep on following Jesus, even when people don’t agree with us, or support us. To decide we’re going to live lives honouring God when all around us are pressures to do things that quite frankly, don’t honour him or his creation. To keep on keeping on, believing and trusting in God despite being laughed at or bullied or being the only one in our class or in our friends.
The Thessalonians made a huge difference to the people around and about them in because they decided to keep following Jesus, however hard it might be each and every day. Just imagine what difference we might make around us!
Lord God, thank you that you have done so much for us. Help us to keep on following you despite hard times, pressures or difficulties. Help us make a difference where we are because of our love for you. Amen.
Why not pray today for Christians around the world facing trials and persecutions.