Welcome, my friends, to week 3 of our study! I am so glad you are here. Thank you for taking a few moments out of your day to read today’s blog entry in your email or possibly on the website. You will not regret taking this time to invest in your relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He is the source of all hope and comfort.
The Scripture –
While I am limited in sharing at this moment due to circumstances, I want to be able to share with you our new weekly memory verse.
In the middle of our trouble and hard times here, just knowing how you’re doing keeps us going. Knowing that your faith is alive keeps us alive (1 Thess. 3:7, MSG).
The Truth Revealed –
As I face my own troubles, I can relate a bit with Paul. Honestly, the great “longing exchange” (where the longing for a close friend is mutual) is a tremendous comfort in hard times. When you are in desperate need and alone, quality companionship is one of the top desires one troubled friend could have.
When we are going through hard times, we just need someone to be there for us. . . someone who will lead us straight to Jesus Christ. It’s the exact medicine we need.
We learn a few things about Paul and the Thessalonians –
- Paul’s Heart: Longed for the Thessalonians, and bombarded with troubles.
- The Thessalonians’ Heart: Longed for Paul, and continually sought Christ. . . resulting in much spiritual growth even during persecution.
- Resulting in much comfort, especially for Paul in his time of need.
Hearing others’ stories of faith in Christ makes everything much better. While the circumstances may not change, our heart are uplifted versus drowning. Our perspective changes – because we receive comfort from friends. . . friends who treat our friendship in a godly way. Encouraging us to keep pressing into Jesus, praying over our circumstances, and helping us to hold onto our faith in Jesus and His Good News.
While we may not choose our times of suffering, God can use this time to be encouraged (or encourage others) by others’ faith and show us the kind of friends we have (or are).
The Thessalonians and Paul had biblical friendships. They sought the Lord Jesus to be honored in their lives. They wanted to help encourage one another, pray together, and continue to live out their faith in Christ.
Biblical friendships are hard to find, but are what makes the lasting change in our spiritual lives.
Jonathan and David are a classic example of biblical friendship (see 1 Samuel 23:15-18). They loved each other in a godly friendship; Jonathan made sure to be there when David needed him the most (click here to listen to a sermon on the topic). Likewise, the Thessalonians would have send word back conveying how much they care for Paul and miss him.
Biblical friendships make the difference in our Christian walk, and an important tool in our transformation.
“[Thessalonians’] steadfastness was a great source of comfort to [Paul] in his trials. . . In the inevitable trials of the ministerial office there is no source of comfort more rich and pure than this (Albert Barnes Commentary).”