Week 3: 1 Thessalonians 3:7

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.

Biblical Friendship

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).”

The Gift of Self-Control

lysaI am coming to realize my need for self-control. It keeps me from flying off the handle at anyone and everyone. I am noticing it is a daily thing that spares me from unnecessary situations and consequences that I desperately want to avoid.

Self-control.  Just like God’s grace, it is something God uses to hold me together—even in my most broken of places.

Life in general can make us lash out even at those we love. Sometimes, we may even feel like they somehow deserve it. It doesn’t make our actions any less important. It doesn’t even excuse what we do. We are still just as accountable to God, than if it just randomly happened with absolutely no trigger.

What are our triggers that make us lack self-control?
Can you list two to three triggers?

Think of your last few days. It doesn’t take too long to
recall of an instance where you almost forgot about the gift that God
through His Holy Spirit has given you—self-control.

Can’t think of anything?
Wait until you finish reading this post, and
life comes at you in a matter of minutes.

Take note of those triggers. If you are anything like me, you have many triggers. Not feeling well, emotionally overwhelmed, bad news, what I like to refer to as an introvert crisis, and  much more.

Even though we may almost fly off the handle, we can choose differently. It is because of God and His rich grace, that we can make different choices. It’s by His grace (not ours) that we are saved. We will have our days filled with flaws, where we will say and do things we shouldn’t. It doesn’t excuse those moments, but God’s grace is so rich. We can come boldly to the throne of God and ask for His forgiveness. Right there, we are forgiven.

I can choose to use that gift from God through His Holy Spirit to help me make wiser decisions. It is in these wiser decision-making moments, that I can share God’s grace and aim to be a light to a darkened world.

As I contemplate what I could possibly share from my awareness of God’s gift of self-control in my life, God’s grace is brightly shining in my face as I look past my yesterday’s and look onward toward tomorrow. In God’s rich mercies, I am given so much. Not only am I given much, I can also pass that on and share much. I can choose to listen to others when they interrupt my quiet world. I can choose to pray for someone, instead of screaming my lungs out at them (it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for). I can choose to give love through my actions, versus going through the motions. I can take a step back, so I may offer encouragement—even when I feel like my needs are ignored. I can choose to offer my gifts or time to others, rather than keep them to myself.