1 Thessalonians 3: 6 – 13 Timothy’s encouraging report
But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
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“How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?”
That’s a very strong word. It’s stronger than pleasure, stronger than happiness, stronger than delight. There is a sense that things are exactly as they should be.
And yet Paul, who is writing this letter, is being persecuted. Furthermore, the people to whom he is writing are being persecuted; the Thessalonian church is facing temptation and attack.
We can expect opposition. We shouldn’t be surprised if opposition becomes persecution. When that happens, we can take the words of Paul as applying to us: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else.”
It really is the case that the only answer to hostility, attack and persecution is love – for each other – and for everyone else (including those carrying out the persecution).
Thank you for all you are teaching me. Please help me to put what I learn into practice, to do your will.
In Jesus’ name, Amen