(1 Thessalonians 3) – A discipler’s joy!
Paul had a high value for consistent touches in leadership. He wanted to make sure that those he was leading received the encouragement and strengthening they needed. (2,5)
He did this even to his own detriment (1)
It was a way of continually preparing them for what God was planning for them. (4)
Suffering is a part of God’s plan for the believer. He uses it as a means of refining and shaping us into His image. (3)
But Paul also knew that the enemy wanted to use suffering to discourage them. His sending of Timothy was a way of providing truth-reinforcement to shepherd them in a godly direction. (2,5)
And he was so pleased to find this church standing firm in the midst of tribulation. What’s amazing is that the encouragement Paul was hoping to give them was returned to him because of the strength of their faith.
Strong faith is encouraging to those who are watching. It helps others to look at their own lives and increase courage and endurance to keep going.
As someone who gets the privilege of shepherding young people consistently in a local church, I think of Paul’s heartbeat (9-10) and his prayer (11-13) as a great standard for ministry.
I long so deeply that my students keep growing and love Jesus with all their hearts.
May love be our primary motivator in all that we do, especially towards one another.
God’s love transforms us to love others, and grows us to the end goal He has for us, blameless holiness at the time Jesus returns.