When we merely see what’s right in front of us, it’s easy to be discouraged. We regularly need to stop and look beyond current circumstances; we need to ponder the eternal. This is the principle Paul the apostle focused on in his second letter to the suffering Christians at Thessalonica.
Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13–17. Reflect on 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17:
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (NIV).
In this section of 2 Thessalonians, Paul aims to help the Christians at Thessalonica look beyond their current circumstances. Rather than focusing on their intense persecution and some practical tips for dealing with it, Paul looks to some theological principles (2 Thessalonians 1:4). That’s because Paul understood that a proper theology would naturally lead to proper life principles. Practical steps come out of a practical belief in Jesus.
For Paul, salvation in Jesus is an eternal encouragement. It has significance far beyond the present moment. It carries us through anything and everything that can possibly come our way.
Hope is a strong word. With just a little hope, anything is possible. Hope can inspire us to change absolutely everything about our lives. But we tend to relegate the hope of Christ in our lives. We make it merely a theological principle when it should guide our daily actions—inspiring us to change our deeds and words. It should make us seriously consider each and every moment of our lives, asking ourselves if we’re truly living in the freedom of Christ in every way possible.
The eternal encouragement that is salvation in Jesus is all the hope we need. Our world is desperately in need of this hope. It can change everything. And by everything, I mean everything.
What parts of your life are currently in need of hope? How does the eternal encouragement that is Jesus change your perspective on even the most difficult of matters? Drop me a comment, I would love to hear from you.
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