Much of life is a test of patience. It’s a test of how well we will love. Paul the apostle knew this and looked to Christ as an example of endurance.
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:1–5. Reflect on 2 Thessalonians 3:4–5:
“And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are both doing and you will do the things that we are commanding. Now may the Lord direct your hearts toward the love of God and toward the patient endurance of Christ” (LEB).
After expressing his confidence that God answers prayers, Paul expresses his confidence in God’s work (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Paul knows that God will work in the hearts of the Thessalonian Christians. They may be suffering. Life may be difficult (2 Thessalonians 1:4). But Christ will answer. The Holy Spirit will work in their lives to strengthen them and transform them.
What’s so incredible is that Paul says this in the midst of his own suffering. He has just finished asking the Thessalonians to pray for him—that he may bring the gospel forward despite opposition (2 Thessalonians 3:1–2).
Paul is confident in God’s great work. Yet he also knows that for God to work in our lives, we have to desire for him to do so. We must direct our hearts toward God’s love. In doing so, we will discover God’s love at work within us—changing us, transforming us, renewing us.
Such actions require patience endurance—which is why Paul tells the Thessalonians to look to “the patient endurance of Christ.” Christ patiently endured his sufferings, with full knowledge of the great things that would come from them (see Matthew 26:36–46; Luke 22–23; compare Isaiah 53:7). May we patiently endure like Christ—looking to God, requesting that he fill us up with his love.
What parts of your life currently lack love—how can God fill them up with his love? What are you enduring right now—in what ways is Christ a helpful example for your context? Drop me a comment, I would love to hear from you.
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