The good news of Jesus is empowering. When we see others who are living its message, against all odds, we should emulate them. And in doing so, we ourselves may become people worthy of emulation. This is the message of Paul the apostle in 1 Thessalonians.
Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1–10. Reflect on 1 Thessalonians 1:4–7:
“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia” (ESV).
Paul, along with his coauthors Timothy and Silvanus (also called Silas), tells the Thessalonian church about the power of emulating others (1:1, 4). From Paul and his colleagues, the Thessalonian church learned of the power of the salvation Jesus offers. They also learned what it means to follow Jesus—how to obediently love God and others, no matter what. Paul and his colleagues did not just speak this message, but lived it.
Paul is grateful for the Thessalonian believers because they are doing the same thing he did—holding fast to the gospel during persecution. And they do so with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
Living for Jesus, despite grave circumstances, offers a profound message to others. This example is so powerful that Christians in the entire province of Macedonia knew of the Thessalonian believers. And their reputation had even spread to the bordering province of Achaia.
How can you look beyond your current difficulties to the great work God is doing through your life? Who can you emulate who has this type of faith? What changes can you make today to live a life worthy of imitation?
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