We’ve all had our fair share of identity crises. We question our place in the world. For Paul the apostle, Jesus offered complete clarity. And this clarity changed absolutely everything about his life.
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:1–12. Reflect on 2 Thessalonians 1:1–2:
“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (ESV).
Paul and his colleagues Timothy and Silvanus (also called Silas) open their second letter to the Christians at Thessalonica by reminding them of their identity. Paul and his colleagues hope that the grace and peace of God the Father and Jesus is residing in the lives of the Thessalonians.
While these comments can seem standard—Paul opens many letters in a similar way—these opening lines would have meant a great deal to the Thessalonian Christians.
The church at Thessalonica had experienced great persecution (2 Thessalonians 2:2; compare Acts 17:1–9; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2:14; 3:3–4). To endure, they needed to hold onto the promise and hope of Jesus. Paul writes with this great promise in mind—that Jesus will return and will offer justice to all (2 Thessalonians 1:5–6). He writes with the grace and peace of Christ in mind.
If we’re honest with ourselves, the identity crisis many of us experience is because we forget who God really is. We neglect to remember the great hope of Christ Jesus. In the midst of life’s difficulties, we lose sight of who Jesus is. We forget that we must make an active effort to embrace the grace Jesus offers us. We must actively seek the peace of Christ in our hearts.
Peace is hard won. Grace is difficult to embrace. But Jesus offers both—freely. We must firmly root our identity in Christ—despite what pain and difficulties may come our way. This is how we overcome and identity crisis, by remembering that our identity is firmly rooted in our Maker.
What matters surrounding your identity are you struggling with—and how can the grace and peace of Jesus help redefine these struggles? How can you actively embrace the grace and peace of Jesus each day?
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