It’s not often that you hear someone boast about his or her struggles. Instead, people celebrate their successes. For Paul, the only thing worth boasting about was a willingness to endure for the sake of Christ’s work.
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:1–12. Reflect on 2 Thessalonians 1:4:
“Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring” (ESV).
Paul and his colleagues Timothy and Silas (also called Silvanus) celebrated the church at Thessalonica. And this celebration was rooted in the steadfast obedience of the Christians at Thessalonica to Jesus’ cause. Despite great persecution, they were faithful (2 Thessalonians 2:2; compare Acts 17:1–9; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2:14; 3:3–4). They endured.
At any given moment, the Christians at Thessalonica could have walked away from Jesus. They could have decided that faith in Christ was simply not worth the pain and struggle.
If you have sacrificed for Jesus, you’ve faced the same question the Thessalonian Christians did: Is it worth it? When faced with social isolation—and perhaps even physical beatings—the Thessalonian Christians could have given in. Instead, they chose Jesus. They looked beyond current circumstances and saw what God was doing. And they chose to believe in God’s work.
We must look beyond our pain and sacrifices, to what Christ is doing. Jesus is at work in ways we can only imagine. Jesus uses each struggle, each sacrifice, for his glory. If one person comes to Christ because of the sacrifice you make today, is it worth it? Absolutely.
On this side of heaven, we cannot see all that God is doing. This is why faith is required. This is why the only thing worth boasting in is the choices we make for Jesus—especially the choices that are costly.
What sacrifices have you made for Jesus? In what ways can you imagine God using those sacrifices for his glory—to bring people unto him?
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