1 Thessalonians 3:2-4
We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted.
You can make a big difference in people’s lives by encouraging them. In our scripture for today, Paul wanted to encourage the Christians in Thessalonica, which was an influential city in the Roman Empire. He did this by sending a young pastor, Timothy, to encourage them. This kept them strong in their dedication to the Lord. Although this was a church troubled by questions, grief, and persecution, the encouragement they received kept them going and growing for Jesus Christ!
1. Paul writes in verse 2 that he sent Timothy to them. Sometimes just the physical presence of another person can encourage and strengthen us. Why do you think this is? How can we encourage others when we are present with them?
2. Paul also mentions in verse 2 that Timothy came to them to, “strengthen and encourage them in their faith.” How can a strong faith in God provide encouragement for those who trust in the Lord?
3. Finally, Paul refers to the trials the Thessalonian believers were going through. He mentions that this is not an accident, but as Christians they were “destined” to be persecuted. It is no accident. God was in control of these things. How can this bring hope and encouragement to our hearts?
1. BE PRESENT TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS. Go, physically, if possible, to those who need encouragement. Be with them. Stand beside them in their trials.
2. ENCOURAGE OTHERS IN THEIR FAITH. Remind people of the strength and power and love of God. Even when we cannot understand why God allows suffering, we still rely upon his heart of love.
3. EXPECT TRIALS TO HAPPEN. After all, we live in a sinful, fallen world. So suffering is to be expected. But, “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world,” (1 John 4:4). We can have victory in Jesus!
Dear Lord Jesus, please encourage my heart with your presence, as I encourage others with my presence. Encourage me with your Word, as I encourage others with my words. And stand with me in your strength, even as I stand with others in your strength. Encourage all our hearts we pray, AMEN.