dailybiblereader2012

Putting God's Word into Practice…

I Thessalonians 2:17-3:13 ~ Faithful in Affliction

on January 9, 2013

This past Sunday our message at church was on Romans 8:18-27, and God really convicted my heart that suffering is normal in our world.  God brought that same theme to my attention again with this passage in 1 Thessalonians 3:3: “That no one be moved by these afflictions.  For you yourselves know that we are destined for this.”

We can be gradually deceived into thinking that suffering is abnormal, unfair, isolated, and undeserved.  Satan uses our suffering to weaken our faith, create doubt in regard to God’s love and wisdom, and to take our eyes off our hope in the Lord by putting them on our circumstances.  Suffering without faith results in bitterness, anger, self-pity, self-focus, isolation, discouragement, despair, a grumbly spirit, and a hateful, critical heart.

In these verses, however, the focus is not only on the afflictions, but even more on the faith in the midst of affliction!  Faith is defined in verse 8 as “standing fast in the Lord.”  Affliction with faith brings joy, encourages others, gives value to hope, evokes thanksgiving, unites us with others in love, and allows Jesus to perfect holiness in us.

We have a choice!  We can focus on our affliction or focus on our faith and God’s love.  Love that sent a sinless Savior into a suffering world to experience our human suffering even to death!  He groaned under the afflictions that sin has caused our world and the sinful condition of man’s heart, but He did it with joy in faith that through His death and resurrection, we would be reconciled to God and be given hope!

Because suffering is a normal part of living in a cursed world with sinful people and because we have an enemy that wants to knock us down, we need to have more “standing fast” faith.  There is no such thing as having too much faith, but there is definitely the danger of having too little.  In these verses, we find several ways to build/grow faith.

  1. By seeing the faith of others in affliction (3:7)
  2. By socializing with others who have strong faith (3:10)
  3. By remembering the hope that Jesus is coming again, and we will live for eternity in His presence (3:13)  These present suffering cannot be compared with the glory to come (Romans 8:18)

Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God.”  Faith is a big deal!  I pray that Jesus cannot say of me, like He said to His disciples, “Oh, you of little faith!”  Lord, help me to grow in faith.

Here is a link to the message I referred to at the beginning.  I pray that you will listen and let God’s Word encourage your heart!

http://narrowroadchurch.com/media.php?pageID=5

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