Paul Remembers His Visit
2 You yourselves know, dear brothers and sisters,[a] that our visit to you was not a failure. 2 You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, in spite of great opposition. 3 So you can see we were not preaching with any deceit or impure motives or trickery.
4 For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. 5 Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money! 6 As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.
7 As apostles of Christ we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but instead we were like children[b] among you. Or we were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children. 8 We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.
9 Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you. 10 You yourselves are our witnesses—and so is God—that we were devout and honest and faultless toward all of you believers. 11 And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. 12 We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.
13 Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.
14 And then, dear brothers and sisters, you suffered persecution from your own countrymen. In this way, you imitated the believers in God’s churches in Judea who, because of their belief in Christ Jesus, suffered from their own people, the Jews. 15 For some of the Jews killed the prophets, and some even killed the Lord Jesus. Now they have persecuted us, too. They fail to please God and work against all humanity 16 as they try to keep us from preaching the Good News of salvation to the Gentiles. By doing this, they continue to pile up their sins. But the anger of God has caught up with them at last.
Timothy’s Good Report about the Church
17 Dear brothers and sisters, after we were separated from you for a little while (though our hearts never left you), we tried very hard to come back because of our intense longing to see you again. 18 We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us. 19 After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! 20 Yes, you are our pride and joy.
Let me share some thoughts from a few devotionals I read this week
Here’s that familiar word walk that Scripture often uses to describe our journey in life with God. From the very beginning, before their little apple rebellion, God enjoyed walking in the garden with Adam and Eve, and He wants to walk with us today. A walk is simply how we live our lives every day, through practical daily actions. An authentic believer lives the life of a servant, and lives at peace with other servants. Cowboy philosopher Will Rogers said it this way, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your talking parrot to the town gossip.”
This verse tells us that God calls us “into His own kingdom and glory.” We are reminded throughout Scripture that God calls us both from something and to something. We are called from labor to rest in Matthew 11:28. We are called from death to life in 1 John 3:14. We are called from bondage to liberty in Galatians 5:13 and from darkness to light in 1 Peter 2:9. Our God is constantly calling us to new, higher ground because our walk is never to become static but constantly dynamic and changing for the good. Of course we will never arrive while we are in these bodies, but we are called to walk like the children of God we really are now.
There is a story about a group of tourists visiting a picturesque but tiny English village. They walked around the square and up to an old man sitting beside a fence. In a patronizing way, one tourist asked, “Tell us, were any great men born in this village?” The old man replied, “Nope, only babies.” That is true about all believers, we are all born again as babies.
A Christian should be more concerned with the development of personal character, growing in grace, maturing in the faith and the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit, than engaging in a ministry of activities – however valuable it may seem to us or to others. The latter can only flow from the former.
Paul’s challenge to the believers at Thessalonica was to walk worthy of God’s call on their lives. He urged them to live in a manner that was worthy of God, Who calls each one of us into His kingdom and glory. The message Paul taught, combined with his own personal life-style, was a living example of a worthy walk before God. Paul exemplified a man living to honour the Lord and reflecting the character of God.
It is only when we are willing to admit that without Christ’s sufficient strength we can do nothing… that He empowers us through the indwelling Spirit of Christ. It is only as we confess we can do nothing in our own strength that we receive the sufficient grace to walk worthily before Him! It is only as we understand that we can do all through Christ, because HE strengthens us, that we can walk in a manner that is worthy of God – Who calls us into His own kingdom and glory.
Let us seek to walk in a manner that is worthy of our calling as children of God. May our personal character and conduct give honour to His holy name for in His grace He has called us out of the kingdom of darkness, into His own heavenly kingdom and glory. Praise His holy name.