a devotional response to I Thessalonians 1:9-10
I Thessalonians 1: 9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
The believers in the Thessalonian church were people who had come out of paganism to Christ. They had families and jobs and worries and friendships. They were people. But their humanness did not stop them from following Christ. In fact, their faith was visible even in the murkiness of the pagan culture.
Paul took joy in the reality of the faith of the Thessalonians. In Thessalonians 1:9-10 he notes three actions that he observed.
- They turned to God. This seems simple, but it really isn’t. By turning TO God they turned FROM the idolatry and sensual practices that permeated their culture and their own lives. This action could have caused families to divide, friends to turn away, and even loss of livelihood. There is no mention of these things here, because they were committed to following God. They lived the description found in II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
- They began to serve the living and true God. The actions of their new lives revolved around God’s truth and God’s way. This was not an idle lifestyle, but one that sought out areas of need – a lifestyle of service. They served each other and their community. They supported evangelism efforts through their giving. Their lives gave evidence of a new purpose.
- They were looking for and anticipating the return of Christ. He was their hope, their motivation, their destiny. Their eyes were no longer focused just on this life; they were looking toward eternity.
As I read these two verses, I have to ask myself three questions. Perhaps you can ask yourself as well.
- Is my faith in God visible to those around me, or does my lifestyle still closely resemble the priorities of this world?
- How am I serving Christ today – not past accomplishments – but this day? How observant am I of where God is working? Do I notice and address the needs in lives around me?
- Is my heart fixed on the certainty of Christ’s return? Does this motivate me (Titus 2:11-14) and give me hope (I John 3:1-3)?
Two verses packed full of challenge for me. The three actions seem simple but living it out each day is a full-time endeavor.