HIDE OR BEAR DOWN?
We give thanks to God for you, constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. I Thess. 1:2-3
What do you do when you’re persecuted? Run and hide? Engage in all out self-preservation? What would you do if your life were in danger because your witness for Christ had reached the desks of someone powerful in authority? Would you lay low until you were sure they had forgotten you? It would be tempting, wouldn’t it?
What would your expectation be of a brand new believer? If you led your neighbor to Christ, bought her a Bible, and knew she was reading the book of I John everyday for 15 minutes, how much would you worry about her if you knew something traumatic had happened to her? Probably a lot. You might fear that she will cave under the pressure and second guess her decision to trust Christ.
Paul’s words in his letter to the Thessalonians are pretty mind blowing. They rehearse the fact that these Christians are new converts. And, the letter validates that these people, precious to Paul, are in danger. They are enduring the same persecution Paul faces because they have aligned themselves with Jesus Christ. But Paul does not hear that they have retreated in fear, nor are they discouraged. Amazing! What are they doing? 1.) Performing acts of faith 2.) Laboring in love 3.) Holding fast to Christ, who is their hope.
Someone close to me wrote this morning and said, “It’s a new day. Tighten up!” Well said. When dusk comes, may I look back and know that I took God up on His offer of grace to labor in love and stand fast in my faith. May it be said that I clung to the hope of Christ’s return instead of some empty platitude. “It’ll be okay” accompanied by a pat on the shoulder does nothing to make me feel better when it’s offered outside of scripture. Never has Jesus appearing seemed to be so close on the horizon. Hope is rock solid.
Loving others, even in my storm, proves that my faith in You is real. Knowing You’re coming back, Jesus, and that you love me is my fuel. Amen