FIRST THINGS FIRST
2 THESSALONIANS 1:2-5 NKJ
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;
In Paul's second letter to the Thessalonian Church, he addresses some doctrinal challenges that have raised their ugly heads.
But before that, he commends this church for what they are doing right.
Often the things on our heart are the first things we mention, and Paul seems to be no exception.
He is thanking God because their faith is growing, and their love is evident. He is actually boasting to other churches about the Thessalonians' perseverance and faith in all that they are enduring. They were in the middle of difficult times, and Paul is thanking God for how they are conducting themselves.
It appears that to the apostle Paul how the church handled persecution and trouble was the top priority. Getting past the persecution and trouble was secondary. Paul mentions something he wrote about in his first letter, being counted worthy of the kingdom of God. This young church was continuing to grow in their faith and love despite the problems they were encountering. This growth and strength of character is what pleased Paul the most. And because Paul was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, this faith and love, and perseverance were important to God. Paul will address the doctrinal error a bit later, but the most important things come first.
As I am writing this, I am thinking about the pandemic of 2020 that carried over to this year. My focus as a pastor was, hey, we're going to get through this. But maybe I should have emphasized that it's important that we come through but more important how we come through. That's on me. We are all learning and growing
First things first. Not that we go through trouble in this life, but how we handle the adversity when it comes. We want our faith to grow. We want to walk in the unselfish God kind of love to those in our world. We want to stay in the fight and not quit. We want to walk worthy of God's kingdom. We want to put kingdom priorities first.
Help me grow through my troubles and handle them in a way that honors You. I believe I will overcome, so I will act in such a way that indicates I live on the winning side.