Have you ever been falsely accused? It stings. Honestly, it’s one of the most frustrating things I’ve encountered.
The Apostle Paul knew what this felt like. He had been accused of impure motives regarding the the young Thessalonian church; but, in truth, those people were dear to him and he wanted them to know it. (1 Thess 2:8)
While he was with them preaching, he had labored making tents so as not to be a burden to them in any way. He didn’t profit from them.
Paul was intentional about the example he was setting for them and emphasized how “devoutly and justly and blamelessly” he had behaved among them. (1 Thess 2:10)
He knew (as do we) that much of what he did would be caught by his example as taught from his words.
But Paul was also not reluctant to use words and confront them with truth because he also knew this was part of loving them.
His desire was for their good and part of that was to exhort, comfort and charge them “as a father does his own children” so that they “would walk worthy of God”.(1 Thess 2:11-12)
Again, Paul is emphasizing that loving others includes speaking truth so they might walk worthy of God.
The truth he spoke was the Word of God which effectively works in believers (1 Thess 2:13), not his own opinion or willy, nilly, feel-good, psycho-babble coming from some pulpits today.
Paul didn’t promise them “their best life now” but recognized that they were suffering persecution because of their faith.
And then, Paul mentions he knows they are suffering persecution from their own countrymen (2 Thess 2:14).
Those they had respected, the ones they had grown up hearing teach in the temples, the religious Jews among them were the harshest critics of those who had come to believe in the Messiah.
But Paul wanted those believers to remember, and be encouraged, that they were the ones pleasing God and not the religious leaders who were criticizing them. (I Thess 2:15)
These truths would help the persecuted church continue to walk worthy of the God who had called them into His Kingdom and glory (1 Thess 2:12)
And friend, those same truths will help us too, in this day, where those who seek to follow Christ are increasingly criticized.
- Live truth as defined in the Word of God.
- Encourage others by speaking truth from the Word of God.
- Expect persecution, and even from those who call themselves “religious”.
- Continue to live to please God rather than men, and we will walk worthy of the One who has called us.
Our God is good. Let’s live for Him! He has us! Always!