1 Thessalonians 3:13-20 New International Version (NIV)
3 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.
Timothy’s Encouraging Report
6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
Fri. December 4
Paul delights in the patient, persistent, and steadfast faith of the Thessalonians. What if that was what we delighted in? What if we delighted in the faith of our children the way that we delight in their good grades, success in sports, or success in their work? What if delighted in the faith of our friends the way that we delight in their new house or their new child? What if we delighted in the faith of others in our church or in through the efforts of missionaries around the world? Pastor Tim Keller points out that “religious people find God useful, [while] growing Christians find God beautiful.” There are so many things in this life that “delight” our hearts and draw us from God. We use God as a means to attain other “delights.” Jesus will always forgive us, even when we “delight” in the things that will not save us. Let us delight in the Lord and his salvation. And let us delight in the faith of others!