And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit

The theme of the Thessalonians receiving Jesus despite affliction and suffering really struck me in chapters 1-3. It comes up again in 2:13-14 and 3:2-4.

I’m not sure what these afflictions were, but they send Timothy to check up on them to make sure, “no one be moved by these afflictions” and out of “fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain”.

Surely discomfort, pain, affliction, suffering, weakness, and hardship have ruined a number of spiritual lives. You can read Matthew 13:20-21 to see that this is the rocky soil that causes the once promising seed to fall away and die.

As I think and ponder why this happens, I’m pretty sure it is because satan speaks lies about comfort. About security. About safety. He tells us they are worth having to forsake Jesus for. Those things now are better than eternity without God.

When I look at it that way it’s clear how deceitful that actually is. Paul says in Romans 8:18, “For I consider the the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Quite a different perspective.

Lord, help us to suffer well now when our time comes. It is not a matter of if, but when, “for we are all destined for this” as Paul tells his readers. Help me to see through the lie of comfort and ease and security to find joy in you in the midst of struggle and pain. Help us to see your glory and worth so that you are treasured more than anything on this earth. So that having you is worth embracing affliction in this world.

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