Since January, I have been in a study of the apostle Peter and have been reading his letters to the "exiles", those who had been scattered because of the message of Christ. One phrase he uses over and again in the first letter, is "to this you were called", when he addresses the subject of suffering for doing good.
The message of our lessons this week rang again in my heart as we discussed "Destined for This"
" 1Thessalonians 3:5 ESV
Destined for What?
Affliction, despair, persecution, hindrances and obstacles...
To this you were called.
Hear what Paul wrote to the Corinthians in this regard:
2 Corinthians 4:8-12 ESV
We learned in this weeks lessons that Paul was in Corinth when he wrote the letters to the Thessalonians. He reminded them of the sufferings they would endure for the sake of the gospel and had, indeed, suffered. BUT he did not want them to be discouraged because of it and loose faith.
Was Paul struggling to keep the faith?
I believe this is a valid question to ask. After all, he was a common man not unlike the rest of us. When life gets tough, we begin to question the path of life we are on. When our faith is challenged by Affliction, Despair, Persecution, Hindrances, Obstacles... we begin to question and stumble in our faith as well, do we not?
But Paul held fast to his faith...held fast. Hear what he also wrote:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV
The prevailing questions that I keep asking myself this week:
What is the "hindrance" that I am facing in
my walk of Faith?
What is it that keeps trying to get me to
QUIT THE RACE?
I will tell you one thing that I am currently enduring and it is not really that huge in light of what Paul and his companions faced.
Being unable to get a good night's sleep affects the body in many ways. Depression, fatigue, fuzzy thinking (some say that about me on a good day!), and other physical symptoms of just wanting to GIVE UP and not get things done.
It would be easy to give in and not press on in my faith, my call to lead others to worship by seeking Him in the Word. Because I am just too tired. And would rather sit and stare at the wall than to get up and move forward in health and wellness and to seek to accomplish what is before me. It would be easy.
Yet will I trust him. I will say it again... He is Worthy and He is Worth it. Even in the middle of a day where I would rather just go back to bed and sleep on this beautiful rainy day.... I am pressing on.
Chances are you are facing some sort of hindrance too... If Paul could endure and continue to walk on in his faith, persevering through all that he encountered in order to share the gospel of Christ, WE can too.
Now it's your turn to review the week:
DAY 1: Why did Satan hinder them from getting back to the
Thessalonians? What do you think Satan was
seeking to prevent by keeping them apart? (p 65)
DAY 2: Exactly how did Paul go about proclaiming the
kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning
the Lord Jesus Christ? (p 69)
DAY 3: What was Timothy sent to Thessalonica to do?
DAY 4: By what did Paul no want the Thessalonians to be
moved? (p 72)
DAY 5: What profound change in the language of prayer is
first introduced in 1 Thessalonians 3:11? (p 81)
DAY 1: What examples illustrate the dangers of "legalism"
and "license"? (p 65)
DAY 2: Which of the equations on page 70-71 (including
your own additions) speak to you most personally
and specifically? (p 71)
DAY 3: Do you ever feel like all the planning has flown the
coop and you're just reacting? Describe a time you
felt that way. (p 76)
DAY 4: What maladies come to mind at the mention of the
word "affliction"? (p 77)
DAY 5: What does the possibility that Paul may have
dictated some of his letters through Silas contribute
to your understanding of their relationship? (p 83)