I grew up in a Christian home. We were “that” family—at church every time the doors were open. I found great solace in my faith, but also in certain traditions that came along with growing up in church. I vividly remember the large, stained glass window with the picture of Jesus in the center, the powerful words to the hymns, and the late nights spent reading my Bible in my closet after everyone was asleep. Each was a great encouragement in times of distress, bringing comfort and a constant reminder of the love of Christ.
- What traditions or practices do you look to when you need encouragement or a reminder of God’s love?
READ THE WORD: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 (ESV)
13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by spoken word or by letter. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
- To what did Paul call the Thessalonians through the gospel (vs. 13)? What did he say they were to obtain (vs. 14)?
- What did Paul encourage them to do in verse 15?
- What did Paul pray that Jesus and God the Father would do for the Thessalonians?
- Why might Paul have thought these believers needed encouragement?
- Has there been a time when you were encouraged by another believer to “stand firm” in your faith? How were you encouraged? Who do you need to encourage and pray for today?
RESPOND TO GOD
In previous verses, Paul warned the Thessalonians about deception and a man of lawlessness, which made them uneasy, and rightly so. In two short verses, however, Paul eloquently reminded the believers that they were loved, chosen, saved, sanctified, and called according to the gospel. He then prayed for comfort and strength for them. There are times in our lives when we feel worried or uneasy and need to be reminded of who God is. We can be encouraged that he is for us and chose us to be his own.
- Thank God for his unconditional love, saving grace, comfort, and strength.
- Thank him for those he has brought to encourage you in your faith.
- Ask him for an opportunity to encourage someone else to stand firm.