Verse: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-2
You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.
Sometimes we can slip into reading the Bible like it’s detached from our real life, about something that happened long ago and far away. That kind of reading can limit how much God can speak to us through his word. When we read these two verses, it can feel like it’s just about Paul’s travels, and the opposition to his preaching. However, we can ask the Holy Spirit to show us how we fit into this story.
Obviously most of us haven’t been “treated outrageously” for preaching the gospel. But I wonder how many of us have felt “on the outside” for our beliefs? How many of us have felt tension in relationships because we follow Jesus? How many of us have even been left out, not invited, and excluded from friend groups or get togethers because people don’t want us messing up a good time?
Has any of that ever happened to you? This is where these verses come alive in our lives! In the face of whatever opposition we may face, will we dare to live for Jesus as Paul “dared to tell” the gospel?
Living for Jesus takes determination and perseverance. We will all face our own “opposition” and at times be treated poorly because of our beliefs. Increasingly this culture is antagonistic towards Christians, as I am sure you have felt in your life. All of this is an opportunity though. It’s an opportunity for us to dare to live for Jesus no matter what. It’s an opportunity for us to shine the light in the darkness. It’s an opportunity for us to live “against the grain” to love those who speak poorly of us, to bless those who look down on us, and pray for those who mistreat us. I heard a pastor once say that Christianity thrives on the margins. The more we are looked down upon, the better we get. Let that be true in our lives as we dare to live lives for Jesus.
I pray for courage. I pray that you would give me the determination and perseverance to not give up in the face of opposition to my faith.
Author: Christian Dunn