1 Thessalonians 3 Devotion Sharing

Submitted By Grace Kim, Gracepoint Berkeley

What is the heart of Apostle Paul towards the Thessalonians? Apostle Paul’s heart is that of intense concern with the Thessalonians in what they have been going through. Even though Paul is not physically present with them, as he hears about their trials & persecutions, he is deeply concerned & worried about whether they are standing firm in the faith. I can imagine Paul holding his breath then to let out a sigh of relief upon hearing from Timothy that they are standing firm. Apostle Paul’s well-being is closely tied to how this church is doing spiritually, as he says things like “now we really live”, “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?” Even seeing how he prays for the Thessalonians, I am struck by how he wishes so much good & prays the best prayers for them.

How does he concretely express his love for them? He concretely expresses his love for them by sending Timothy to strengthen & encourage them in their faith. He sends someone that would go to find out how they are doing and can encourage them. This physical presence of someone during times of trials and difficulties is what really encourages & helps. He also prays night & day for them most earnestly that he may see them again and supply what is lacking in their faith. Paul knows what is lacking in their faith & how he can supply that & prays earnestly that he can be with them to do this. This means that Paul must have been thinking about them, hearing news about how they are doing, and ways that he can encourage them & to supply what is lacking in their faith – and all this without being physically present with them.

In what ways have I experienced this kind of love? I have experienced this kind of love in many ways. I can’t think of a time where I went through trials and struggles in my life without someone physically being with me, to listen, to pray, and to be a source of encouraging spiritual presence in my life. Especially as my family has been going through trying times these 3.5 years, especially with my mom’s battle with cancer since this past year, there was always someone(not just from Berkeley, but from other churches too) that was there to encourage, to listen, to check up on, and to pray for us, whether I was in Korea or here in the States. It was not out of sight out of mind. I also know that the leaders have the kind of heart that Apostle Paul has, inquiring & finding out about how each person is doing, how each ministry group is doing, how the church as a whole are doing & taking steps that would supply what is lacking in our faith. Every advance, each step of action & words that the leaders speak are born out of their knowledge of where we are at (from messages, to events, to the way we do things or change things, to how prayer meetings are led, how they pray for us, etc.)

Who are the people I need to love in this way? I was reminded of how important it is for me to “be with” people to be a source of encouragement. Not only that, but to inquire and to find out about how people are doing spiritually under different circumstances & trials that they are going through. I was reminded of a family member who recently became a Christian, but she has not gotten plugged into a church or have presence of strong Christians in her life. She has her past, where her way of life & the friends that she used to have led her down a miserable road & this may be a snare for her. Also, the people who have gone on the church plants & recent missionaries are facing not only adjusting to a new environment, but also new challenges and temptations and I can love them through putting myself in their shoes & to pray for them, as well as to visit when I can. I am also challenged to love people that I am currently ministering to by finding out more about their lives, what they are going through, what their spiritual issues are, and to figure out what ways that I can meet their needs, add to their faith & supply what is missing at the present time.

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