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1 Thessalonians 2:1-16 (ESV)
Paul’s Ministry to the Thessalonians
2 For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. 13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!
How would Paul’s example of perseverance in the face of persecution encourage them?
Holy God, it is not enough to simply live out the Christian life, I need to tell people about You and what You have done for all. It is a wonderful privilege as well as a great responsibility to proclaim the gospel. Give me the strength, energy, and enthusiasm to keep telling people the good news about Jesus even when it is not popular or uncomfortable to do so. This world is hostile to You. There are people around the globe who are persecuted and killed for their faith in You but yet they stand stronger and continue to share Your Word and they still have hope and belief in You. People give their lives to the things that are the most important. I want You to be the most important to me. When I give others food to eat, they will be satisfied for a short time, but when I give them Your living Word they can be fed for eternity. I want to share the joy of Your salvation. Let my boldness and courage to speak out for You and my faithful actions encourage others to do the same. I pray that our freedom to worship and to be a Christian will never be taken away from us in this country. I pray that this time of isolation will help people recognize the privilege we have to worship. Let this be a time of revival for more people to know You and have renewed hope in You. When we are able to worship in-person I pray that the enthusiasm for faith in You does not diminish but increases. I pray that people shift their priority so that You are the most important thing in their lives so that they would be willing to step out and risk ridicule or persecution. I pray that people stand up stronger and continue to share Your Word. Give us all the boldness to declare the gospel of God. Amen