Posts Tagged With: quitting

1 Thessalonians 1: Keep on Going!

What do you say to brand new Christians?  I see Paul saying three things to the young, young Thessalonian Christians in this passage.

1.  You are off to a great start!  

When you received the word, you had a lot to suffer, but you also had the holy spirit’s joy.  As a result, you became a model for all the believers in both Macedonia and Achaea.  For the word of the Lord has resonated out from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaea; your faith has gone out to people everywhere. (1:6b-8a)

They have started strong and have so much to build on.  They just need to keep on going as they have already.

2.  Follow our example!  

You know what sort of people we became for your sake, when we were among you.  And you learned how to copy us — and the Lord! (1:5b-6a)

When you are starting something, it always helps to have an example to follow.  Paul did not shy away from claiming to be such an example, and he didn’t come off as prideful either.  Paul is following Jesus, so if they follow Paul they are also following Jesus.  Could we say that to a new Christian?  The truth is new Christians are following our examples, whether we want them to or not, whether we encourage it or not.

3.  Don’t even think twice about turning back now!

They themselves tell the story of the kind of welcome we had from you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus, who delivers us from the coming fury. (1:9-10)

There is a day of wrath and fury coming for those who have rejected Jesus.  The Thessalonians don’t want to fall back into that group.  We see that eschatology theme coming through.  Keep on going!

What stood out to you in this chapter?  

Advertisements
Categories: 1 Thessalonians | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

2 Timothy 1: Don’t Give Up!

Paul has come to the end.  Most scholars who believe that Paul wrote 2 Timothy think this is his last surviving letter.  Some date it within a year of his death, traditionally thought to have taken place around 68 AD in Rome by beheading.  Every line drips with the emotion of a man who sees the end coming and so wants his life’s work to continue on with strength after he is gone.

Sadly, most in Asia Minor — the province in which Ephesus was found — had turned on Paul (1:15).  It seems they looked to his imprisonment as evidence that he was not favored by God and they pushed on to other versions of Christianity.  Paul’s fear is that Timothy will join their ranks.  Timothy is already losing his spiritual steam (1:6), and being the spiritual son of a “prisoner” isn’t exactly a great thing to put on your resume (1:8).

A person can only make it through trying times like these by faith, and this passage drips with Paul’s faith.  He is confident of Timothy’s faith, maybe even when Timothy is not:

I have in my mind a clear picture of your sincere faith — the faith which first came to live in Lois your grandmother and Eunice your mother, and which I am confident, lives in you as well.  (1:5)

Paul has faith that the Spirit is one of power:

After all, the spirit given to us by God isn’t a fearful spirit; it’s a spirit of power, love and prudence. (1:7)

Paul trusts in God’s purpose and grace, not his or Timothy’s own power:

God saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace. (1:9)

Paul anchors his faith in the power of the resurrection:

[God] has now made it [grace] visible through the appearing of our savior King Jesus, who abolished death and, through the gospel, shone a bright light on life and immortality. (1:10)

And Paul knows God is trustworthy:

But I am not ashamed, because I know the one I have trusted, and I’m convinced that he has the power to keep safe until that day what I have entrusted to him. (1:12)

When you come to the end, when death is looming and your friends have turned against you, the only way forward is by faith.

There are several great lines in this chapter.  What was your favorite?

Categories: 2 Timothy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Hebrews 12: Keep Running!

What an incredible chapter!  If you got off track last week with Spring Break (for many of us), pick up your Bible right now and read Hebrews 12.  It is a great way to start back.  There is something for everyone in this practical chapter.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is right here in verses 1-3, so I can’t help but be drawn to them.  Wright has done a nice job making them fresh in my mind:

What about us, then?  We have such a great cloud of witnesses all around us!  What we must do is this: we must put aside each heavy weight, and the sin which gets in the way so easily.  We must run the race that lies in front of us, and we must run it patiently.  We must look ahead, to Jesus.  He is the one who carved out the path for faith, and he’s the one who brought it to completion. (12:1-3)

I am certainly no runner, as all who know me in the real world know.  In the sports I played, running was punishment.  But from the comfort of the spectator’s spot I can say without a doubt that I have the utmost respect for runners.  By all appearances, it takes an extra level of inner fortitude to run long and run hard and not give up.

Of course, this passage fits the context of Hebrews perfectly.  These Christians are thinking about giving up, so the author pleads with them not to.  This is no 100-metre dash.  They will have to reach down deep inside for “patience” or endurance and run on.  Like some heavy backpack, they would do well to throw off their thinking that the right path to run is the way of the Jewish law and customs.  And they don’t need to let sin turn into hurdles on the track before them.  I am told by my students who run cross-country that it helps to run as a group, to have one strong leader in the race who helps the others keep pace and then runs back when he is done to encourage the others.  For the Hebrew Christians that leader was Jesus.  Why would they give up on him now?

Just keep running!

What verses did you need to hear today? 

Categories: Hebrews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.