1 Thessalonians 1:1-2, 5b-7, 9b-10 - Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, ... You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. ... You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
It makes me squirm a bit, the way Paul comes right out and says, "You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake." He's talking about the example he and the other Christian missionaries set for the new believers, and he isn't a bit shy about it. He just points to himself and says, "Follow this example!"
That seems strange to me, probably because I was brought up in a culture where we are taught to downplay our own good qualities. I can't imagine going to my local congregation and saying during Bible class, "Look at me, look at the way I live. That's what you should be doing, too!"
But maybe I should. Or maybe I should at least get over my embarrassment, because we all know that people learn best from example—from watching what other people do, people that they trust and love. My family has spent more than 30 years living among the Vietnamese immigrants of the St. Louis area, loving them, caring for them, doing the practical tasks that make life easier for people who are still in the process of learning English. And why? Because we love them. Because God called us to do this for them. Because we want them to know Jesus. Maybe we really should point to ourselves, just this once, and say, "Look at what we're doing."
Because the whole reason we're doing all these things, is so that they should know Jesus—so they see the way He loves them, all He does to care for them. We want them to see that though Jesus is God Himself, He loves them all so much that He lay down His own life and then rose again, to rescue them all from the power of death and the devil.
So, if they can see Jesus through my life, then ... well, I want them to look. Let them see Jesus—through me, through you, through every Christian. May our lives reflect Jesus so brightly that they all come to know Him and trust in Him forever—our new brothers and sisters in Christ.
WE PRAY: Dear Lord, shine through my life so that others will come to believe in You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Are you shy or not? Why do you think so?
2. How do you feel when someone praises a good thing you did? How do you respond?
3. When have you seen Jesus living through the life of someone you know?
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