The faith-filled life is a dependent life
From Letters of Paul: 30-Day Bible Study
Following Jesus has never come without challenges. Wherever the good news was preached, persecution seemed to follow (1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 and 1 Thessalonians 2:14).
Knowing how hard it is to endure persecution and how much courage it takes to live faithfully, Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians to encourage the church in Thessalonica to cling to their hope and confidence in Jesus’ return.
Paul left several specific instructions on how to live in a way that pleases God because he knew faith isn’t passed on in words alone. We learn how to follow Jesus by watching others follow Jesus.
The church in Thessalonica never met Jesus in the flesh, but they experienced Jesus’ love in the way Paul and his friends lived. As the church followed Paul’s example and lived as Paul taught them, the Gospel continued to spread.
“You became imitators of us and the Lord...with the joy of the Holy Spirit so that you became an example...For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you...but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere so that we need not say anything” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8).
Our lives are one of the best pictures of God’s character. The way we live and love has the power to draw others to Him (1 Thessalonians 4). Living a holy life does not mean striving to be perfect. It means learning to be dependent. The Gospel is the story of Jesus coming to rescue the broken — us. We can’t save anyone. Instead, we follow Jesus’ lead and depend on His Spirit to guide us every day and in every way.
Psalm 21 shows what it means to be so dependent on God. The king in the psalm rejoices in God’s strength, not his own. He asks God for what he needs and finds joy in God’s presence. “... the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved” (Psalm 21:7).
We want others to experience salvation, to know the blessing, favor, and joy we have received. So remember, the Gospel is a story of love, and we tell it best when we depend on God who first loved us.
- Have you ever felt intimidated by sharing your faith? Why or why not?
- Is there any area of your life that you feel pressured to hide? What’s one step you can take to stop trying to clean it up on your own?
- Psalm 21 describes the way God cares for His people. If you’ve asked Jesus into your life, you are the king at the outset of the psalm. Try re-reading it, replacing “the king” with your name. How does it change your understanding of what it means to be saved?