This summer has been so dry here in Kansas. Like really hot and everything is dying kind of dry. And for some reason this summer I have felt that sense of dryness in my spiritual life as well. I don’t know why those “dry” seasons come in my life…I’m pretty sure it is because I am a sinner who is constantly messing up, my priorities get out of whack, and sometimes I am just plain lazy. But what I am certain of is that I don’t want to stay there. I don’t like dry.
I have been reading through 1 Thessalonians since my pastor started a new sermon series from this book a few weeks ago. It is also a book that we studied last year at BSF so I knew I could use some reminders of the things God taught me the first time I studied this book. I forget so easily. I was thinking about how Paul describes the Thessalonians whose faith in God had become known everywhere. I want my life to be characterized by faith like that. What can I learn from them?
They tell how 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 rescues us from the coming wrath.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
1. They turned to God from idols.
I tend to think I can skip right over the verses that talk about idols. I would never worship another “fake” god above my God. But an idol is anything that I put before my God. Anything that keeps God from being the priority of my days. Woah. That means that there are times when I could make a whole list of idols in my life. Right now the idols I tend to put before God are my iPhone/internet time, decorating my house, and even my family (and sadly I’m sure I could think of more). Those are all good things…I know. I LOVE my iPhone. It keeps me connected with my husband throughout the day, instagram allows me to peek into my friends lives who live far away, I can take pictures of the everyday moments with my kids…it is awesome. But if I’m honest there are too many times when I use my iPhone to waste time, to ignore my kids when I should be intentional with my time with them, and, yes, even to ignore the Lord. Ya, it can be an idol. I won’t be throwing my iPhone in the lake or anything (maybe I should!) but I need to get rid of the things that are distracting me from fixing my eyes on Jesus.
2. They served the living and true God.
Does the way that I am living show that the God I serve is LIVING and TRUE? The God I serve is a God who transforms lives. That means that my life should be reflecting this transforming power of my God. I want to live my life during the easy and difficult times in a way that people say…I don’t know what she has but it is different than what I have. I want them to see that I serve a God who is living and true.
3. They waited for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead–Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
Jesus rescued me from the coming wrath. I need to recognize that Jesus has delivered me from God’s wrath. He rescued me. I have been a Christian for what feels like most of my life and this truth of being rescued from wrath is something I often take for granted. I feel like I am just starting to understand what it means that Jesus rescued me. I’ve loved reading The Jesus Storybook Bible with Levi and thinking about how God’s rescue plan is interwoven throughout the whole Bible. God is using Levi’s Bible to speak to my heart too! Am I living in joyful anticipation of His return? I would tell you that I am longing for that day. I am. But does the way I live reflect living in joyful anticipation of His return? If that is the true state of my heart, it should.
So what gave the Thessalonians power to live these strong Christian lives? 1 Thessalonians 1:6 tells us…the Holy Spirit. The Thessalonians were facing persecutions and trials that I can’t even pretend to be able to understand. Yet they had JOY. True, deep joy that was inspired by HOPE.
I looked back through my BSF notes on this passage and came across this definition of hope:
Hope is steadfastness in the face of difficulties. While hope is always yet future, it is nevertheless completely certain. Hope is invariably linked with the “blessed hope”–the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. This certain hope is the assurance of reward, fulfilled purpose, and unending security. (BSF, The Acts of the Apostles Lesson 16)
There is so much I can learn from the Thessalonians. So much packed into that short little book. And this just scratches the surface of some of the things that I have been thinking on. Some of the things that I know I need to apply to my life to get out of this dry season.
BSF starts back up again tomorrow. I am sooooo excited. I can’t tell you how much I have grown through BSF and what awesome accountability it has been to me. If you are not already plugged into a Bible study you need to find a BSF near you. I think they have introduction classes for the first few weeks so it is not too late. You will love it. Your kids will love it. And then we can be learning the same things…which would be fun! You can check it out here.