In my last post, I talked about the need for a faith-coach. In sports, coaches are needed to overcome the challenges that an athlete faces during their competition. I believe it’s the same in our Christian walk. It’s how we’ve been coached that gets us through our challenges.
Paul tells the Thessalonian church the reason he was sending Timothy to coach them…
…so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.
1 Thessalonians 3:3-5
First of all, let me say that I’m not particularly thrilled with this passage. Paul makes it clear that it’s an undeniable fact of life that we will certainly face trials. Both of the words he uses – trials and persecution – mean pressure, narrow spaces, and challenges.
The Good News is not that we have an easy life with Christ. Instead, the Lord strengthens us to overcome in all of our trials.
This is why Paul wants them to be coached. In our trials, we should never be unsettled. That word literally means to wag – like a dog wags his tail.
Too often we, as Christians, end up simply reacting to our trials. We don’t expect them. Worse than that, we don’t know how to correctly operate in faith to walk through them. God has a better way for us. Listen to what He said to Israel when He taught them the law.
The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.
The Lord never wants us to be wagged – to simply react – to the challenges of life. We have been given the Holy Spirit so that we can be ready for anything that comes our way. By watching others overcome, we can be equipped for the same victories.
Unfortunately, many refuse God’s mentoring system. They end up learning to overcome by trial and error. Personally, I want to know the strategy before I enter the heat of battle.
Back in the verse from Thessalonians, Paul said that he wanted to find out about their faith – literally he wanted to know their faith. The fact is, that true faith can be seen and known by those around you.
Trials and challenges – the pressures of life – serve an important purpose. They come so that the faith that you have on the inside can become evident on the outside.
Listen to how Peter describes the result of trials in our lives.
These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:7
Do what needs to be done in order to prepare your faith. Then when the trials come, as you know they will, Christ will be revealed in you.
Question: How has watching other believers prepared you for your trials?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017