You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. — I Thessalonians 1:6–7 NASB
As believers, people are watching us. They watch how we live. They watch how we handle difficult situations or people. They watch how we walk through trials and heartaches. Perhaps they want to see how Christ makes a difference in our lives, or perhaps they want to see us mess up. Regardless of their motivations, they’re watching.
In 1 Thessalonians 1: 6–7, the apostle Paul commends the Thessalonians. Despite their trials, they became imitators of Paul and his traveling companions, and more importantly, the Lord. They received the Word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
They became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
Thessalonica didn’t readily receive the gospel. Rather, it proved to be a hostile environment. In Acts 17:1–15, those who were not persuaded of Christ gathered a mob and set the city in an uproar, seizing Jason and some brethren. Although the captors eventually let the men go, Paul and Silas left by night to go to Berea. But when the Jews from Thessalonica heard, they came to Berea and stirred up the crowds.
The Thessalonians’ trials were difficult. Despite this, they imitated the disciples and the Lord, received the Word with joy, and became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia (I Thessalonians 1:6–7).
No matter what you’re facing, through Christ, you have the power to imitate Him and receive His Word in much tribulation with the joy of His Spirit. Even when you don’t feel like it, open the Scriptures. Read a Psalm or a chapter from John. Read from Genesis or Proverbs. No matter what you choose, the Spirit will use Scripture to God’s glory. As you get to know Him, you will learn to imitate Him and experience the joy of His Spirit in the midst of your trials. Most likely, you will be an example to others too.
Lord Jesus, whatever this reader is facing, through You, she has the power to live victoriously, with joy, in the midst of her trial. May she seek You through the Scriptures, and as she grows in You, may she experience the joy of Your Spirit, no matter what valley she’s walking through. Thank You for Your deep love for her, Your compassion toward her, and Your amazing grace. In Your name, amen.
About Hope for the Valley
Hope for the Valley is the ministry God has entrusted to J.K. Stewart—wife, breast cancer survivor, and follower of Jesus Christ. Soon after her diagnosis, she started a women’s cancer support group. Two years later, she launched Hope for the Valley, a website of devotions and prayers for women with cancer. J.K. lives in Texas with her husband, dog, and four cats. When she’s not writing, she’s either studying her Bible, walking her dog, or vacuuming pet hair. Connect with her and the ministry of Hope for the Valley on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.