I want to be like Jesus...and the Thessalonians!

In the New Testament, Paul wrote many letters to churches that had sprung up as a result of God's saving work. Don't you ever wonder what each church was like? Obviously, we get some pretty good clues about these churches through the tone (mood) of the letters and the words Paul wrote...but I'd still have loved to be a fly on the wall of each of these places where the Gospel had gone forth and born fruit. How many people attended? What were the range of ages? What did they do for a living? Did they spend lots of time together? How did they work through disagreements? Did they laugh a lot and play games together? Did they love each other as much as Paul loved each of them?

Right now, I am reading through the book of 1 Thessalonians...and I can't help but pray that the heartbeat of this crew would be my heartbeat, as well.

"We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work of faith, labor of love, and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ....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." I Thess. 1:3, 9b-10

They worked with faith-filled hearts knowing that it was God who worked in them to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure (Phil 2:13). They labored in love, knowing that all that God called them to do must be done in love (I Cor. 16:14) and their hope was not in their circumstances but in Jesus, knowing that just as He was raised from the dead, they too might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

How were they able to live lives of faith, love and hope? They had repented. They had seen God in all His glory, the treasure that turns all other "treasures" to trash, and they had turned from their idols and run into the arms of God...rebels made children. Now resting in the everlasting arms of the Lord (Deut. 33:27), dwelling safely in who He is and what He has done, their new hearts resulted in fruit...in service to the One who is able to do immeasurably more than all they asked or imagined, according to the power at work within them (Eph. 3:20). All the while, they waited in eager expectation for Christ to come back. They knew their citizenship was ultimately in heaven and they couldn't wait to be with the Lord (Phil. 3:20).

May we follow in the Thessalonians's footsteps! May we be those who live as repenters, moment by moment turning from our idols of sin to the living God.  May we find our home in His arms, daily delighting in Him through the Word He has left us (Proverbs 4:20-27). May love for our Lord cause us to walk and work in faith and love, before Him and others, knowing our debt has been paid by Him who loved us and gave Himself up for us (Eph. 5:2). And may we not fix our eyes on what is seen but unseen, often reminding ourselves (and those around us), that Christ is coming back! May that truth cause us to  wait with eager, hope-filled expectation and bold proclamation to the lost world around us.

May we be like the Thessalonians.