Bible Order: Luke 6
Chronological Order: Matthew 18
Love God, Love Others
As I read today’s passage I noted that Paul had evidently warned the Thessalonians right at the start of their spiritual walk with Christ that following Christ would mean the suffering of affliction. He told them that he personally would suffer such affliction. Here is this godly, faithful man, Paul, who roams the world telling others of Christ, and yet he is afflicted beyond belief. If this man of God could be so afflicted, they had to know that they could expect no better.
1 Thessalonians 3:4 ESV
“For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know.”
I’m sure the peddlers of the prosperity gospel don’t like this concept but Jesus didn’t tell us that following Him would lead to a financially or physically rewarding life on this earth. He told us that we would suffer for His sake. The thing is we do have incredible wealth on this earth as followers of Christ. Our wealth is not gold or physical things but rather joy, peace, patience, kindness, and self-control. In the midst of worldly affliction we are spiritually wealthy and healthy. We are children of the One True God. We have His Holy Spirit residing within us. God goes with us through our afflictions. Is that not incredible? Is there anything of greater value?
Now if you really want to be spiritually wealthy Paul gives us a hint in today’s passage as to how to go about that.
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 ESV
“ For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?  For you are our glory and joy.”