1 Thessalonians - Discouragement
After Paul started the church in Thessalonica, he wrote this first letter to the believers there within just a few months of leaving. Several things have cropped up in the church causing its members to be discouraged. Paul’s objective of writing this letter is to encourage them.
Satan tries to discourage us
1 Thess 2:18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way.
1 Thess 2:14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews...
We can easily get discouraged when Satan obstructs our plans. One of the ways he does this is by persecuting God’s servants.
Being in the centre of God’s will does not mean that we will have smooth sailing. When we encounter many problems, it could be because we are walking in the will of God and Satan is obstructing us. When we are obstructed by Satan, it does not mean that we are weak. Even church leaders like Paul encountered these obstacles.
When we encounter obstacles in what we do, it is important to pray and discern whether the doors are closed by God or by Satan. If they are closed by Satan, we should never give up and we should continue persevering. However, if the doors are closed by God, we should accept these closed doors as part of God’s plan and ask God to open other doors that would lead us into His will.
Be encouraged that God is with us
1 Thess 2 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.
Satan may try to discourage us by putting obstacles in our way but we are encouraged by the fact that God is with us. And God is more powerful than Satan. If God is for us, who can be against us. There are no obstacles that we cannot overcome with God’s help.
God sends people to encourage us
1 Thess 3:2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith…
God knows that we are all too human and will be discouraged at times. When we don’t see things happen the way we expected, we tend to lose faith in God and get discouraged.
One of the ways God encourages us is by sending people in our paths not only to encourage us but also to help us. In my own life, there have been periods when I am discouraged because I don’t see results no matter how hard I try. But I am thankful that during those periods God sent people into my life to help me and encourage me.
We are to encourage one another
1 Thess 4:18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thess 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
When we are discouraged, God sends people to encourage us. Therefore, when others are discouraged, we should also do our part to encourage them. Is there someone in your life now that may be needing an encouragement?
Look to the hope of the promise
1 Thess 1:3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Although the Thessalonian church encountered obstacles and discouragement, they continued to endure and this endurance is inspired by the hope they have in Christ. When God has made us a promise, that is it. God cannot go back on His word and the only way the promise will not come to pass is if we give up or sin our way out of His will. If we continue to persevere, the day will surely come when we will see God’s promises fulfilled.