Finally, when we could stand it no longer, we decided to stay alone in Athens, and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-workers in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know. That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless. But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He reports that you always remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you. So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence. Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith. May God our Father and our Lord Jesus bring us to you very soon. And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen. ~1 Thessalonians 3 NLT~
What a beautiful letter from Paul to the Thessalonians. He is so concerned about whether or not they are living by the faith that they had proclaimed while he was with them. He was hopeful that they were standing strong. But just as he began to have doubts, Timothy returned with news that made Paul rejoice!
Is there someone that you are genuinely concerned about? Maybe they are a new christian, maybe they’ve wandered off the path, maybe you haven’t seen them to know where they’re at in their walk. Take a moment to pray for that person. Then make it a point to get back in touch with them. I would hope that the response is much like the Thessalonians to Paul, that they “want to see [you] as much as [you] want to see [them].” And if they know that you are watching out for them, praying for them, longing for them to be strong in the Lord, then how much more encouragement would that give!
On the other hand, maybe you’re the one receiving the encouragement. Is there someone in your life that is looking out for you, encouraging you, praying for you, hoping that you are strong in the faith that you both proclaim? If so, are you living up to that expectation, or are you giving them cause for worry? I would hope that, if you have not contacted that person, you would call them up let them know, somehow, that they need not be concerned.
I thank God daily for the people in my life that I know pray for me, and encourage me, and want to know that I am making right choices in my walk with Christ. I probably don’t tell them that often enough. And just the thought of them wanting to know encourages me to strive for righteousness, so that I might give them a report that makes them rejoice, just as Paul did.
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. ~Ephesians 6:10-11~