Recently, my wife and I spent a restful few days at Idbury in the Cotswolds. One morning, I was looking out of the window, watching the birds playing ‘chase’, and I had a sudden thought that if a budgie were to be released into the wild, these seemingly gentle birds would probably reject and kill it. I believe it is a fact that birds will often turn on other birds of a different plumage.
One preacher said that when a person becomes a Christian they make at least two discoveries. The first one is good; the second not so good. First of all, they find they’ve got a whole lot of new friends, and that’s great. But they also come to realise that they now have a number of new enemies, and that, of course, is less welcome. A new convert asked his pastor, ‘Now that I am a Christian, how much of the world must I give up?’ ‘Don’t worry,’ his minister replied. ‘The world will give you up!’
Paul taught the Thessalonians the inevitability of suffering for Christ in some form (3, 4; John 16:33; 2 Tim.3:12). The spirit that crucified Jesus is still abroad in this world, and it is pervasive, and while we live in the world we can expect trouble. It is extremely important that new Christians should be thoroughly prepared for this in the discipling process, so that no-one is taken by surprise or feels mis-led. There is no ‘easy-believism’ in the New Testament. ‘’We did not want any of you to lose heart at the troubles you were going through, but to realise that we Christians must expect such things.’’ J.B. Phillips (3) Suffering in some way is the common experience of the majority of Christians across the world. Satan, like the savage beast he is, seeks to ‘’devour’’ believers through persecution (1 Peter 5:8, 9).There is the very real danger that some may fall away through fear or discouragement etc. This was Paul’s concern for the Thessalonians, and why he sent Timothy to them (5). He was fearful that they might have been ‘savaged’ in the early stages of their Christian experience. ‘’You will understand that, when the suspense became unbearable I sent someone to find out how your faith was standing the strain, and to make sure that the tempter’s activities had not destroyed our work.’’ J.B. Phillips.
Because it’s ‘a jungle’ out there, it is essential that new believers should have a family around them who will stick close to them. That’s what Paul, Silas and Timothy did with the new Christians in Thessalonica for as long as they could (Chapter 2). But when they could not be there in person, God’s keeping power was nonetheless in evidence. Thank God, we can trust His ‘amazing grace.’
Prayer: Lord, help me to be willing to be hit by any of the ‘missiles’ this fallen world hurls at you.