Tuesday, May 14, 2013
The Passion of Paul
1Th. 3:5 For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith; I was afraid that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labor had been in vain.
Paul was a passionate man when it came to two things -- his Savior, and his spiritual children. In this case the emotion becomes evident in the words that are spoken. Paul is deeply concerned that the people of Thessalonica are going through a period of temptation and he's not sure that they are able to stand firm in their faith. Therefore he sent Timothy to them, so that he could encourage them to persevere in the face of temptation.
Paul did not preach a prosperity gospel, but instead he preached a realistic gospel. Jesus himself had been tempted and yet by the very power of the word he did not yield to temptation. Now, these young believers were also to face a time of temptation. Paul's concern was that they were so young in their faith that they would not be able to withstand the works of the tempter. Would they all slip away from their faith in God? This was Paul's concern.
Paul was extremely passionate about these followers of Christ which were found in Thessalonica. They were his spiritual children but he also knew that the enemy would be after them. Earlier in the Scripture we read that Paul prayed for them continually. This is what one does when one loves and cares for their spiritual children -- one prays for them on a regular basis. But prayer alone was not enough. He knew that they needed sound teaching. He had laid a foundation of faith for them, but now they needed more. Temptations were coming and Paul could simply "bear it no longer." Now, that is a passionate person. He is overcome with his concern for these new believers -- so much so that he has to send them Timothy. Timothy was coming to reinforce their faith. There are times in life when this is necessary -- especially when the enemy is coming at us, firing everything he has in his arsenal to attack us. We need reinforcements! And Paul, who would have enjoyed having Timothy around to support him, sends him as reinforcement to encourage the faith of the people of Thessalonica.
What can we bear no longer? Are we ever so passionate in our faith and concern for others that we simply can't take it anymore and we have to take action? Or, somehow, sadly, has our passion been lost? We need to have a fire burning within us that consumes us with desire in service to God. Paul prayed continually and God filled him with that passion and desire. When this happens our desires are his desires and our passion is his passion. Just as God sent Jesus into the world when he knew the people just couldn't take it anymore, so Paul sent his faithful "son" to the church in Thessalonica. He could stand it no longer -- his love for the Thessalonicans won the day. This consuming passion and love for his spiritual children is what prompted him to action. Our consuming love and passion for God and others must drive all of our actions. God's passion had become Paul's passion. That's what happens when we are united with Christ. God's desires become our desires and we are willing to put aside any personal goals or aims to be faithful in service to the Lord.
Lord, may my heart be filled with the driving passions of your heart Amen.