1 Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone, 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, 3 so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. 4 For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know. 5 For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain (1 Thessalonians 3).
Paul’s message included nothing of what we know today as the false Prosperity Gospel preached today. Even while imploring them to follow Jesus, Paul “kept telling” them that “affliction” for doing so would also follow. The truth is, in the intro to a popular evangelistic presentation: “God has a wonderful plan for your life”—His plan often includes persecution and trouble and affliction of all sorts.
Peter wrote much the same thing in 1 Peter 2:21—“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps….” The sincere believer does not have to go looking for persecution—it will find him soon enough.
Lord, help us This Day to be found faithful in the midst of any persecution that might come our way. Amen.