Although Paul was happy every time he recalled the reception of the gospel in Thessalonica, still he was worried what might be happening to them under persecution (1 Thess 3). Persecution may have been coming from Jews, the local Greek townspeople or the Roman authorities. At that time it could have included beatings and stonings, torture, crucifixion and death. If believers weren't strong in their belief in Jesus, they certainly would not have risked any of these punishments even once, much less every day.
For Reflection: As I've said before, most of us don't face these types of persecution today. But if the early Christians could face these for believing and witnessing about Jesus, why can't we face the type of persecution we do experience - rejection for witnessing about Jesus? The number one reason most people don't speak to anyone about Christ is the fear of rejection.
Yes, we will experience rejection on behalf of the gospel message. It's a given. Jesus himself was rejected. Why should we expect to be treated any differently? Scripture says, though, that we should cast our cares, including our fears, upon the Lord (Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7). Let's do that today.
Let us pray. Jesus, we do give you our fear of rejection, our fear of loss, our fear of persecution, and all other fears that we have. We trust that you will hold us and care for us and protect us. Renew our joy in you and in talking about you and what you have done.
And we remember today all those people in the world who are suffering extreme persecution. Give them the strength only you can provide, Jesus.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.