Inspiration from Dr. David White
“For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict” (I Thessalonians 2:1-2).
How will we know our stepping out in faith and obedience to what we believe to be God’s will is truly God’s will? Can we actually know we are on target as God’s workmanship created for good works which He planned beforehand? Or will we have to wait to the very end and/or when our works are tested by fire to see if we actually are doing what we were the most called and anointed to do?
We are often reminded how Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing and spoke only what His Father had given Him to speak. However that was specifically referring to Jesus. He was the only begotten Son of God. You and I are among the many sons and daughters He has called to Himself and for His purposes in this hour. Jesus was the One who was present and involved in creation while we are those all of creation has been eagerly waiting for. This in itself is an amazing thought!
I am sure there are those who, without any questioning know they are only doing and speaking what they are seeing and hearing from the Father. But the overwhelming majority of believers I know still have to walk out this journey by faith clinging to evidence that’s more than often unseen and only hoped for.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1).
If we are encouraged to “examine ourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (II Cor 13:5), then we should also examine if what we are doing is a work of the faith and is indeed God’s highest and best.
While not wanting to cross over into idealism, our getting it right at this specific juncture in history is critical, to say the least. Entire nations and the souls of those living in these nations are at stake. Every day and every mission embarked upon must count and bear the maximum fruit God has intended.
Simply put, our being where we are and doing what we are doing must not be, as the Apostle Paul put it, in vain. Thirty or sixtyfold fruit might have been acceptable in times past but today we must not settle for anything less than what Jesus defined as hundred-fold fruit. This is possible! But it also must be measured from God’s perspective and not our own.
For something to be done in vain would mean it is futile, useless, ineffective and with no meaning or likelihood to succeed. Our examining whether what we are doing is in vain or not is nothing new to those who have answered God’s calling upon their lives.
For example Isaiah declared, “Then I said, 'I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain; yet surely my just reward is with the Lord, and my work with my God’” (Isaiah 49:4).
Later the Apostle Paul had similar concerns when he wrote, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain” (I Cor 15:1-2). Then he hoped and confessed, “Oh that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain” (Phil 2:16).
How did Paul know his coming to the church in Thessalonica “was not in vain”? He answers this when he writes, “But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict” (I Thess 2:2).
There it is! Paul did not say our coming to you was confirmed because we have experienced great peace, acceptance, love, approval or some measure of outward success. Instead he used the phrase, in much conflict.
As in Philippi, Paul anticipated and expected much conflict during his time in Thessalonica. Facing such was actually confirmation that he was in the right place at the right time. He had not missed God but instead was right on target.
Reading further into his letter to the Thessalonians Paul describes how suffering, being spitefully treated, being falsely accused, intense spiritual warfare and being largely disapproved by men was actually exemplary and proof of one’s authentic faith and calling.
“Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My name’s sake” (Matt 5:11).
What the Apostle Paul wanted the believers to understand is that they were never to look upon themselves as victims, which always directs the attention to ourselves, but as those who are victorious in whatever they faced. Jesus qualified those who were blessed while being persecuted as those falsely accused for HIS name’s sake. Which means they were representing Him in their motives, manner and character.
Escaping the victim-hood mentality and confessing and believing in the One, “who always leads us in triumph in Christ” will be evidenced in those whose lives and ministries were not in vain.
All those chosen to proclaim and advance the gospel of God as Paul wrote, will do so in the midst of much conflict. This will prove especially true at this particular hour in history. Conflict will actually confirm what is not in vain.
Proclaiming the gospel of God in much conflict will greatly advance the kingdom that will know no end!
David White Th.D.
David and his wife Shirley are the head pastors at the Gathering Church in Moravian Falls, NC. The Fresh Bread Blog is where Dr. David posts inspiration and messages he receives from the Lord for the church and missions.
The Gathering Church
976 W Meadow PKWY
Moravian Falls, NC 28654