2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10
Imitation is how human beings learn and grow. Everything depends on whom or what we choose to imitate. The converts at Thessalonica got it right; they imitated Paul and his group (who were imitating the Lord Jesus Christ).
Passion and Devotion-
Francis de Sales, a Jesuit priest in the 16th-17th centuries, wrote “there is only one true devotion, but there are many that are false and empty. If you are unable to recognize which kind is true, you can easily be deceived and led astray by following one that is offensive and superstitious.”
I think it is our passion and sincere desire to grow in the ways of Jesus that help us to mature and become what God desires most in us; and what He desires most is for us to become fully transformed into the image of His son Jesus. Half-baked Christians do not produce the results nor bring joy like the converts of Thessalonica. Actions do indeed speak louder than words…actions that imitate the lifestyle of Jesus produce fruit-bearing results (1 Thessalonians 1:2-10). May our actions speak words of righteousness and holiness…joyful hope of eternity with our Savior King, JESUS! Amen.
This teaching from which this excerpt came was from an inductive study I worked through in the First Letter to the Thessalonians. The full document can be found here.