If God were to write a record of your life and preserve it for generations to follow, how would you like to be represented? What sort of reputation would you like to have? Would you like to have a reputation of immaturity, like Corinth? The reputation of a deserter like Galatia or Demas? Promiscuity like Pergamum? Tolerance like Thyatira? Lukewarmness like Laodicea?
Surely, none of the examples given above relate to the type of reputation you would desire for yourself or anyone for that matter. We would want to have a good reputation! We would want to have a cherished name like Abraham (the friend of God), David (the man after God’s own heart), Paul (the great worker), or Barnabas (the great encourager). All of these men serve as great examples, but one example that I believe is often overlooked is that of the church in Thessalonica. In 1st Thessalonians, they received a glowing commendation from Paul. They were commended for things which you and I can be as well, and hopefully, we strive for those things.
First, the church in Thessalonica was commended for their reception of the Word (1:5-6). The Scriptures tell us that they received the Word with conviction (1:5). They received the Word for what it truly is, the word of God. This is seldom done. Often the Word is taken in part, but only the pleasant part, or emotion-stirring part. Not with these brethren, they took the whole portion, the encouraging and challenging parts alike. Furthermore, they did so with joy (1:6). It was not a burden to them, rather it was a delight. This is contrary to those who despise godliness (Jer 6:10). However, that is not how they in Thessalonica viewed it, they viewed it purely as their delight (Ps 119:36, 47, 174). We ought to be akin to the Thessalonians in this regard, receiving the Word for what it is, all it is, and with great joy.
Second, the church in Thessalonica was commended for their refusal of the world (1:9). They turned away from idolatry. In a literal sense, they removed the idols from their homes. These were the longstanding sources of their hope, being raised in pagan religion. In a figurative sense, they removed the competitor from their hearts. They cast down not only graven images but the things of sin that surrounded those images - pride, sensuality, fornication, etc. Having turned from idols, they turned to God. They brought God into their home. They brought God into their hearts. They did just as we should. Cast the world out from your homes and hearts, and instead of sin reigning there, let righteousness. Instead of gods ruling from the throne of your heart, allow for God to rule from the throne of your heart.
Third, the church in Thessalonica was commended for remaining with God (1:10). They waited on God, meaning they endured for God and they were longing for God. May the same be said of us. May we endure for God and may we always be longing for God.
What will be said of you? What sort of reputation will you have? Will it be one of little faith? Rebellion? Lost faith? Or might you strive to have a commendable faith? Receiving the Word, refusing the world, and remaining with God.