Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith. 1 Thessalonians 3:6 (NIV)
Suffering exposes the foundation of your life. Jesus spoke about this in a story He told about two men who built houses. One built on rock; the other built on sand. Then a storm came. One house stood; the other house collapsed. Suffering is the storm that reveals the foundation of your life. When you suffer, the idol of comfort is cast down.
When your faith is under fire, your first job is to stand firm in the Lord. Some Christians have the idea that when their faith is under fire, God expects them to have perfect peace and be full of joy. But that is not what God asks of you. What He asks of you in the face of trials and temptation is to “stand firm” (see Ephesians 6).
When Jesus was on the cross, He suffered so much. In an agony of soul, He cried out “Why?”
But He stood firm. In fact, His standing firm is your salvation.
Notice the impact these Thessalonians had on Paul: “Brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith” (3:7). Never underestimate the impact of your standing firm in the faith when you endure great trials and struggle with strong temptations.
When you face a strong temptation, and stand firm, other Christians who walk with you will be strengthened and encouraged. When you face great trials, and stand firm, other Christians who are also in great distress will be strengthened and encouraged.
Can you remember being encouraged by another Christian who stood firm in the middle of a trial? Where do you need to stand firm today for the benefit of others?