1 THESSALONIANS 2:14
“For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,”
I actually had to read this verse a few times to understand what Paul was saying about the Thessalonian church. This church imitated the actions of the Judean churches, even though they knew it would bring them suffering. That doesn’t sound very smart to me, lol. But they were following the Lord Jesus, wherever that led.
So, you have to ask the question, “What exactly did they imitate?” I am pretty sure it wasn’t giving church socials and serving kool-aid and cookies. They were witnessing about Jesus. They were testifying to their neighbors about the saving power of the gospel. They were talking about freedom from idols. All of these would have gotten them into trouble with the Jews, Romans or Greeks of their city. But they imitated anyway.
We teach our children to not imitate people who might get them into trouble. In fact, we tell them to keep their distance. But in this case, they actually do need to imitate people who stand for the truth, even if it means they could face trouble. We don’t want our children to suffer. No sane parent would. But we do want them to serve Jesus, and that can include suffering.
Make sure your children know that you will always support them should they be faced with this kind of decision. Let them know if they are following the Lord Jesus and get into trouble for standing up for the truth, you have their back. That doesn’t give them permission to be arrogant or obstinate. But is does mean you will stand with them when they stand for what is right.
Will you? Will you risk suffering to defend the gospel? Will you imitate the Judean churches? In our day standing up for the truth will bring ridicule and harassment from those who oppose our Lord. Satan does not want the truth of the gospel to permeate our society. He will use whatever means he can to discourage us. Don’t let him.
I want to be bold for You, Lord. I want to stand up for You, no matter what. Let me be known as a truth defender.