Daily Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:6–13

For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. (1 Thess. 3:8)

His posture gave him a nickname still recorded in history books.

Thomas Jackson is one of the most well-known Confederate generals of the American Civil War. Though he excelled in many battles, the First Battle of Bull Run gave him the nickname “Stonewall.” As Confederate lines crumbled under Union assault, Jackson’s brigade continually provided reinforcements, leading General Bee, Jr., to remark, “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall.”

Believers in Thessalonica stood firm. Despite distress and persecution, Paul was encouraged by Timothy’s report of their strong faith and love. He hoped they would continue living blamelessly and holy as they awaited the Lord’s return.

Trials, temptations, persecution, sickness, and emotional struggles have a way of stealing our focus and leading to addictive crutches. While God never initiates what contradicts His nature, He allows an assortment of whatever accomplishes His ultimate goal of forming us into His Son’s image.

Washing blue jeans too often diminishes color and durability. Washing them less and turning them inside out when washing leads to a longer lifespan. God occasionally turns us inside out as well by using experiences we’d rather avoid.

Holy and blameless living begins on the inside and works its way out. Thoughts produce feelings, which in turn birth actions. Genuine change never proceeds in the opposite direction.

With God’s help, choose thoughts that produce holy actions.

Martin Wiles loves using his writing to help others move further in their journey toward spiritual maturity.