Do you ever think about persecution as a Christian? It is so uncommon in our country that we struggle to comprehend its magnitude. That truth should keep us in a constant state of thankfulness for the freedoms God has given us as a nation. The believers in Thessalonica accepted Jesus knowing He would bring incredible persecution upon them. They felt that Jesus was more important than their well-being or their safety. Paul reveals the impact their faith has had on others in the Roman Empire. They have set this incredible example of faithfulness in the midst of persecution. Paul encourages them to continue imitating Jesus in all that they say and do and congratulates them on a job well done. Are you, as a Christian in the United States, doing that well in your walk with the Lord? They did not struggle with laziness or a loss of focus because of the constant persecution they faced. They knew their lives mattered because of Jesus, and they faithfully followed Him in the wonderful moments and in the difficult ones. When problems or possibly persecution come your way, how do you respond? Do you question God for allowing that to happen in your life? Do you struggle to "keep the faith," because of the hurt you are facing? Follow the example of the believers in Thessalonica and follow Jesus no matter what is happening around you. The power of your testimony will grow exponentially as people see how you grieve and hurt, and you will grow in your love and understanding of Him.

Help me, Lord, to stay faithful during the amazing times and during the difficult ones. Help me to imitate You in all that I do so that my life can make a real difference in this world.