The joy of walking with Jesus is on rich display as Paul encourages the people about their faithfulness and reminds them that his is how they "really live." Where does real life come from? Does it come from wealth, beauty, or popularity? Does it come from our peers or something we figure out on our own? Paul reminds us that real life comes through a diligent walk with the Almighty. Paul sent Timothy to check on them because he knew of the persecution they were facing. He feared their turning away from the truth and their return to the hedonistic culture of the Roman Empire. When Timothy returned with a report of their continued faithfulness and concern for the Apostle, he was overjoyed and had to celebrate real life in Christ. Are you really living? Are you surviving or thriving in life? That answer does not depend upon the status of your love life; instead it depends on your walk with God. When He is in charge, we really live; when we are in charge, we struggle to survive the daily drag that comes from sin and fleshly living. Survivors are celebrated, but those who thrive set incredible examples for everyone to follow. They bring encouragement to the down-hearted, and they provide wisdom to those who are making bad decisions. This is the life of those who thrive, and the life God has called us to. Are you living in the joy of following Jesus?

Help me, Lord, to walk faithfully with You through the mountaintops and the storms of life. Help me to thrive in this life and set an incredible example for others to follow.