Being a Spiritual Parent

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, ‘For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.’

 

Observations: Paul’s love for the brothers and sisters at Thessalonica meant that he not only shared the gospel with them but also his very life (v8). In fact, Paul talks about himself as if he was their parent. Back in verse 7 he says, ‘we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.’ And here he writes, ‘we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children.’ Paul says as a father he did three things with a single purpose. Like a father Paul encouraged them and comforted them and urged them. These three words all describe someone who came alongside another person in order to help them in some way. And Paul was helping them to ‘live lives worthy of God.’ Or to live lives that honoured God. For Paul, God didn’t just ‘call them into his kingdom and glory,’ he also called them to live kingdom lives i.e. like the King; and bring him glory i.e. by reflecting God’s character. Paul isn’t just revealing the attitude fathers ought to have towards their children, but pastors towards their congregation, and even one Christian towards another.

 

Application: How encouraging and comforting are you towards other Christians? How much do you urge your fellow brothers and sisters to live lives worthy of God? As someone called into God’s kingdom and glory, are you living as a child of the King, are you living for God’s glory? Do other people look up to you as their spiritual father or mother (or both)? Like Paul we have an opportunity to bless others in their spiritual journey. And like the Thessalonians we need people like Paul who bless us.

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that in Christ You have become my Father, that You encourage and comfort me through Your Holy Spirit who urges me to live a life that brings You glory and honour. But Lord, may Your Spirit also open my heart to receive encourage and comfort from others. And Lord, may Your Spirit equip me to encourage and comfort others. Help me to urge others to live a life that brings You glory and honour, as I walk in light of Your grace. May I never forget that You have called me into Your kingdom and glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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