“Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.”1 Thessalonians 4:1
Having tough conversations with people is hard. It is something that none of us enjoy doing, but something that we will all have to do in our lives. The majority of Paul’s letters in Scripture are him having tough conversations with different churches. He is explaining to them how what they are doing is wrong, how they are disobeying the Lord, and how they forgot what he had taught them. The list could go on and on. However, this verse, what a breath of fresh air it must have been for Paul to write this verse. He gets to write to them and tell them, “Hey! You guys are following after the Lord, keep doing it!” I can imagine him sitting there celebrating that they were growing spiritually.
I am sure that when Paul first started teaching the Thessalonians there were some hard conversations that he had to have with them, but eventually, they got it and their relationship with the Lord started to grow in an incredible way. As believers, we should all have people in our lives that we are investing in by showing them the way that the Bible teaches us to live our lives. Those conversations are not always going to be easy, but my prayer is that they eventually will lead to true growth in that person’s life. There are so many things that I still struggle with in my walk with the Lord, but there are definitely things too that people who invested in my spiritual growth can look back at and say, “Hey, good job! Keep doing what you are doing.” I am so thankful for that. We have to have tough conversations, but those many times can lead to an incredible celebration of growth in someone’s life.
Also, I am sure Paul could have started his letter off by pointing out some sins that the Thessalonians were still struggling with, after all, it is not like they were perfect, but instead, he takes the opportunity to encourage them and celebrate how they are walking after the Lord. We need to take this example and apply it to our close Christian relationships. Encourage one another. Tell someone that you see how they love the Lord, and encourage them to keep after it! You never know when someone may be in need of some spiritual encouragement, so be looking for opportunities to share that encouragement when you can. One on one discipleship can be as simple as an encouraging word from one believer to another.