July 7, 2022
“So we wanted to come to you – even I, Paul, time and again – but Satan hindered us. For who is our hope, or joy, or crown of boasting in the presence of the Lord Jesus...”
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“So we wanted to come to you – even I, Paul, time and again – but Satan hindered us. For who is our hope, or joy, or crown of boasting in the presence of the Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy!” 1 Thessalonians 2:18-20
When I was a kid, the cool thing was to have a brand-new pair of WHITE tennis shoes. Everyone got new shoes for school, but a few trips to the playground quickly faded their glory. Dirt happens.
Occasionally, a footwear miracle would occur. Some lucky kid would defy all odds, and his shoes would retain their out-of-the-box “whiteness” for months on end. In the fall of 1980, I was that miracle kid. I recall the day the miracle ended.
It was well past Thanksgiving, and I had just stepped off the school bus. The air was crisp and relatively cool for a sunny day. I was strutting my Fred Perry “pure whites” to homeroom when, out of nowhere, Ron Street ran up and raked his muddy penny-loafer across my shoelaces!!!! He yells, “Skid Mark!” and runs off. Apparently, he had been jealous for some time. I was devastated. Some guys are just plain mean.
Speaking of mean, the Devil is mean. There is nothing Satan wants more than to keep you from God and steal the glory of your Kingdom work. If you are a follower of Jesus, Satan wants to make you completely ineffective. More than a discourager, he is a destroyer. He would kill you if allowed the opportunity.
Now, consider Paul. How can the guy who said, “I can do all things through Messiah, Who strengthens me.” be hindered by Satan? Was Paul a liar? By no means!!
Paul accomplished all that the Lord had directed him to labor towards in Thessalonica. The church flourished despite great opposition. But the way that God used Paul to accomplish His plan for the Thessalonians’ salvation was through the example of Paul and his colleagues’ enduring spiritual opposition and overcoming it by faith.
Friends, do not be discouraged when you experience spiritual opposition. Be encouraged that, while the battle may be fierce, the victory is the Lord’s. Satan will get his due…much the same way Ron Street got detention for scuffing my shoes.