The Model Church
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.
1 Thessalonians 1:6-7
Wow! What a description of a church! The Thessalonian church was the model church that Paul would consistently praise. How many churches can say that today?
Let's break it down.
"And you became imitators of us and the Lord..."
Imitation is the best form of flattery. It's in our blood. Just like how a newborn will copy their parents or guardians, adults will find models to imitate as well.
The best way to grow closer to someone and better understand them is to imitate them. This works the same way with faith–to grow in our faith, the best way is to imitate Jesus.
Though it's impossible to 100% copy Jesus, imitation gets us closer. If that's not straightforward, we can also imitate followers of Jesus. That is exactly what the Thesslonian church did and what we should do too.
"That you became an example to all the believers..."
Everyone is at different stages of their faith. Once the Thesslonians became believers, they didn't just stop there. They continued to be an example to those around them outside of their church.
Unless you were just born or are just about to die, you're always in-between. That means someone is looking up to you.
Therefore, set a good example so that others can benefit.
"Your faith in God has gone forth everywhere..."
The Thesslonian church spread their faith everywhere. Our faith should be contagious–so good that they can't ignore it.
Of course, that's not how the world works though. The world cares mostly for wicked and sinful things.
But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
"So that we need not say anything..."
This is the best form of praise possible. The Thesslonian church followed all the instructions consistently and persistently such that Paul did not need to rebuke or remind them.
They were self-motivated and didn't need any nagging or nudging.
Every teacher strives to get their students to this stage. It's incredibly difficult, but if achieved, the student will no longer need to depend on the teacher.
Every weekend I write about some thoughts, life lessons, and interesting things I came by for the week. I'd love for you to join.