“…so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure…”
The words “we ourselves” are emphatic in the Greek. Not only had the gospel team heard from others about the faith of the Thessalonians to the north, but they observed it plainly themselves so they spread the news to the churches in the Corinth area. This praise was not superficial praise for appearances.
boast of you
The word “boast” means to express an unusually high degree of confidence in someone for being exceptionally noteworthy. Boasting is not wrong but boasting becomes wrong depending on the content of our boast. Paul did not flatter the Thessalonians but he did commend them for their faith (1 Th 1:8). He gave no inference that they were exceptional because of his ministry. His praise was to the glory of God’s grace in them. This was not arrogance but the simple recognition of God’s work in their lives.
among the churches of God
Paul spoke with permissible pride to other churches about the Thessalonians. He used the Thessalonians as a model church that exercised faith and love in the midst of adversity. Christians either hang together or split up under pressure. Trouble will not allow us to be neutral toward fellow Christians. Persecution can drive Christians into each other’s arms or it can drive them apart.
for your patience
The Thessalonians faced persecution with two traits: patience and faith. The word “patience” carries the idea of perseverance, endurance (1 Th 1:3; 2 Th 3:5). They did not cut and run but faced their persecution with Christian character. The Thessalonians knew something about steadfastness in tribulation. Tribulation did not sweep them away. They stuck with it and did not quit.
Ro 5: 3 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance…”
Ro 12: 12 “…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer…”
Jesus persevered in tribulation.
He 12: 1” Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”
“Patience” is that bulldog-like tenacity that will not give up or quit. “I will hang in there even if it kills me.” Job persisted in his faith although he faced deep trouble.
Job 13: 15 “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.”
PRINCIPLE: Bulldog like tenacity of Christian character keeps us from losing heart in Christian service.
APPLICATION: It does not take much to discourage some of us. God gives us a ministry and then we immediately faint at the first bite of criticism, the first reversal or obstacle.
2 Co 4: 1 “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.”
God sovereignly places reverses and obstacles in our path to test our character. Anyone can do ministry when everything goes well. Reversal toughens our soul so that we can withstand the ruthless realities of life.