Counted Worthy

“Which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.”—2 Thessalonians 1:5 (NKJV)
Maybe you’ve heard the illustration of the judge in regards to how sin and salvation works. Basically, the illustration is a recognition that just as a righteous judge would do, God judges our sins and gives a sentence of death that must be paid. But just when we realize that we are without defense or excuse, the judge steps down from the bench, removes His robes, and in the person of Christ accepts and fulfills the death sentence in our place.
Today’s verse provides us with a little of what Paul Harvey, the radio host, always termed “the rest of the story.” As those who have been forgiven and set free, we have the option to mutter a quick “thanks” and walk away, or as today’s verse invites us, we can enter into an eternal journey with our Judge/Savior, where our daily conduct tells the story of our freedom.
Based on Paul’s words in this first part of 2 Thessalonians, it’s easy to infer that the people of Thessalonica were encountering struggles, and their questions were probably similar to ours.
“Why do bad things happen to believers?”
“Why does it seem things have gotten worse since I accepted Christ?”
“Can I trust God that injustices will ultimately be made right?”
As Paul’s words of encouragement leap off the page, you can almost hear his passionate response as he battles to describe the kingdom of God. Paul reminds them, and us, that every time they respond to struggles with faith, their relationship with God is strengthened and His kingdom advanced. Somehow, allowing others to witness our lives as we proclaim God’s goodness and the freedom He’s provided is part of advancing His kingdom. Somehow, when we choose faith rather than fear, we share His light to our world. By trusting that all will be set right side up in the end, not only for us individually but also corporately as His body, we live out the truth that God is righteous and has set us free.
The Bible is clear: In this world we will face trials, struggles, problems, griefs, and flat-out evil. It is also very clear that in clinging to the other truths we have learned that we are not forgotten. That there will be a day of reckoning when all will be made right. That we are completely loved and fully forgiven. And the essential truth of today’s verse—that through our suffering we reveal God’s righteousness and advance His kingdom.
DIG: Write down the struggles you are currently facing.

DISCOVER: What are some of the ways God is using them to increase your faith and the depth of your relationship with Him?
DISPLAY: Advance the Kingdom by sharing with someone today how your trust in God has impacted the way you face struggles.