Day 3

You Are Our Glory and Joy

from the 1 & 2 Thessalonians reading plan


1 Thessalonians 2:1-20, 1 Corinthians 9:3-14, Hebrews 4:12

BY Kaitlin Wernet

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-20, 1 Corinthians 9:3-14, Hebrews 4:12

I send more emails every day than I can count, but there’s one that brings me an inordinate amount of joy. It’s not work-related, requires many pop culture references, and has low standards for correct grammar. Any questions as to why it’s my favorite?

You see, a few years ago, I was sitting at my desk at a new job when an email popped up from a name I recognized, yet hadn’t talked to in quite some time. “LONG LOST FRIEND” was in the subject line, and the unnecessary capitalization has become our own kind of necessary in the hundreds of emails that have been sent and received since.

What started out as a lighthearted attempt for two girlfriends to catch up over lunch breaks and between meetings became a regular rhythm in my day, and eventually, the sweetest lifeline. This email chain connected two very different lives: one single and dating, and the other newly married; one in Tennessee and the other in Mississippi. But despite our different seasons of life, both of us needed encouragement, typed-out prayers, and echoes of “me too” in ways we couldn’t before describe.

Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians puts words to why the silly emails between my friend and me aren’t so silly after all: God created our lives to be shared. When the Thessalonians read Paul’s words for the first time, I like to imagine them getting the same silly grin I do when an email pops up from my modern-day pen pal. Paul was their guy! He understood them! Thessalonica was going through their own share of suffering and affliction, but this letter was filled with gospel truths—the motivation they needed to help them endure.

Paul’s letter illustrates that being a family of faith involves knowing and being known. His writing assumes a prior two-way relationship, one that repeats phrases like “for you yourselves know” and “as you know.” Closeness in community is vital for any gospel-centered relationship—in ministry, in suffering, and everything in between. But this closeness is not merely circumstantial or emotional; it is rooted in truth and grown in grace.

One of the best ways to receive and offer encouragement in community is through God’s Word. Paul knew the importance of communicating the truth about Jesus, mentioning Him by name in every single chapter of 1 Thessalonians. As sisters in Christ, we too ought to permanently carry the gospel of hope on our tongues.

God gives us pieces of His own love when He gives us friendship with one another. Whether with a faraway friend via email or a coworker over coffee, we get to witness redemption, encourage growth, and partake in God’s goodness when we share with others “not only the gospel of God but also our own lives” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Thanks be to God.

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Post Comments (143)

143 thoughts on "You Are Our Glory and Joy"

  1. Elizabeth Alyse says:

    It is so hard to find a solid community even in a successful church. I love this study but sometimes I wish I could meet everyone in person!

  2. Sherry Watkins says:

    We don’t have any community really here at our new duty station, it has been hard and I feel very lonely, unloved and unseen. My depression has been worse than ever and even though we live in the states now we are still very far from family

    1. Jessica Wayer says:

      Hey Sherry! This is Jessica and I am apart of Upward Church Online! I just wanted to reach out to you and love on you a bit because I know how it feels to be lonely. We too are also far away from family. I’d love to connect with you through our online campus. We have a true family of friends and an awesome support staff to help you get connected and help you not feel lonely by plugging you in to groups of people. I want to give you my email. Please reach out to me because I’d love to pray for you and get to know you. [email protected]

  3. Sarah Robbins says:

    I really appreciated this devotional. I feel that sometimes it’s easy to feel lonely even among other believers if the relationships don’t resemble true Christian fellowship, but are rather a shallow, surface-level friendship. It’s a blessing to be able to share deeply with those who are of like mind in the Lord, but it does require two people who are willing to do that with each other.

  4. Traci Brocklehurst says:

    Lord, may we have words of life and truth for everyone around us. May we motivate our faith family and “permanently carry the gospel of hope on our tongues”. Amen.

  5. Lindsey Bailey says:

    I am reading this devotional because I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep because I was just woken abruptly from a deep sleep by neighbors knocking on our bedroom window at 12:45am on a week night. My heart is still heavy and can’t quiet. We live in the country, so when I say neighbor, I mean the family living in the house just beyond the 100 acre field and the other neighbor who lives just on the other side of the pond. Two police cars and an ambulance raced down an otherwise quiet dirt road. There was a drowning in the pond just beyond our home. Two men fishing tragically never came home. My neighbors seeing the police cars and hearing the sirens were searching for us frantically praying it wasn’t our young children in the accident. Our phones were full of missed calls and texts messages pleading to tell them we were ok. And finally in a last desperate attempt they knocked on our bedroom window. This is community. Neighbors looking out for one another. Friendship that has formed because we are logistically close to one another, but more than that it has progressed through birthday parties, borrowing flour and eggs and visiting with meals during times of sickness. Community is all around us and in so many ways. They communicated God’s love to our family tonight through there deep concern. We share pieces of God’s love in the many types of relationships God, brings into our lives.

  6. Natasha Smith says:

    *dear friend. Wishing I would learn to proof read before sending… haha

  7. Natasha Smith says:

    Since the birth of my second child, I have felt extremely disconnected from our church family and friends. I long to feel know and feel known by a dead friend, but it’s been hard. I feel like I’m experiencing life behind a thin veil of smoke and can’t quite understand others or they just don’t seem to understand me. I am sure one day soon I will understand what this season has been trying to teach me. Ladies, I am praying for you all. Lord, provide us all with a dear friend that can help speak your truths into our lives every day — someone who gets it. Most of all, thank you God for knowing us intimately. For caring about the longings of our hearts and creating us in your image. Thank you, God, the friend that is in Jesus Christ. Stir our affections for you this week.

    1. Hannah Emmert says:

      Our church family mainly consists of elderly people. My husband is the youth pastor, and we are the only young people that attend that are our age. I am pregnant with our first and I feel your pain. I will be praying for you Natasha! I will pray that the peace of the Lord is overwhelming to your heart this week and that you can sing in thanksgiving “What a friend we have in Jesus!”❤️

  8. Aileen Brigman says:

    Awww..I too need a Christian fiend to share God’s goodness. We need one another during the happy and sad times.. I’ve committed to reading the Bible on a daily basis and this is my 3rd day. I’m so excited to read all the replies, old and new. My email is [email protected]..looking for to building true friendships!

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