As teenagers, you are at a crucial stage in your faith journey. It’s a time when you are forming your own beliefs, values, and convictions. The world around you is filled with influences that can either strengthen or weaken your faith. In 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8, the Apostle Paul shares insights on how to live a life of influence and integrity as followers of Christ. This passage is relevant to you because it challenges you to be intentional about your faith, to live it out authentically, and to impact others positively.
Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
“You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. Instead, we were like young children among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.”
- Paul acknowledges the challenges they faced when sharing the gospel, yet they remained steadfast in their mission. They were not motivated by personal gain but by their love for God and people.
- Authenticity: Paul emphasizes the importance of being genuine in our faith, not putting on masks or using flattery to please others. Our faith should be rooted in truth and sincerity.
- Sacrificial Love: Paul and his companions loved the Thessalonians deeply. They not only shared the message of the gospel but also shared their lives with them, willing to work hard and make sacrifices for their sake.
- How do you think the authenticity of our faith affects our ability to influence others?
- Can you share an example of someone who has had a positive influence on your faith? What made them impactful?
- In what ways can we actively demonstrate sacrificial love to those around us?
- How can we balance sharing the gospel with others without seeking personal praise or recognition?
Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 (Continued)
“You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”
- Paul highlights their conduct among the Thessalonians, emphasizing their holiness and righteous living as a testimony to their faith.
- Fatherly Love: Paul compares their relationship with the Thessalonians to that of a father with his children. They cared for them, encouraged them, and urged them to live lives worthy of God’s calling.
- The Thessalonians not only received the word of God but also believed it as the actual word of God, recognizing its transformative power in their lives.
- How can we encourage and comfort others in their faith journey?
- In what ways can we strive to live lives worthy of God’s calling?
- How can we ensure that we see the word of God as more than just human words, but as the actual word of God that transforms our lives?
Youth Group Game: “Influence Relay”
Divide into teams. Each team will be given a scenario where they need to demonstrate positive influence. For example, one scenario could be helping a friend resist peer pressure to engage in harmful activities. The team must come up with a creative and positive solution within a time limit. The team with the most impactful and realistic solution wins.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of Paul and his companions, who lived lives of authentic faith and sacrificial love. Help us, as teenagers, to grow in our faith and be intentional about positively influencing those around us. May we be bold in sharing the gospel, genuine in our relationships, and selfless in our love. Give us the wisdom and strength to live a life that reflects Your truth and brings glory to Your name. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.