Have you ever tried to eliminate a bad habit or begin a new healthy one? Perhaps you wanted to quit smoking, or needed to lose weight, or even decided to learn a new language.
To accomplish your goal, you had to make at least two changes. First, you had to turn from the bad habit or the way you previously used your time. For instance, if your goal was to begin jogging, you had to turn off the TV, so you could put on your running shoes and head out the door.
Next, you had to repeat this new habit or new use of time over and over again, trusting these new patterns would bring the results you wanted. Going on a jog one time wasn't going to get you in the shape you had in mind when you set the goal to exercise. Rather, consistently hitting the jogging trail would get you to a point of being able to walk up the stairs without elevating your heart rate.
So again, to accomplish your goal, you had to turn from your previous pattern, but then stick with the new pattern, trusting in the results. Becoming a Christian is a bit the same.
Today, we conclude our series Praying for the Spiritually Disconnected with the topic of "Turn & Trust."
In 1 Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul writes,
"For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,"1 Thessalonians 1:9 (ESV)
Paul was sharing with his readers in Thessalonica how they had become a positive example to others (the "they" in the first part of the verse). One of those positive examples they were displaying was by leaving behind their false religions, where they worshipped idols, to turn to worship the One and Only True God.
You see, when the believers in Thessalonica began following Jesus, they didn't engage in syncretism, simply adding Jesus into their current religious beliefs. They completely turned from their false religion to follow what was true.
If you are a follower of Jesus with a friend or loved one that doesn't know the gospel, pray God would turn your friend from their current path and lead them to follow Jesus.
But I'd encourage you to not just pray that they would turn from sin, but that they would also completely trust Jesus.
In the very next verse in 1 Thessalonians, Paul continues,
"and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come."1 Thessalonians 1:10 (ESV)
Paul celebrates that the believers in Thessalonica not only turned from their misguided ways, but that they were willing to wait for Jesus to deliver them "from the wrath to come." Think about that for a moment... that "wait" would require an ongoing trust!
The Jesus-followers of Thessalonica hadn't met Jesus in person. They had only heard the story of His resurrection. Yet, they believed the resurrection to be true. So they reasoned if Jesus could raise Himself from the dead, He could also raise them out of an eternal death separated from God.
As you pray for your friend to know the gospel, pray that as they turn from sin, they would simultaneously have a faith that trusts Jesus in all things. After all, Jesus Himself said,
"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life."John 5:24 (ESV)
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