[God] has chosen you. (1 Thessalonians 1:4)
Every Christian knows this, not only from the pages of the Bible, but also from his or her own experience. When you lay hold of Christ by faith, it will not be long before you realize that he has taken hold of you. You’ll begin to experience what Jesus said to his disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16).
Paul tells us in his first letter to the Thessalonians, “We know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you.” How does Paul know this? “Because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1 Thess. 1:4-5).
You know that you are chosen by God because of the effect of the gospel in your life. What was the effect of the gospel in their lives? “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1:9-10). When the power of the gospel brought an inner conviction of sin, the Thessalonians “turned to God from idols” – that’s repentance! This was more than reforming some bad habits; it was an entirely new lifestyle that included serving God.
Your confidence in hard times rests not in the fact that you have laid hold of Christ – though that may be true. Your confidence in hard times rests in the fact that Christ has laid hold of you. Your little faith holding on to him isn’t enough to sustain you in the dark days of life. You need to know that his mighty hand is holding onto you.
What are you looking to for confidence? Your little faith? Or God’s mighty hand?