“Patience of Hope”

By J. L. Leifeste

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

These are troubling words to read when one desires to live godly in Christ Jesus. No right-thinking person wishes to be devoured by Satan. But it is clear that Christians will face temptations and persecutions. So how do we confront these things with assurance of our own victories and the Lord's acceptance?

The apostle Paul, through inspiration, wrote to the church in Thessalonica and congratulated them for their faith, love, and “patience of hope” (1 Thess. 1:3). These words “patience of hope” refer to the ability of the Thessalonian Christians to endure both active temptation and vigorous persecution. Throughout all of the attacks of evil they remained faithful and applied themselves with great effect to the Lord‘s work. What enabled them to endure temptations and persecutions?

The Thessalonian Christians had solid faith. They believed and held to the truths that they had been taught. The desire to accomplish good deeds and be of true Christian character was strong in them (1 Thess. 2:13; 4:9-10).

They shared Christian encouragement among themselves. This not only helped their personal Christian growth but, just as importantly, it aided their ability to withstand the numerous pressures of Satan (1 Thess. 2:11; 5:11).

They had strong expectations in God's promises for the future. They were looking forward to the return of Christ and an eternity with God (1 Thess. 1:9-10). Happiness in Christian duties was theirs. They realized that each good deed and every successful effort in being faithful leads to personal satisfaction and delight in the accomplishment. As Christians, they kept growing in spiritual things (1 Thess. 3:9-4:12).

So we see that, to help us overcome our temptations and be faithful throughout persecutions:

We must study the Bible and build a solid faith (2 Thess. 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Galatians 3:11; Romans 12:2). A strong faith helps us face each temptation with more determination to remain faithful and godly (2 Cor. 9:8; Phil. 1:27-28). Temptation is a struggle that proves our faith, and we grow in spiritual strength by facing and defeating each desire toward sin which attacks us (James 1:2-4). We need not fear these tests of faith, for we know that everyone faces temptations (James 1:13-14). But we, as Christians, have the help of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15) and God the heavenly Father (1 Cor. 10:13), to remain faithful (Eph. 6:16). And when we overcome temptations and remain faithful through persecutions, we also realize the happiness (blessedness) of being faithful (James 5:11; 1 Peter 3:14-17).

We must encourage one another and help each other to be spiritually strong and faithful (1 Peter 5:8-9; 1 Thess. 5:11, 14; Romans 8:28). It is important for each of us to be concerned with the spiritual well-being of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Likewise, it is comforting to have our spiritual family show concern for us. Such closeness helps to build a stronger faith. We often find that temptations will shrink and persecutions can become more bearable when we are blessed with the encouragement of other Christians.

We must cling to our anticipation of the fulfillment of God's promises through Christ (1 Cor. 1:9). By our obedience to the gospel of Christ, we are children of God and in grace through Christ (Romans 5:1-5). We should enjoy growing in the true faith and give serious attention to doing so (Eph. 4:14-15; 1 Peter 2:1-5). Living more godly lives gives us a unique satisfaction (1 Timothy 6:6). So we look forward to growing in all spiritual things (2 Timothy 2:15; Phil. 4:8; Eph. 6:10-18) and to spending eternity in heaven (Romans 8:18; Phil. 3:20; 1 Peter 4:13).

All Christians are tempted to do evil. All Christians, by hurtful voice or violent hand, or in various different ways, are persecuted. And yet every Christian has the help of God, the heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. With a strong faith, encouragement, and correct expectations, every Christian can endure temptations and persecutions. Build solid faith, encourage each other, and look forward to all blessings and promises of Christ. Realize the “patience of hope.”


“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3).

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, of famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is Written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).