What Does It Mean to “Turn to God”?

What Does It Mean to “Turn to God”?

In the book of 1 Thessalonians Paul is so thankful for these Christians faithfulness. In Acts 17, Paul established this church and had to leave very soon because of persecution. Since that moment, Paul had worried about these Christians. So, he sent Timothy to them to check on them and make sure they were going to be okay (1 Thessalonians 3:1-3). When Timothy reported back to Paul, Paul was thrilled to hear that these Christians had remained faithful and continued to grow despite the poor circumstance (1 Thessalonians 3:6-8).

Paul makes a comment to these Christians in 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, that shows what these people had been doing since they turned to God. Paul said, “For they themselves report about us what kind of reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” What we see in this passage is that these Christians, that Paul is so thankful for, had turned to God and were actively doing two things.

  1. They turned to God “to serve” (1 Thessalonians 1:9) The first thing they were doing is serving a living and true God. It is a pretty common thing to hear that Christians “serve God,” but what does that really mean? The Greek word for “serve” comes from the same Greek word for “slave.” Serving God is the idea of putting yourself into a position as a slave of God. That is what these Christians had done. They turned from the meaningless idols of the world to be a slave of the one true and living God. Have you made yourself into a slave for God? When you turned to God, did you see yourself has putting yourself under God’s ownership to use and utilize as He pleases? This is what Paul was so thankful to hear of in the lives of these Christians. Would Paul be thankful for your faithfulness today if he heard of the way you were living? If we are truly serving God, as we claim to be, we ought to be a people who put ourselves under His ownership to be used as He pleases.
  2. They turned to God “to wait” (1 Thessalonians 1:10) The second thing they were doing is waiting for Jesus to return from Heaven. These Christian people had turned from idols who gave them no hope after this life so that they could have a hope after this life in Jesus. These Christians were eagerly waiting for the return of Jesus so that they could go on to something greater than this world. Is that your attitude? Are you someone who is eagerly waiting for the return of Christ? If Jesus came back today, would you be ready for that? Paul was thankful for Christians who were eagerly anticipating the return of Jesus. We must strive to be those who are waiting for this world to end and the new one to come.

Paul was thrilled to hear about the faithfulness of the Christians in Thessalonica because of their attitude to serve God and to wait for Jesus to return. We should strive to be a people who do the same. I want to encourage you to be like the Thessalonians, who turned to God in order to serve God and to wait for Jesus’ return.

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