“For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 3.8 NIV).
Timothy, Paul’s spiritual student, has brought report back to Paul that the Thessalonians are standing firm in their faith despite persecution. Paul has poured his life into these people, teaching them the Gospel through words, actions and deeds. So to hear that his obedience to God’s call was making a difference on earth made Paul feel alive. He knows that his obedience, faith and work are bearing fruit in the lives of others. The word live is the Greek word zao, which means to enjoy real life. Although this word is short and simple, it offers a powerful portrayal of what it means to truly be alive. Paul says to really live we must be producing godly fruit in the people around us—fruit that comes from “standing firm in the Lord.” When Paul sees that fruit—no matter the persecution and trials that surround him—he feels like his life has meaning and his obedience to God truly matters. Satan will try to seduce us with the riches, pleasures and even worries of the world to replace truly living, but only bearing fruit from our obedience to God will ever make us really feel alive.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1.21 ESV).