1 Thessalonians 1:6
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The remarkable thing about today’s verse is how Paul understands what it means to be an “imitator” of the Lord and his apostles. He does not say, “You walked on water, raised the dead, preached to thousands or traveled endless weary miles like we did.” He says the mark of an imitator of Christ is “affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit.” This is why Christians can live such varied lives, yet still be marked by the sign of the cross—-affliction-—and the sign of the resurrection—-joy in the Holy Spirit. Those two things, like the two beams of the cross, seem to contradict each other, yet they reach out to encompass the world with the fullness of the word of Christ. Today thank God for sharing his life—-both the cross of affliction and the joy of resurrection—-with you.