1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NASB) just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
Paul considered himself a “spiritual father” to the believers at Thessalonica, just as he did toward the saints at Corinth. The Spirit of God used the Word of God in Paul’s ministry, and many people in Thessalonica were born again into the family of God. But the father not only begets the children; he also cares for them. As he defended his own work against false accusations, Paul points out three of his duties as the spiritual father to the Thessalonian’s.
A father must not only support the family by working, and teach the family by being a good example. He must also take time to speak to the family members. Paul knew the importance of teaching these new believers the truths that would help them grow in the Lord. Interesting words in the passage:
Paul dealt with each of the believers personally. As busy as he was, Paul still had time for personal counseling with the members of the assembly. In verse 11, we see that while it is good for church leaders to address the larger group, spending time with people on a one-to-one basis is also needed. Our Lord was never too busy to speak to individuals, even though He preached to great multitudes. To be sure, this is difficult and demanding work. But it is rewarding work that glorifies God.
Paul encouraged the new believers. This is what a father does with his children, because children are easily discouraged. New Christians need someone to encourage them in the Lord.
Paul also comforted them. This word carries the same idea of “encouragement,” with the emphasis on activity. Paul not only made them feel better, but he made them want to do better. A father must not pamper a child; rather, he must encourage the child to go right back and try over again.
Finally, Paul charged them. Out of his own experience with the Lord, he gave personal witness. Sometimes we go through difficulties so that we may share with new Christians what the Lord has done.
We who are parents know that our children (especially teenagers) do not like to hear us say, “Now, back when I was a kid …” But this is an important part of training a family. It is a wonderful thing when a “spiritual father” can encourage and help his “children” out of his own experience with the Lord. “Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (Ps. 34:11).
What was the purpose for this fatherly ministry to the believers? His aim was that his children might “walk worthy of God” (verse 12). Just as a father wants to be proud of his children, so the Lord wants to get glory through the lives of His children. Paul ministered to them in such a personal way because he was teaching them how to walk.
Every child must learn how to walk. He must have good models to follow. Paul admonished them to walk “worthy of the Lord”. We are to walk worthy of the calling we have in Christ Jesus. God has called us; we are saved by grace. We are a part of His kingdom and glory. One day we shall enter the eternal kingdom and share His glory. This assurance ought to govern our lives and make us want to please the Lord.
The verb in 1 Thessalonians 2:12 is in the present tense: “who calls you.” God called us to salvation, and He is constantly calling us to a life of holiness and obedience.