You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
Paul is extremely complimentary to the Christians in Thessalonica. In spite of persecution, they are not side-tracked from the purpose of every student of Jesus. To become more like the Teacher!
These new Christians find a living model of Christ-likeness in Paul and his missionary partners. They not only believe the message about Jesus Paul preaches, they want to become like Paul in their way of living.
This happens because Paul is an example for them of what it means to be a good student of Jesus - You know how we lived among you for your sake.
Every student of Jesus has an influence on every other student of Jesus. Here we see a living example in the lives of Paul and the Thessalonians how powerful a model of Christ-like living can be to change lives!
Paul mentions the joy given by the Holy Spirit. It is through the work of the Spirit in our lives that becoming more like Jesus is possible.
Jesus is the perfect model for Paul. Through Paul’s example, the Thessalonians look to Jesus as a model for their lives. Then something else happens.
The Thessalonians became a model for others also - And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
Apparently their faith is so strong it motivates them to spread the message of Jesus beyond the city of Thessalonica. Others, who never met Paul, begin to speak of the Thessalonians as a model of changed lives.
They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven …Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.