1 Thes. 1:6-10 (ESV)
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,  so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.  For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.
The result of faith? The Thessalonians became imitators of Paul and his entourage, and of the Lord. In other words they received the word in much affliction. Somehow it has gotten out there that to be a Christian is to become successful. We think we are being persecuted if someone doesn’t listen to us, or doesn’t want to hear our mantra about how “God loves you.” Christianity is not a bed of roses. One way or another you will suffer for it. You will not receive your best life now for it. That is the point of Christianity, that is the reason we suffer as Christians. We know that we have a better life waiting for us. The Thessalonians at least knew this. They received the word in the midst of affliction. In this they became an example to all the believers. They were examples in that they believed despite the persecution. Not because they managed to get a nice house, with a big garage and a few cars for believing.
Persecution still happens. Here in the states it isn’t noticed much. Most of it is not very overt. In Utah it may be a little more so. The climate here is one that just slowly grinds at the soul. Family pressure not to become Christian is intense. There are places though where people lose their lives for the faith. Some lose their spouses. Some never see their children again. These people are examples of faith. Not that they don’t sin. I’m sure they do. I’m sure they don’t suffer with smiles on their faces. They get mad, they lash out at times. But they stand firm in the faith. And return to Christ for forgiveness when they go wrong. And their faith reaches us it goes everywhere before them.