Growing Faith and Love Are Essential, Not Optional

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: 2 Thess. 1:3
Full Text: Prov. 27, 2 Thess. 1
Photo of the Day: #TPFperspective

Growth | Paul didn’t just thank God for the faith and love of the Thessalonians; he thanked God for their growing faith and increasing love: “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing” [1]. Paul loved progress and growth – especially in faith toward God and love toward others.

Testimony | Why does it matter whether we’re growing in faith and love? Faith and love are essential, not optional, in the Christian life [2]. They are gifts from God [3] and He wills that we grow in them. What does it mean, therefore, if we’re not growing and increasing in these things that God gives and wills in the lives of His people? One option is that we may not be Christians. Another option, however, is that we may be Christians, but we may be grieving the Holy Spirit with a temporary rebellion against Him [4].

Diagnosis | How do we know whether we’re growing in these areas? In other words, what does growth mean? First, it does not mean that every day is better than the day before. The question is whether the overall trajectory is upward. Second, it does not mean that our lives are without trouble. The Thessalonians had growing faith and increasing love even in affliction. As Paul wrote, “Therefore we ourselves boast about you … for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring” [5]. It does look like, however, an increasing thirst for God, a desire for His Word, a love for His church, a concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others, a grieving over sin, a yearning for heaven, and a forgiving of others [6].

Prayer | Lord, we give you thanks for our growth in faith and our increase in love because we know that they are gifts from you. Yet we confess that our faith must grow and our love must increase even more because we have not arrived where we ought to be. Although we are unholy, your kingdom is holy. Therefore, fit us for our ultimate calling homeward in Christ. Let us not be stagnant. Purify us as your children. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] 2 Thess. 1:3 ESV  |  [2] See Matthew 22:36-40  |  [3] Faith is a gift from God. See Eph. 2:8-10.  |  [4] See Eph. 4:30 (and entire chapter – Eph. 4).  |  [5] 2 Thess. 1:4 ESV  |  [6] See 843 Acres, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health. March 14, 2012.

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