Flourishing Faith and Growing Love
2 Thessalonians 1:3
Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.
What would the world look like if all the churches received a letter like this? Flourishing faith and growing love are obvious and noticeable things. And obvious and noticeable things make people think. And we want people to think about Jesus.
That’s all we want to do, right? We want people to think about Jesus, and the best way to do that is to do the things he does. It’s really quite simple and doesn’t cost any money either. Churches do not need elaborate programs with trendy slogans and lots of money to purchase them. Churches just need to promote two things: Faith and Love.
The way to grow faith is to teach it. Churches should simply teach what the Bible says.
Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Romans 10:17) People who have a place to go where they can hear the Word of God taught accurately and often will flourish in their faith. I think this verse says “hearing” the word because not everyone read and not everyone had scrolls on the shelf at home back in Bible times. But reading the Bible definitely counts as hearing the word, and the more we hear by reading certainly grows our faith as well.
The way to grow love is to do it. This requires a little sacrifice to one’s own personal preferences and that’s about it; it’s not tough to do. It’s like when parents want their older kid not to squabble with the younger kid even though it might not be “fair.” Love involves being patient, kind, and not getting your own way all the time. (See 1 Corinthians 13:4-7) That’s how we teach our older children to get along with their younger siblings, and it is what we must do within our church family. 1 Corinthians 13 goes on to say, When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. It is unbecoming for a teenager to act more like a child than an adult, and it’s unbecoming when a Believer does not make allowances for someone else’s faults. (See Colossians 3:13)
Jesus said, in John 13:35, Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. My action is my faith on display.
And John said, in 1 John 4:20-21, If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.
And I learned these truths about love from hearing (reading) the Word and growing my faith.
Help my faith and love to both grow today with no end in sight. Help me do what I do correctly more, and help me put away childish things and not do things that are unbecoming for someone who loves you. I love you so much and desire to obey you with all my heart. Help love and faith be on the hearts and minds of all Believers today so our little gathering places can be noticed by all, especially the ones who might seek you. I love you and thank you for giving me love and faith through your Son, Jesus, in whose name I pray, amen.