In my daily Bible Study I am working my way through Paul’s letter to various churches in the New Testament. One of my favorite things about these letters is the way that he opens them and the way that he closes them. In his greetings to and descriptions of various people I am convicted with the desire for God to manifest these traits in me as well.
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 is one such example - “We always thank God for you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In breaking these verses down what does it mean when our work is produced by faith? James 2:17 tells us that faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. Conversely, then, we need to strive for a living and vibrant faith that produces action. Action that helps others, rights wrongs, and allows us to work as the hands and feet of Jesus in a hurting world.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 shares the hope that our God may count us worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of ours and every act prompted by our faith.
What would it look like if our labor was also prompted by love? The three words faith, hope and love are used together throughout the New Testament. The most recognized verse is probably 1 Corinthians 13:13 – “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
It is because of God’s love for us that he sent his Son. It because of the Son’s love for us that he was willing to die on the cross. It is because of our love for God that we need to be prompted to labor/action. Love needs to be the foundation beneath every move we make and action we take.
And finally, what would endurance look like if it were inspired by our hope in our Lord Jesus Christ? Hope is not wishful thinking based on our needs and desires but an unshakeable confidence in Jesus and eternal life.
Titus 1:2 describes, “a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” When our hope is in God and the promise of eternal life we are able to endure much more than if our hope is in someone or something else.
Precious Father, help us to draw near to you with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. Help us to hold unswervingly to the hope we profess. Thank you that you who promised are faithful. Lord, may we spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Amen (Hebrews 10:22-24)