1 Thessalonians 1:3 We 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.
I know I have written on this verse multiple times in the past, but it is so outstanding that I can’t resist writing on it again. We are so prone to separate our lives, and our hearts, into little boxes, when it is all interrelated, and all important. This verse particularly speaks to the “faith vs. works” argument that has surfaced multiple times over the course of Church history. As the Thessalonians exemplified, genuine faith will prompt action, and love will make us work hard at it. However, the world is not an easy place to live, and it takes hope in Christ Jesus to give us the endurance to get through it all. One of the “signature” verses of my ministry is where Jesus addressed that last issue. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus knew what He was talking about! As the world has become so much more convenient, materially speaking, with computers, cell phones, microwaves, and the like, we tend to demand that everything be instant, and that’s not how it works. Having things easy fosters immaturity, and that can spoil the whole thing for us. Right now our faith and patience are being tried in relation to last month’s election in the US, but things are being uncovered more and more, and evil is being exposed. We need to exercise the things mentioned in this verse in every area of our lives, so that God’s will may be done in and through us, for His glory.
At 72, I’ve had to learn a few things about patient endurance! To be honest, I still haven’t seen the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Japan for which I and my parents before me have labored, going back to 1934. However, I still have faith, love, and hope, and God’s grace is sufficient for me. (2 Corinthians 12:9) I don’t know how much longer I’ll be exercising those things on this earth, but Cathy had an aunt live to 100, and her current oldest aunt is 95, so I have a few examples to follow! I am not to draw back from any task the Lord sets for me, and I am to remember that He sees the end from the beginning; He knows how it all turns out. Accordingly, I am to rest, relax, and rejoice in Him as I focus on daily, faithful obedience.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for how You are working out all the details of my life. May I be anxious about none of it, but rather do everything as a sacrifice of praise and thanks to You, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!