1 THESSALONIANS 3:6-10 (ESV)
“But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?”
When writing to the young church at Thessalonica, the apostle Paul was delighted to hear of their active faith from Timothy. Paul was very concerned for the faith of these new Christians. Due to disruptions and riots, Paul could not stay and minister to this new congregation as he intended to do (ref. Acts 17; 18). As any concerned father, we can imagine his joy and thankfulness to hear that they were doing well in the Lord and growing in faithfulness.
Often, many struggle with how to grow and develop faith in the Lord. Looking at the example of the church at Thessalonica offers a few keys to a growing faith.
It’s not known what all this church may have known or how much Paul could have shared as he taught them before his hasty departure. However, what can be seen is their active faith. Earlier in the letter, Paul recorded:
1 THESSALONIANS 1:6-8 (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.”
What is it that they were doing? They were actively practicing the godly examples they had witnessed in the life of Paul and others. They were actively practicing what they did know. In doing so, their faith in the Lord had become an example to others.
It may be a struggle to develop and deepen our faith in the Lord. There may be struggles and challenges to overcome. How is faith developed? Actively practice what you know. At first, our knowledge of the Lord may be limited. We may not fully understand everything revealed to us in the Scriptures concerning the Lord. What can we learn from the church at Thessalonica? They actively practiced what they knew and saw in others. In having an active faith, they were serving as an example to others.
Growing faith will not be idle. Faith that grows and develops will be active. Faith can be developed by activating what we know. In doing so, faithfulness can serve as an example to others.
Scripture taken from the English Standard Version, The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.