Scripture Reading; I Thessalonians 1:1-3
“We give thanks to God always, for all of you, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thessalonians 1:2,3)
On several occasions in Scripture we find the triad of faith, hope and love. As Paul begins his first epistle to the Thessalonians, he acknowledges that the believers there were practicing this gracious triad. I call it gracious because all three qualities are gifts from God.
Paul first acknowledged their work of faith. We know that faith is a gift from God — “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). While faith is a gift from God, exercising faith takes effort on our part. We have to work at trusting God, as we remember that “the righteous man shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). We are called to put our faith into action. We do so as we draw our confidence and power from the resurrected Christ who lives in us — “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live BY FAITH in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Second, Paul recognized that the Thessalonians sought to work out their love. He called it a “labor of love.” Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). This kind of love is something that God produces in us as we yield to the Spirit’s presence and will for our lives. We love because God first loved us –“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” ( John 4:10). Our work for God is motivated by our love for Him. If we love God we will serve Him joyfully and willingly. Our labor of love also involves loving others with the love of God — “Beloved, let us love one another, for love for from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (I John 4:7).
Third, Paul commends the Thessalonians for their steadfastness of hope. Our hope is found in Jesus Christ –“Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). The gift of hope is sure and steadfast — “This hope we have as a anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast, and one which enters within the veil” (Hebrews 6:19). It is this hope that enables us to endure the hardships and disappointments we will face on earth and it is the hope that will lead us to our eternal home.
Lord, the Giver of every good and perfect gift, You have graciously blessed me with the gifts of faith, hope and love. I pray that today I put into practice my faith and that I work by Your power to love, and that I rest in the hope that I have, knowing that Christ lives in me.
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