Scripture Reading: II Thessalonians 1:1-4
“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all you persecution and in the afflictions that you are enduring.” (II Thessalonians 1:3,4)
II Thessalonians is a follow up letter to the first epistle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. The Thessalonians were fairly new believers. Paul wrote to encourage them in their faith and to correct any misunderstandings they had.
In the opening verses of this letter, Paul commends the Thessalonians for three core marks of discipleship. First, he writes — “Your faith is growing abundantly” (v. 3b). Disciples of Jesus Christ grow spiritually. We must learn to trust Jesus no matter what we are facing. Sanctification by definition implies growth in faith. We must invest in our spiritual growth. The more we experience a true relationship with Jesus, the more we will grow in our faith. We have to spend time with Jesus in prayer and in meditation upon His Word for us to experience growth in our faith.
The second mark is an increasing love for one another (v. 3c). God gives us the ability to love each other. Love is a fruit of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22,23). The more we love our Lord, the more we will be able to love others. The love of Christ can flow through us, which enables us to love others with His love.
The third mark is that disciples remain steadfast in their sufferings (v. 4) . We are to anticipate times of afflictions. The early believers in Thessalonica experienced severe persecution and affliction. Yet they stood firm and remained faithful to their Lord. We will go through times of adversity. When we do, we must remember — “Faithful is He who calls you, and He will bring it to pass” (I Thessalonians 5:24).
Lord Jesus, You have called me to be Your disciple. I pray that I will grow in my faith as I seek to follow You. I pray that I will be able to love others with Your love. And I pray that I will remain steadfast during times of suffering. I know I am not alone. I have You with me always. You will give me the power to do these things.
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