2 THESSALONIANS 1:1-4 – Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 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 your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.”
THEME OF THE DAY: FAITH, HOPE, LOVE, SUFFERING. The scriptures repeatedly acknowledge the triad of Christian virtues – faith, hope, and love – that are the characteristics marking true Christians. They have been called “three divine sisters” or “three beautiful sisters” joined hand in hand. Settle in and ponder four of their appearances in God’s Word – Remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:3); So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13); But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8); and For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:10-12).
As encouraging as these are, and they are, there is a fourth one that is a part of faith, hope, and love. In fact, this is what deepens all three. It is this fourth element in the Christian life that validates the presence of faith, hope, and love as well as matures them. Without this, our faith, hope, and love grows stale, even drifts into a life of indifference. It is the call to suffer. And the Apostle Paul reminds the Thessalonian believers who were known for their faith, hope, and love of the inevitable presence of suffering in their lives. In today’s scripture he writes, “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 your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.”
Friends, if there is no suffering in our lives as Christians for being Christians in some form or fashion, one of two things is true of us. First, we are not Christians despite what we think or believe for every true Christian will suffer. The Apostle Paul made this clear to a young pastor named Timothy – Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). Or we are true Christians but spiritually immature lacking the knowledge that suffering is God’s gift, yes, gift, to make us like Jesus. Again from the Apostle Paul writing to the Philippians. He would tell them “Suffering is a gift from God just like believing faith in Christ” – For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake (Philippians 1:29),
So as we rejoice in the “three divine sisters” – faith, hope, and love – God has placed in our hearts as His children, let’s not forget the additional “family member” – suffering. It is the one that makes the others mature and thrive. .
PRAYER: “Father, may I not only rejoice in the gifts of faith and love from You but also the profitable gift of suffering.”
QUOTE: “Faith, hope and love are the great triad of Christian virtues but embedded in all is the gift and call to suffer.”
Because of Him,