“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,” (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 NKJV)
Paul had nothing but praise for the way the Thessalonians were growing in the faith and in how they showed that by loving each other. It should be obvious that when faith grows, our love for other Christians grows and our empathy for people outside the faith also grows, but sadly, many who claim to be growing in the faith are seen more for their self-righteousness than their “God righteousness.” What should happen is that the stronger our faith grows, others should notice the differences and talk about us in a way that gives the honor and glory to God. Paul talked about the Thessalonians to the other churches because he noted their growing love for each other and endurance in the midst of persecution.
I wonder what other Christians would say of me, were they to look at my growth? Would they say that I was excelling in love or the I tended to judge too much? Would people “boast” about my patience in enduring difficulties or would they note my lack of patience? As followers of Christ, we’re expected to grow in our faith. Those expectations are confirmed or denied based on how we show love to God, toward each other, and in our patience and trust in God in difficult times. As we grow in Christ as shown by our improvement in those areas, others will notice and we’ll have more opportunities to share the good news about Jesus.
Lord, help me to grow in my faith. Keep me on the right track every day and help me to love my brothers and sisters in Christ all the more. Help me to endure the difficulties of life, especially those that may come because of my faith, with patience.