At the end of 1 Thessalonians 3, we find Paul praying for the church in Thessalonica. He had prayed God would bring him to the church there, but God had not allowed it to happen. So Paul prayed three things for the church. First he prayed that the Thessalonians’ faith might mature (1Thess. 3:10). Looking to the Old Testament, God shows how faith matures by testing. Abraham was tested by God when he arrived in the land of Canaan and found a famine. Abraham had to trust God to take care of him, but he failed and went to Egypt for help. Each step of the way, God brought about moments where Abraham had to learn to trust him. Faith that is not tested cannot be trusted.
Second, Paul prayed that the Thessalonians’ love might abound (1 Thess. 3:12). As hard times come from the testing of faith, people have two reactions–shut others out or reach out to God and His people. Paul was praying the people in Thessalonica would not shut down and close themselves off to each other but would rather depend on God and reach out to their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. By doing this, their love for one another would grow and they would be able to help each other out. Jesus said in John 13:34-35 that the world would know that we are his disciples if we love one another.
Lastly, Paul prayed for holiness of life for the Thessalonians. Paul was encouraging the people to allow their lives to be transformed to look more like Christ as they were preparing for the return of Christ. We, too, should be preparing for His return.
As you look at your life three thought to ponder:
- How are you maturing in your faith?
- Where are some areas of your life you could show more love?
- What are you doing to be transformed to be more like Christ?