2 Thessalonians 1
In this follow-up letter to the Thessalonians, Paul is giving thanks for several things:
- Their faith is growing abundantly.
- Their love for everyone and one another is increasing.
- The result is their steadfastness and faithfulness in the midst of great persecutions and afflictions they are enduring.
Growing faith + increasing love + ability to remain steadfast in the storms of life. Who doesn’t want that? So, how do we get there?
Charles Spurgeon says, "Do all you can, and then do a little more; and when you can do that, then do a little more than you can. Always have something in hand that is greater than your present capacity. Grow up to it, and when you have grown up to it, grow more."
We don’t have to look at the faith and love of others and think that we could never get there. We don’t have to instantly have great faith and great ability to love well. We just have to do a little now, then a little more. We can strive to start where we are and grow from there. Like a muscle in training, each stretch of faith and act of love makes us stronger for the next bigger one.
Growth doesn’t happen by taking the easiest road. It comes from making hard choices and doing hard things. And then doing it again. Showing up, practicing, repeating, stretching farther each time. It doesn’t happen overnight; it takes work and practice.
It’s easier to sleep in rather than wake up 30 minutes early for quiet time. It’s easier to go home or to happy hour than to go to that Bible study after work. It’s easier to say no to that prayer group invitation than to step into the uncomfortable. It’s easier to worry and try to control than to trust God. But easy doesn’t lead to growth or transformation, and it isn’t very rewarding.
We have to shift our thinking from a destination where we one day achieve faith or love for others; instead, it is a slow and steady growth process. We don’t just have faith and show love. We grow in it, always striving for more through little steps and acts of obedience along the way. Each step gives us the courage to aim higher next time. And as our faith and love muscle grows, so will our ability to stand strong and steady in times of suffering and trials which are sure to come.
The easy thing is to read this, nod in agreement, and then move on. What if instead, we pray earnestly about it, decide on our next faith and love workout – a specific, tangible thing we can do – and then get to work strengthening those muscles?
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