1 Thessalonians 3:6-13

1 Thes. 3:6-13 (ESV) "But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?

Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints."

In the midst of severe persecution and oppression, we see faith and love thriving among these new believers. The good news of Jesus Christ does make a difference, it does transform lives and bring the kingdom of God into our midst. Paul says that even in their distress and affliction, they are comforted by the faith and love of others. It matters that we stand fast in the Lord and continue moving forward on our faith journey. This steadfastness in faith and outwardly focused love for others is what our church communities should look like. This is a supernatural result of the Holy Spirit's work when we yield our life allowing him to have his way.

Paul knows that the journey continues, and he finishes this chapter praying that these believers would increase and abound in the love they have for one another and for all. This should be our prayer still today. Can we increase and abound in love for one another and others? Can we demonstrate kindness and patience with those who may not walk out their faith in the same manner we do? Can we build a faith community that is known for our abundance of love rather than criticism and judgement? I pray we can be that church.

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