“We remember before our God and Father
your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love,
and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)
Reading the wonderful Puritan author Thomas Manton’s sermon on today’s verse I was struck forcefully by the trinity of expression used by Paul. Here in the small space of a few words Paul speaks of faith producing works, love prompting works and hope creating endurance.
Certainly when we trust in the Lord we find ourselves seeking to live the life of Christ in our own situation. Believing the teaching of Jesus and trusting in His redemptive work we cannot help ourselves as we feel the desire within to do the Lord’s will from gratitude to Him for all He has done for us.
As the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts (Romans 5:5) we are energized to do the good works for which we have been recreated in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:11). This is why believers do not find living for the Lord a “duty” or a “responsibility”. We desire to live for Him Who first loved us.
Looking no farther than our own family situation we confess that when we do those things that are pleasing to our spouse, our children or our parents—there is great pleasure in the act. We love to purchase just the right gift for our loved one and surprise them on their special birthday. Then too, there are times when we simply do our best for them for the sake of the joy it creates in our own hearts.
How much more then do we delight in obeying from the heart (Romans 6:17) the perfect will of God. To come to the end of the day and prayerfully offer our work to the One we love.
Finally there is the hope within, through the many great and precious promises of Scripture (2 Peter 1:4), that cause us to persist even when things go dreadfully wrong in our situation. We endure because we see the Invisible One (Hebrews 11:27). Our hope will never ultimately bring us to the place of embarrassment and shame. Through patient endurance we shall finally prevail. We shall gain victory in this life and the life to come as we stay steadfast and unmoved in the work of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.
Let nothing move you.
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,
because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Today resolve with the Psalmist, Psalm 71:14 (NIV)
“As for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.”