Love and Faith
“And being persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and will continue with you all for your advancement and joy of faith”
In the verses preceding Paul was torn between two desires: one was to be with Christ, the other to remain in prison to be used by God for the furtherance and advancement of the people of God. His purpose in life was simple and pure; to see the progress of others in their faith. His life was filled with passion because he was no longer his own. The risen Christ had the supremacy in his heart. Let us breathe in the spirit of the great prayer of Jesus in John 17:
“And for their sakes I sanctify myself…”
The self-less One, the One who made Himself of no reputation in the eyes of men, came to bring light into this dark world. He came to set the addicted free, to seek the lost. and to be the breath of heaven to the hopeless. He who so lived and walked has come to fill our hearts with the same Spirit of grace and wonder. Paul in his epistle to the Church at Corinth pressed them:
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:58
Those filled with His Life are fully occupied in His Work. “Always abounding in the work OF the Lord”. Within His Own, there is a preoccupation with His love concerning the state of others. As His life grows within we become extensions of His heart and life to others. The works of Christ are those which proceed from the life of Christ. It cannot be otherwise.
Your work and labor of love
May these words reverberate in our hearts, and lay hold of us until we are “always abounding” in His work as we partake of His Life. Paul prayed for the Church in Thessalonica:
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
“Your work of faith…”
Truth to be true in us must become personal and real. “Your work of faith”. Faith is the power and the initiator of the works of God. If we are held in its vibrancy, works will be the result.
“labor of love”
The Greek word used here for “labor” is more akin to the labor a woman experiences in childbirth. It is a groaning and a burden produced by the love of God for another life. It is a sure sign that the love which beats in our hearts is alive unto Him who is our burden bearer.
I woke up this morning with the stirring of His Spirit to “press on” into Him from whom flow His works, His heart, and His Life. Slumber is an easy thing to slip into and time passes quickly. It is my prayer that we would be captivated afresh by His purposes for each of us in our daily walks.
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God”
So true Brian
Over the years I have often thought “am I doing anything in faith” because of an overwhelming desire to be doing “kingdom” things? I usually find out that the many things done “naturally” because of walking continuously with the Lord, are, faith at work but not recognized because the outworking of our faith is like an everchanging landscape if we are always moving. It is hard to evaluate ourselves in humility and we don’t see our thumb on the scales if blinded by pride.
A good view of things. The sower rarely sees even the sprouts…
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