1 Thessalonians 1:2-4
Prayer, especially incessant prayer, can often get overlooked. I point right at myself with this. We should be continuously lifting each other up in prayer as our battle is spiritual. Therefore, we should intercede on each other’s behalf to ensure we can fight off Satan and his demons in the Name of Jesus! We can find mentions of prayer throughout the Bible, but it is clearly evident how important it is when Paul mentions it at the outset of his words to the Thessalonians. Here, it is being thankful to the Lord for them.
Faith, hope, and love. These are a famous trilogy of Paul’s that he also writes about to the Corinthians and Colossians. This trilogy is also recorded by John in Revelations to the church of Ephesus. These were Jesus’ words in Revelations.
David Guzik writes: “their faith produced work…their love produced labor…their hope produced patience.” There are two different words for work. The one used here is kopos which implies toil that is strenuous and sweat-producing. Hope producing patience is a long-suffering endurance needed to not only survive hard times, but to triumph through them.
The Wiersbe Study Bible makes references to these phrases pertaining to what the Thessalonians actually did.
- Your work of faith > you turned to God from idols. Keep in mind here, idols today are not so blatant as they were in those days. Idols today reference anything that captivates us away from Jesus.
- Your labor of love > to serve the living and true God.
- Your patience of hope > to wait for His Son from heaven.
We all have daily battles in our journey to bring honor and glory to our King. The weight of this world grows heavy, and the distractions are many. This is why Jesus said we have to take up our cross daily and follow Him. Keep in mind as stated above, our battle is not against flesh and blood. It is a spiritual battle. Distractions, chaos, and anything that is keeping us from pushing forward are temptations. Satan does not want us winning battles for God’s Glory. Therefore, we get inundated with things that keep us from “faith producing works, love producing labor, and hope producing patience.” I can say this from my own life. I have waxed and waned much over my life. Anytime I have made a stance to push away from a worldly way of life in whatever capacity it was, this is when the battle ensues. It is temptation after temptation. Satan wants nothing more than to defeat us. He prowls about like a lion seeking whom he wants to devour.
This brings up another heresy being preached in churches: Satan can’t get to us. Well, yes, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but Satan wants you distracted to keep you away from your calling in Christ. Satan will use any means necessary in his pursuit. This is why daily reading, continual prayer, and fellowship with other believers is absolutely critical in our walk with the Lord.
“Elect” (v. 4) can be a stumbling block to some. In simplicity, we choose if we are the elect of God by choosing to love and serve Him. Guzik writes, “when we love someone, we naturally choose them.” Therefore, God loves us, so He has chosen us. We have the free will to either accept it as His elect or reject it. This is an individual decision. Nobody, no matter how hard we want to try, can make this decision for another.
In summary, it is imperative that we lift each other up in prayer, let our faith produce work, love produce labor, and hope produce patience as we serve our God who has chosen us!