Work of Faith, Labor of Love, Steadfastness of Hope

from Lynda Lindsey

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 our Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 1:2-3

For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. I Thessalonians 1:4-5(a)

For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. I Thessalonians 1:9-10

Believers are called to work faithfully, labor lovingly, and be steadfast in hope, fully believing and expecting God to fulfill His every promise, especially the fact that once we are chosen by God, we are His beloved possession for eternity. Paul wrote the Thessalonians, in part, to reassure them that he, their spiritual father, prays for them, to commend their hard work in the Lord’s service, and to remind them that they who had turned from idols to Christ, would not face God’s judgment. The young church was  persecuted and afflicted; Paul encourages them to persevere and stand fast.  

The gospel, delivered by faithful preachers and teachers, doesn’t come with mere words; the gospel comes with energy and transforming power from the Holy Spirit to teach, correct, and train us to live in accordance with God. The gospel, delivered and received with assurance and power, convicts of sin and unrighteousness. As we yield to the Spirit’s direction, our outward behavior shows evidence of inward change just as a ship changes direction and comes around at the captain’s orders. Godly change gives evidence of genuine faith. 

Sincere love and faith result in spiritual growth. Like new seedlings, we experience setbacks, but overall we’re moving towards maturity. We were once unloving, without hope; now we’re filled with Christ’s love and hope. We once experienced only fleeting happiness and now-and-then-contentment; now we know deep joy and lasting peace. We once lived impatiently, selfishly grabbing everything for ourselves; now we live for Christ and His kingdom. Filled with faith, hope, and love, we labor steadfastly as servants of the Lord, fully confident of all God’s promises.