“Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know. For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain. But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you— therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” 1 Thess. 3:1-13
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ isn’t a dead faith; it’s a living faith. It grows over time if it’s fed. It is not meant to be stagnant, nor to be neglected. It’s not meant to shrivel up and die by being malnourished. It is not meant to be starved of food nor dehydrated from lack of water. It is not meant to be forgotten or taken for granted. Faith in Christ as LORD begins – yes, BEGINS – with confessing we are sinners deserving of death, hell, and the lake of fire in fiery torment forever apart from God and that we believe Christ died on the cross in our place to take our sins and sin penalty on Himself and that He was raised from the dead. TRUE FAITH, REAL FAITH, LIVING FAITH, GENUINE FAITH, the kind of faith that leads to God’s forgiveness and the promise of an everlasting relationship with Him is an ONGOING FAITH, a GROWING FAITH, an EVOLVING FAITH, a faith that results in FRUIT of a heart and life dedicated, committed to, and devoted to Christ not only as Savior but as LORD of our lives.
Faith needs to be fed, nourished, watered, attended to, cared for, cared about, and treated as vitally important, and this occurs when we spend time with the Lord, when we spend time studying His Word, when we spend time learning to live by His Word, when we spend time worshiping Him with fellow Christ followers, when we learn to hear God’s voice and answer in obedience, when we are filled with God’s Spirit and learn to sense His Spirit and follow His lead. Faith that is lovingly cared for grows over time and the most obvious results are a closer and closer relationship with God almighty and that we are living our lives in a way that brings Him praise, honor, and glory, and this is to include loving others and telling them about Him.
An absolutely fundamental and crucial aspect and characteristic and necessity for faith that grows is that Christ’s followers walk first and foremost with the Lord – and ALSO WITH ONE ANOTHER. We are to love, comfort, encourage, help, support, pray for, confront in love, edify, etc. one another to help each other grow in our relationships with the Lord. The apostle Paul in the scriptures above makes clear His love and care for the Thessalonian believers and that he passionately yearns to help them grow in their faith.
Friend, do you have people in your life who follow Jesus who are devoted to walking alongside you as you grow in your relationship with Him? If you do not yet have a relationship with Him, and have not repented and committed your life to Christ, do you have a person or people who can help you understand how to make this commitment? If you already have a relationship with Jesus, and are His devoted follower, are you regularly connected to and interacting with other believers such that you are helping them grow in their faith as they also help you to grow?
Living faith is alive, friend, and a crucial component of living faith is that all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord are walking, living, breathing, as Christ’s Body, all interacting such that we are helping one another to become more like Jesus and to grow in our faith in Him whereby we are producing more and more fruit – the spiritual fruit of love, peace, joy, patience, etc., and the physical fruit of physical acts that exemplify and show forth our trust in Jesus as LORD of our lives.
May your faith in Christ be ALIVE, and may you be solidly immersed in the Body of Christ whereby you and others are mutually loving, praying for, and encouraging others in their walk with the Lord.