Is your faith strong enough to withstand the enemy’s temptations? That’s what the Apostle Paul loved about the church in Thessalonica. They had strong faith. What does it mean to stand firm in the Lord?
1 Thessalonians 3
Finally, when we could stand it no longer, we decided to stay alone in Athens, 2 and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-worker in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, 3 and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles. 4 Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know. 5 That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless.
6 But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He reports that you always remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you. 7 So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. 8 It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord.
9 How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence. 10 Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith.
11 May God our Father and our Lord Jesus bring us to you very soon. 12 And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. 13 May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen.1 Thessalonians 3 NLT
We know from the story in Acts, that Paul and co., were basically run out of Thessalonica by a mob of Jews along with some bullies. Paul was concerned about the church there once he was safe in Athens, so he sent Timothy to strengthen them. He wanted to make sure that when trouble came — and he knew it was coming — that they would stand firm in the faith.
Tim came back with a favorable report which encouraged him. Paul and co. “prayed earnestly” for them. He couldn’t see them in person, but he could pray for them.
What does it Mean to be Strong in Your Faith?
Remember in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he wrote about being rooted in the Word? Someone well-rooted in the Word of God will be strong against the temptations of the devil. That believer will also be able to withstand the trials and troubles that life will bring. Jesus warned us…
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 NLT
What are “gaps” in your faith?
Paul mentions that he hoped to visit again so he could help them fill the “gaps” in their faith. These happen when you take your focus off of the Lord and let the world take over your life. We see an example of this in Matthew 14…
22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.Matthew 14:22-33 NLT
First of all, Jesus sent His disciples to the other side of the lake. If Jesus told them to go there, why didn’t they think that Jesus would make sure they got there safely? Meanwhile, headstrong Peter wants to walk on water, too. He had faith for a little while. As soon as he saw the strong waves and the wind, he got scared and started to sink. He took his eyes and focus off Jesus!
How to Grow Stronger in Your Faith
- Focus on Jesus ONLY! Not on a church or a priest or Mary or the saints. JESUS!
- Read the Bible Daily to get to know Jesus and to learn what God’s will is for your life! You should read a chapter from a Gospel as well as one of the Epistles (letters) every day.
- Pray constantly. Talk to God. Ask Him for guidance and wisdom.
- Center your life through the Holy Spirit. Rely on the Holy Spirit to help you discern the truth.
You can’t do the above 4 things if you don’t have Jesus in your heart!
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!