How Is Your Faith Life?
“For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 3:5-8
Why did Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians tell them he had checked up on their faith in the Lord, and seem relieved and find comfort and reassurance when Timotheus reported their faith was solid? Why was he concerned the tempter, or Satan, might lure them from their faith? Why did he say, “For now we live, IF YE STAND FAST IN THE LORD (caps added)?” What’s the big deal? Faith is faith, and if you’ve got it, you’ve got it, right? Believe in Christ, and you’ve got it made, right? Wrong!
On the surface, these scriptures reveal Paul’s incredible love for those to whom he ministers, for those who have become his brothers and sisters through their faith in Christ. Oh, what love and care he has for these people! This isn’t just a preaching job he has. His whole life is dedicated to preaching Jesus. He pours his heart into the Lord and his work and into people, and he doesn’t just go off when he’s done preaching and forget about the people. He wants to know they will stand fast in their faith. But of course they will be steadfast in their faith, won’t they? And of course those of us who place our trust in Christ will keep it there, right? Not so!
For years, I believed in Jesus. I didn’t budge one step past my intellectual belief. I had an amazing encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, skipped off into the wild blue yonder of my sin-drenched life, and almost never opened a Bible. When I finally became a follower of Christ and truly committed to learning and living the ways of the Lord, I came to understand just why Paul was concerned about their faith. We are given a measure of faith (Rom. 12:3) that needs to be fed with God’s Word to grow, loved, nurtured, cared for, watched over, protected, encouraged, valued, refined, tested, developed, purified, challenged, treasured, held onto, kept and not lost, cleaved to and not stolen by the devil, and carried with us right up to the finish line of our lives. Faith should NOT be taken for granted nor tossed to the wayside to atrophy, decay, and die, for the Bible makes it clear not everyone will make it to the finish line with their faith intact and spend eternity with God in heaven.
Faith in God through Christ must be our very way of life. Is it yours?