Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Faith and Love

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. (2 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV)

Paul frequently links faith and love together, particularly in the Pastoral Epitles.  Evidence of a growing faith is a growing love for others.  When Paul mentions faith he is generally talking about two things.  First is the content of our faith, doctrine or theology.  Theology is a growing understanding of who God is and his ways ways as described in the bible.  Theology sometimes gets a bad rap but whether we admit it or not we all are arm chair theologians who espouse a theology.  Theology is important because it determines the way we think about God which determines our affections, and thus our choices.  A growing faith also means a growing trust in God because of who we understand him to be and what he promises to be for us. 
It is out of this growing faith that love for others grow.  At one point Paul even says faith works through love (Gal 5:6) and he means much more than warm fuzzy feelings for others.  He means loving our neighbors as ourselves or sacrificially denying ourselves for the sake of others.  We see this exemplified in the life of Christ who gave himself for us and we see this also exemplified in the radical acts of sacrificial giving in the early church.  I also see this in our body. 
 I see our elders serving our body tirelessly.  I see our trustees spending lots of time and energy working on our building remodel.  I see our children's ministry workers, especially the leadership, working with all their might to teach our children to 'Desire God' more than life itself.  I see our Youth Director and his staff sacrificing their time and energy to minister to our youth and reach out to others.  I see several very busy mothers sacrificing time and energy to help out in our office in the absence of a secretary.  And lastly, I saw dozens of our people helping out in little and large ways to make the annual Harvest Carnival another smashing success with over 600 people coming through our doors this past Halloween.  I can gladly pray as Paul did, giving thanks for you all because your faith is growing abundantly and your love for one another is increasing!

Let me me encourage you to continue to prayerfully read the Word and let the Spirit of God shape your understanding of God and his ways so that your love will abound increasingly!

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