Anticipating Christ’s return results to godly living
May God our Father and our Lord Jesus bring us to you very soon. And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. 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 3:11-13 NLT
Faith has to be tested or else it cannot be trusted. Faith is like a muscle that needs to be exercised so it will be strengthened. This is why God allows His children to go through trials and difficulties, not to destroy their faith but to mature it. Paul was fervent praying for the believers in Thessalonica for he knew that God alone could help these believers grow in their relationship with God. He also prayed that their “love for one another and for all people grow and overflow.” It is in times of suffering that we tend to be selfish. It is in times of persecution that we can become self-centered. It is in times of afflictions that we find what we are made of within. Our response to trials will be dependent upon our inner life. We can be tempted to run away from God when facing difficulties in life but it will be wise for us to turn to God and to other believers so we can find strength. When our faith is progressing, that is the time we also grow loving others. It was during times of difficulties that Joseph learned how to love his brothers despite their action selling him to slavery. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them” (Genesis 50:20-21). Love in action is the proof of a growing faith within. “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions… Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?” (James 2:14, 19). Our love should be wide enough that it touches even the lost and our enemies. It is the coming of Christ that motivates believers to remain steadfast and strong in their faith. It is the return of Christ that motivates a believer to live a holy life. “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” (1 Thessalonians 3:13). Our actions will be tested and there should be no barrier between our character and conduct. Just like Paul, we have to grow in our faith in God and that our hope anchored in His coming should change us into the person God wants us to be. “…when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3 NIV).