Ought to be thankful
Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 NLT
In order for our faith to be proven true, it must pass through testing. This is the reason why Paul felt the compulsion to be grateful to God for the believers in Thessalonica for they have been growing in their faith. Once again, this reminds us of how important to acknowledge God’s working in our lives. God is faithful! Our submission to His leading is what makes us grow in faith despite the difficulties. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13). When we act upon the working of God in us, our faith in God flourishes and our love for one another grows (see 2 Thessalonians 1:3). Faith in God is not just about adherence to certain beliefs or dogma, it is what prompts our actions. All the more we go through trials and difficulties, the more our faith is strengthened. An easy and smooth sailing life will lead to shallow and weak faith. Paul, in his first letter to the believers in Thessalonica, cited how earnest he was praying for them that God will supply what is needed in order for their faith to grow. “Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:10). And now, he is thankful that his prayer was answered. Another answered prayer that made Paul grateful to God is on how he saw the believers’ love for one another was abounding, “and may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows” (1 Thessalonians 3:12). Christians tend to become selfish when they go through suffering. But, in prayer, such selfishness is overcome and is replaced by a confidence to God that results to reaching out to others in love. We can be so preoccupied meeting our own needs when life is difficult, yet because of God working in our lives, we listen to Him and in obedience we act loving one another. When we trust God, live our lives grateful that He saved us, and we yield to the inner working of the Holy Spirit, our way of life is transformed; our faith grows and love for Him prompts us to reach out to others.