Spurring one another
It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence. 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 3:8-10 NLT
When Paul heard from Timothy how Christians in Thessalonica are persevering in their faith, the news provided an added boost to his commitment to continue sharing the gospel’s message while in Corinth. He realized God’s promise that His Word once shared to others will not return void. “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55:11). Paul found a renewed vitality in the mission set by God for his life even in the midst of “distress and persecution” (1 Thessalonians 3:7 NIV). This is what spurs us to continue on serving God when we see people who have come to know Christ growing in their walk with God. How wonderful to see how God works His will in the lives of His children. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13). There will be times that we will not see the fruit of what we are doing as we continue to sow the seed of the gospel. But we should not give up, instead we have to pray fervently and serve unwaveringly and realize that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, “but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Paul thanked God that his fellow believers are continually enduring against the attacks of the enemy. Our hearts should turn to God in praise and thanksgiving. We can never pray enough and we can never be grateful enough for there will always be reasons to pray for one another and to be thankful for. This is also Paul’s encouragement to the believers going through tremendous trials in Philippi because of their faith. “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice…Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:4-6). Paul’s prayer is that God will let him see again his fellow believers in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:10). This is also God’s admonition to us to not stop encouraging and praying for one another while we still have an opportunity to do so. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).