1 Thessalonians 1:3 – Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…
In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians he commended their growth in three areas. These essential are not only vital to new believers but are necessary for Christian growth and health.
The first was their work of faith which is defined and demonstrated by them “turn[ing] to God from idols” (vs. 9). Faith is often defined by the acrostic, Forsaking All I Trust Him. They forsook their idols and received Christ. We must be honest when something takes precedence over the Lord and turn from it. It may be a position, a person, a pleasure, or a problem. It is essential that you live and walk by faith. This means you believe what God says about your idol and you leave it – repent from it!
The second essential was their labour of love which was not only sensed by their love for God, but seen by their service to God (vs. 9). We should serve not only out of duty and discipline, but also from devotion. On a plane a pastor was sitting next to a young lady with Down syndrome. He knew he probably wouldn’t get much rest. She began talking and asked him, “Do you eat candy?” He said, “No.” She said, “Good because it will rot your teeth.” “Do you smoke?” she asked. He said, “No.” She said, “Good, it causes cancer.” Then she said, “Do you know Jesus?” He said “Why yes! I sure do!” She said, “Well, then ask those questions to man next to you!” We should wake up each day and see our life as one of service to Jesus Christ!
Finally, Paul commended their hope in Jesus’ return (vs. 10). Maybe you need to exercise faith by turning from idols, or start serving out of your love for Him. Add to that patience that comes by knowing Jesus might return today, and it makes life’s trials a bit easier and heaven a lot sweeter! Those are three essentials!