When Faith Is Not Enough (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

Have you been in a trial and found it difficult to remain faithful to God and keep moving on? Have you been to the point where you cannot take another step and want to just crumble in your path? Many have been there and yet still moved on. How did they do it? What was their secret?

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

Works start out motivated by faith. The worker many be doing the work because God has led them or he has pointed out a need that he wants him to fulfill and the believer responds by faith and does the work. A person can continue in the work motivated by faith, but the work needs more than what the faith worker can provide. Mere obedience to do a work will not bring about the purpose that God has.

While in the work, The Lord does a work also in the believer’s heart. This work occurs when love develops in the heart of the laborer. His work is no longer motivated by the obedience of faith, but by love for those for which he works. Love will take you further than faith. If asked, faith will sacrifice. However, love will sacrifice on its own. Faith obeys, but love sees the need and willfully volunteers for the task. It also sees the need and will carry the burden of the work and accomplish it. Faith only obeys and endures.

Faith and love are essential ingredients for living a life for God, but another motivation is still needed. Faith obeys, love sees the need and is motivated, but hope sees the potential that can occur. Hope has spiritual eyes that see the situation from God’s perspective. Reaching the mark envisioned by hope isn’t easy. There are still obstacles to overcome, but hope gives vision to the laborer’s work and at the same time gives patience to the laborer. Patience is the believer’s ability to stay under the load of the work and at the same time be cheerful. Personal strength may keep people under the load of a work, but it cannot bring cheerfulness. Talents and abilities may make a work somewhat easier to bear, but they will not bring cheerfulness. Love in itself will struggle in the face of adversity and endure, but be lacking in cheerfulness.

However, it is love for God that brings the spiritual perspective of hope. It is this love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love for a person can wax thin, but love for God will cause the believer to continue to press on. It wasn’t Paul’s love for the church that moved him on through suffering and persecution. It was his love for God. It wasn’t love for the ministry that strengthened the Apostles to face being martyred. It was hope that came from their love for God.

Where are you? What motivates you in your service for God? What motivates you as a parent, spouse, or employee? Hopefully it is something greater than just your faith.

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