by: Allen Domelle
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 the sight of God and our Father;”
The mature Christian will make his life about serving others. One of the key identifiers that a person has matured in the faith is that their desires are all about helping others to grow. They don’t do things to please themselves, but they do things to grow others.
In the verse above, Paul was encouraged by the church in Thessalonica. In the previous verse, he gave thanks to God because of what they had become. He remembered what they were doing and how they were doing it, and it brought joy to his heart. There were three components that this church practiced that built strong Christians. If you are going to build others, these same three components must be a part of your Christian character.
The first component needed to grow Christians is a “work of faith.” You will never build strong Christians if you don’t have faith that God can use someone. Many times we have predetermined that someone cannot grow, and with that attitude they are sure not to grow. You must have faith in people. It doesn’t matter what they have done or how deep they have fallen in sin, always have faith that someone can grow. Don’t ever lose faith in another’s ability to grow.
Furthermore, it is going to take work to see growth. You cannot sit on the sidelines and expect people to grow. It will take time to invest in others if they are going to grow. The only reason anyone doesn’t see others grow is because they are not investing time in others. You have to have faith that others can grow, but you must put your faith into action and work with them to see them grow.
The second component needed to grow Christians is a “labour of love.” If you don’t have a love for people, you will never be able to help grow them. Love is laborious at times. Love is willing to take a person from where they are and work to bring them to where Christ wants them to be. Growing people will inconvenience you, but your love will motivate you to be willing to be inconvenienced so that you can help them. Love is what makes the pastor get up in the middle of the night to help someone in need. Love is what causes the bus worker to give up their Saturdays to be sure their riders come on Sunday. Love is what makes the Sunday school teacher plan to visit their class weekly. Love is what makes the Christian drop what they are doing at the moment they get a call for help from someone they are trying to grow. You will never grow people without love.
The third component needed to grow Christians is “patience of hope.” You are going to be disappointed in those whom you invest in, but you need to be patient with them if they are going to grow. When those you are helping have a spiritual setback, your hope that they will turn out right causes you to be patient. Don’t let setbacks cause you to give up on others, but let them motivate you to remember that you are one step closer to seeing them mature.
Friend, you will never be a part of growing others without these three components. You must believe in people, love them and be patient with them when they have setbacks. I encourage you to be sure that these three components are a part of your Christian character.