Increasing faith, abounding love

2 thessalonians 1-3

The Verse of the Day comes from 2 Thessalonians 1:3 (NKJV)

[ God’s Final Judgment and Glory ] We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

We ought and indeed are obligated [as those in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, as is fitting, because your faith is growing exceedingly and the love of every one of you each toward the others is increasing and abounds.

The Verse of the Day notes two areas of growth in Christian believers: faith and love which are mentioned in Thessalonians, the Church Epistles whose focus is hope, the hope of Christ’s return.

Faith

Faith is not static but God’s desire is that our faith grow, increase and abound. When the  apostles said unto the Lord, “Increase our faith,” he responded:

 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (Luke 17:6)

The plant mentioned by Jesus Christ to illustrate faith is the very small seed of the mustard tree, a pod-bearing, shrub-like plant, growing wild, which is also cultivated in gardens. The little round seeds were an emblem of any small insignificant object. Faith is described in this way: “It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth.” Jesus goes on to say, “It [faith] is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.”

A mustard seed once planted and nurtured grows into a mighty tree, just as our faith should grow and abound.

Love:

Not only are believers to grow in faith, they are also exhorted to abound in love, as is mentioned in

2 Corinthians 8:7

Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

Philippians 1:9

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

1 Thessalonians 3:12

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

One of the classic metaphors that describe love is a rose. Indeed, love is a rose that grows—

The budding rose never stays the same but unfolds in lovelier ways.

Although the Verse of the Day reminds us our faith and love are to increase and abound, the opening lyrics from a song written by Dale Evans Rogers speak of three essential aspects of the Christian walk:

Have faith, hope and charity,
That’s the way to live successfully.
How do I know, the Bible tells me so.

Volumes could be written and have been, for that matter, on each of these topics, all three of which are mentioned in the last verse of I Corinthians 13 which provides the quintessential definition of “charity” which is also translated from agape, meaning “the love of God” in the following poem which introduces all three elements:

These Three

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three;

but the greatest of these is love.

I Corinthians 13:13 (New King James Version

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love,

and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ

in the sight of our God and Father,

1 Thessalonians 1:3 (New King James Version)

 

As Abraham lived by faith, trusted and obeyed,

So we walk by faith and follow his example,

For God is faithful and through His Word conveyed

That the blessings of the Lord are more than ample.

Despite the storms of life, we are anchored in hope.

As Kingdom citizens with their minds set above,

We view heavenly bodies as through a telescope

And soar beyond the world on wings of a dove.

We seek to follow after Christ, the more excellent way,

To walk in love and simply follow his command.

Renewing our minds in all that we do and say,

We seek not be understood but to understand.

Live by faith, rejoice in hope, walk in love and see

Faith, hope and love: Love is the greatest of these three.

The following song embodies all three of these priceless virtues:

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