Increasing faith and abounding love

2 thessalonians 1-3

The Verse of the Day for February 9, 2018 comes from 2 Thessalonians 1:3 in the New International Version:

[Thanksgiving and Prayer] We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

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, as faith and love are mentioned throughout 1 and 2 Thessalonians, the Church Epistles whose focus is 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 answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you. (Luke 17:6 Amplified Bible)

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.”

In another account, we encountered a situation where a man brought his demon-possessed son to the disciples, but they could not deliver the son, but Jesus healed him. Later when the Disciples asked why they could not cast out the demons, Matthew 17:20 explains:

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” This verse is graphically illustrated in this video clip:

The passage also brings to mind the power inherent in “mustard seed faith”  alluded to in this poem:

Just have a little faith

Just have a little faith—it is all that you ever need.
All God asks for is a grain, the size of mustard seed.
Faith will move the highest of mountains make no mistakes.
Wholehearted believing, no doubt, is all that it takes.
Faith abounds in God’s Word for all those who read and heed.

Follow in the steps of Christ wherever they may lead.
Those who walk by faith and not by sight are rare indeed.
Inspired by people of great faith, a hero awakes:
Just have a little faith.

Passion to serve grows each day, a fire you must feed,
Striving for more–energized by love and never greed.
Faithful is our loving Father who never forsakes
But fulfills to the ultimate each promise He makes.
Walk forth in victory–live by faith and you will succeed.
Just have a little faith.

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, but they are also exhorted to abound in love, as is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8:7 (AMP):

But just as you excel in everything, [and lead the way] in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in genuine concern, and in your love for us, see that you excel in this gracious work [of giving] also.

Philippians 1:9 (AMP) also reinforces the message:

And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more [displaying itself in greater depth] in real knowledge and in practical insight,

1 Thessalonians 3:12 (KJV):

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

A classic metaphors to describe love is a rose. Indeed, love is a rose that grows—

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

The Verse of the Day and related scriptures remind us our faith and love are to increase and abound.

We conclude with the musical group “Two or More” offering a lively song “Faith of a Mustard Seed” in English and Spanish.

 

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