(Give this message a listen by clicking HERE)
6 But now Timothy has come to us from you and brought us good news about your faith and love and reported that you always have good memories of us, wanting to see us, as we also want to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution, we were encouraged about you through your faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God for you in return for all the joy we experience before our God because of you, 10 as we pray very earnestly night and day to see you face to face and to complete what is lacking in your faith?
11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we also do for you. 13 May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. Amen. 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13
In a very real way, Paul’s source of joy, his support and stamina and hope in hard times was this group of brothers and sisters in Thessalonica who were standing strong in faith and love.
What Scripture shows us here is that our joy is heavily dependent on and even fueled by the faithful lives of fellow saints. In this way your victory and progress and growth becomes my victory and progress and growth. We are the body of Christ and we are linked in this way.
We are not perfect, but we are persevering together. If I know that you’re doing battle with sin and pursuing holiness, it encourages me in my own battle. If I hear testimony that God has been good and gracious to you, it reminds me that God is good and cares for all of his kids, including me.
So be stubborn, diligent, and faithful in your times of prayer and Bible study. Be one who confesses their sins freely before God and pursues Jesus consistently. As you do that, you are in a very literal way strengthening the entire body of Christ, particularly the local one to which you belong.