|We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. -1 Thessalonians 1:3
In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, co-written by Silas and Timothy, he wrote very encouraging words. He noted that the Thessalonians were such good examples of what it meant to be imitators of God. He even considered them to be, “our hope, our joy, and the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ when He comes.” (see verse 19).
As I read the letter to Thessalonians, the verse above (verse 3) really stood out to me because it contained a familiar triad; faith, hope, and love. In 1 Corinthians 13:13 we read, and now these three remain” faith, hope and love. I believe that at the end of our lives, God is not going to just look at our works, labor, or endurance, but instead, He will be concerned with the motivation behind them, namely our faith, hope and love.
In speaking to the Pharisees in Matthew 15:8-9, Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teaching are but rules taught by men.” The Pharisees did a lot of good works and tried to obey the laws, but their motivation was purely selfish; to impress people by their level of supposed spirituality and commitment to the law. Jesus debunked this mentality throughout His entire ministry here on earth by preaching faith, hope and love.
The Lord does not want us to serve Him or do works out of obligation, but I believe that like the Thessalonians, He wants our faith in Him and the purposes that He set forth in the gospels to produce good works in our lives. Jesus wants our labor to be motivated by love. Remember John 3:16? For God so loved the world that He… Lastly, we are to endure because of the hope we have in Him (Paul exemplified this in his life.)
Dear friends, it is imperative that we often consider the motivation behind our actions because in time, our works will be tested and shown for what they are (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). When life and everything ceases, three things will remain, faith, hope and love. Do you have them? Are they the motivating factors in your life?
I leave you with these verses: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of a prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing…And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. -1 Corinthians 13
Grace and peace be with you.
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