2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 (NKJV)
3 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, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure.
Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) – FAITH
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
You may be asking today, “Why am I experiencing so much persecution and testing in my Christian life?” In what areas of my life does faith need to grow? Is there a word of comfort from the Bible for me?
Each of us as believers has been given a measure of faith by God but it won’t grow on its own. FAITH in God is like our muscles that must be exercised and strengthened daily. Sports athletes grew stronger by pushing the limits of their ability, strength and/ or endurance and we must do just the same with our FAITH in God.
When the Thessalonians in the first century church (A.D 50s) came under severe persecution and hardship, their faith in God grew even stronger, and they were strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, the struggles and challenges we face today are opportunities for us to grow stronger in our FAITH. God will often put us in extreme situations that are TOO BIG for us to handle alone. But we are NOT alone in our struggles. The HOLY SPIRIT is always with us, reminding us of the trustworthiness of God’s character and His promises in the Bible. He will come through for us if we seek Him in prayer, persevere and be willing to be transformed by the power of God. He is FAITHFUL and TRUE. For this reason, we can move forward confidently and to take NEW steps of faith for His Glory.
God’s great love and care for us will take us through the storms of life and at the same time, our faith grows stronger in Him. As we endure and overcome each challenges, we grow from “glory to glory” and progress well in our Christian faith. Apostle Paul, having gone through so much hardship and suffering for the Lord’s work wrote and encouraged us in Romans 8:35-37 (NKJV): “ 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
We proclaim by FAITH (Heb 11:6) that in the midst of our hardship, persecution and tribulation, we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. We are God’s chosen people who walk by FAITH and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). We are dearly loved by our Heavenly Father in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah!
Trials and Hardships of Apostle Paul
1. Matthew 17:14-20 (NKJV) – A Boy Is Healed
14 And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying,
15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.
16 So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
17 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.”
18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
2. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NKJV)
3 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.
3. 1 Timothy 1:5 (NKJV)
5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith…