Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Heart Food: Endure

"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."
-- Thess. 1:3

I like how here there are several external actions that all spring out of the heart.  I like how the work is produced by faith.  It's created by it, a by-product of faith.  It's cause and effect.  So the work would not happen if there weren't faith first.  As James 2:17 says, "In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action (works) is dead." So faith produces work because it must.  At least, living faith must always produce works.

Then your labor, your effort and toil, is prompted by love.  You have to have some incentive to work.  Most people are motivated by money--that's why they go to work every day.  Or maybe they're motivated by the satisfaction they get from their jobs.  Or maybe they're motivated by the desire to be a good worker.  When we're laboring for the Lord, we need to have a different motivation: love.  We should be driven by our love for God and our love for others.  When you love someone, you genuinely want to help them and do things for them.  Sometimes it doesn't even seem like work because you want to do it.  The Bible tells us that God loves a cheerful giver.  If we're motivated out of love as opposed to guilt or pride, we are well on our way to being a cheerful worker.  I can't say that I'm always motivated by love.  I pray that God would grow love in me so that I would be prompted to work by it.

Finally, endurance.  It can be hard to keep going, keep loving, keep focused, keep praying.  That's something I struggle with.  It's easy to get side-tracked and sit down for a rest.  The Bible tells us many times (Hebrews 12:1, 1 Cor. 9:24, Gal. 5:7, etc.) to run the good race.  We are to throw off distractions and keep our eyes fixed on the prize.  That's not easy!  Something I've learned is that I can't white-knuckle endurance: I can't force myself to love or live a faithful life.  The best way is to focus on Christ, on his beauty, on the way he saved me, the promise of eternity with him, and the joy that comes from this knowledge.  That's how I get the strength to endure.  I pray that this verse would become a reality in my life, that I may work and labor for him, keeping my eyes fixed on him.  

1 comment:

  1. Very well said, Laura. Sometimes it is easy to read a verse quickly and not really think about the meaning of each word. Thank you for taking the time to ponder and share encouraging truth!

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