Can it be that we’re nineteen days into January and this is my first blog post of 2023??!! Yes, it’s true!
Our older daughter got married on January 7th. We went from pre-wedding week to post-wedding week, and this week we still have our younger daughter here at home on her college break. I’m actually driving down to Florida with her on Saturday, and she’ll start spring semester classes on Tuesday.
Life has been full of emotion and reflections, celebration and memories lately and I’m sure that will all come out in blog posts at some point in the future. But today I want to dig into a couple of Bible verses that can encourage us as we seek to grow in our walk with God.
I daresay no one wants to be stagnant or backsliding in their Christian life. But what are some signs that we’re actually growing? Let’s look at what Paul wrote in a letter to the church at Thessalonica.
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: ~2 Thessalonians 1:3-4
Here are three characteristics describing these early-church Christians that we can look for in our own lives.
1. Your faith is increasing.
My husband recently said that we need to be quick to trust God. If you’re like me, our first response is trying to work things out on our own.
And isn’t it true that our faith is usually increased when we go through trials?
Our faith expands as we learn to wait on God instead of taking control of a situation ourselves. It comes as we see God answer a specific prayer we prayed.
When we look back on how faithful God’s been to us in the past and trust that He will be the same today, our faith flourishes. He’s never failed us yet, and He never will. Meditate on His promises and know He is faithful.
2. You’re full of love for fellow believers.
It can be easy to show love to our close Christian friends. And while we’re not going to be best buddies with everyone we go to church with, we do want to reach out in Christ-like love and compassion to other believers we know.
We can pray for them when they’re going through a trial. As the Holy Spirit brings them to mind, send them a text or a note of encouragement. When we hear of a need in their life, let’s do what we can to help.
In John 13:35, Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Loving others in the faith marks us as growing Christians.
3. You’re developing patience in trials.
Our human nature wants to run from any trial as fast as it can! If there were a place to sign up for a new difficulty in life, most of us wouldn’t be adding our names to the list.
But God-ordained trials come to all of us. Are we learning to be patient in the trial, to look for what God is wanting to teach us? Are we learning to depend on him for the outcome?
Being able to accept physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges as from God’s hand and waiting patiently on Him to carry us through is a sign that we’re maturing as Christians.
As always, this is written from a place of my own weakness. I want these things to be true in my life, yet I still have much growing to do! Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us continue maturing as Christians as we increase our faith, love fellow believers, and are patient in trials.