But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you—for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. – 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13 (ESV)
John Byron writes:
Sometimes the life of faith can be a lonely and uncertain place. Like the apostle Paul, it’s easy to become discouraged by what is going on around us and to allow doubt to undermine our confidence in the faithfulness of God. At times like this, it is not always easy to find encouragement. But Paul’s words in this chapter identify for us an important source of encouragement: the faith of others. Although Paul was discouraged and suffering, it was news about the ongoing faithfulness of the Thessalonians that strengthened him. In an ironic twist, the very people about whom Paul was concerned ended up being the source of his encouragement to such a degree that he makes the statement: “For now we really live, since you are standing firm” (3:8). The faithfulness of the Thessalonians brought life and oy to Paul, Silas, and Timothy.
… This is not the only time Paul sought out others to encourage his faith. Later in his letter to the Romans he states that one reason for his visit is so “that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Rom 1:12). With these examples before us we should remember that it’s not unusual for doubts to arise, even in those whom we consider to be giants in the faith. At the same time, those from whom we draw strength demonstrate that we all need the example of others to strengthen our own faith.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 24
Q. 24. How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A. Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by his word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.