“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”2 Thess. 1:3 NKJV
Growing in faith and abounding in love are two important things that cause God to rejoice over us. If truly all of scripture is by inspiration of the Holy Spirit then we can safely conclude that Paul’s disposition towards the growing faith and abounding love of the church mirrors the Holy Spirit’s disposition. I dare say, the measure of the growth of a believer is by how much we have grown in faith and how much we abound in love. (2 Thess. 1:3)
Two of the most important factors in Christianity are faith and love. We are saved by grace through faith and as a result of God’s love for us (Eph. 2:8-9; John 3:16). A Christian living by the Spirit does not lack love (Gal. 5:22). It is inherent in our nature as believers, for God Himself is love and we ought to live as our Heavenly Father does (1 John 4:8). Faith is also as important as love. That is the only way by which we can access the things God has in store for us…both physical and spiritual blessings. (Matt. 21:22)
Why is it important that a believer grow in faith?
First of all, it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb. 11:6). All of our service and worship become religion when we lack faith. When we grow in faith, it becomes much easier to please God. Pleasing Him only comes naturally. We take His word for it and believe it wholeheartedly.
Because we are saved by grace through faith, that has made us automatically become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Many of the men of old had their faith counted unto them as righteousness (Heb. 11). Abraham, for example, was declared righteous because of his faith in God through His knowledge of God. Growing in faith is proof that you are truly knowing God through His Word. Again, this leads us back to Heb. 11:6 which tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith. Lack of faith in God is a result of a lack of knowledge of Him. How then can we please Him when you don’t know Him? (Rom. 1:17)
It is important that we grow in faith because we can only access miracles and blessings through faith. When Jesus lived on earth, there was a certain location where He couldn’t do as many miracles as He should have because the people lacked faith (Mark. 6:5). We only short-change ourselves when we do not allow our faith to grow. The woman with the issue of blood received her miraculous healing because she had faith (Luke 8:43-48). The same can be said of Peter when Jesus told him to cast his net (Luke 5:4-5), Jairus whose daughter needed healing (Mark 5:21-43), and many others which we find in scripture.
When our faith is growing, we are less likely to be victims of the end time. I say this because in the end time –as we can already see –we would need all the faith we can have. The tribulations and false teachings that could easily sway us would be better combated when we are firm and growing in our faith. It is the devil’s plan that we lose faith, become bored of having faith, or eventually crack under the pressure of tribulations. But we must see to it that our faith grows instead. Growth upwards that other believers may see and be encouraged and growth downwards taking firm root in scriptures. (Eph. 6:16; Jas. 1:3)
But we must see to it that our faith grows instead. Growth upwards that other believers may see and be encouraged and growth downwards taking firm root in scriptures.FAITH+BLOG
Note that the growth of our faith remains a continuous process as long as we are alive. No one can ever really say they have reached the final stage of faith and that their faith no longer needs improvement. Therefore, we must actively seek growth for our faith, seeing as we must continue to let it grow.
Why must we abound in love?
There are so many reasons why believers must abound in love. Jesus Christ split all of the law into two: Love for God and love for our neighbours (Mk. 12:30-31). The scripture makes us understand that love covers a multitude of sin (1 Pet. 4:8). We would fall less into sin when we are filled with love, both for God and for our neighbours. Essentially, love is the fulfillment of the law (Rom. 13:10). If we are saved because of God’s love for us (John 3:16) then we must reciprocate that love as well.
Jesus also tells us that the way we can make people of the world know that we belong to Him is, by the way, we love one another (John 13:35). When we allow seeds of hatred and strife to grow among us, we desecrate the body of Christ. God is love and if truly we a replica of Him on earth, then we too should be love. The Holy Spirit even helps us live in love. Of all the fruit of the Spirit, it is the first (Gal. 5:22). This shows us the importance of love among believers.
And we are encouraged to let this love abound. That is, let it exist in large amounts, too much to quantify. To love like God is to love wholeheartedly, completely, and continuously. Christianity is no longer Christianity (after Christ, Christ-like) when love is lacking. As believers, we must continue to abound in love, as love keeps the body united.
How to grow in faith and abound in love?
Growing in faith is through the word. Faith comes by hearing and hearing through the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17). Your faith will remain stagnant if you are far from the word. When you live by and in the word, you water and fertilise your faith unto growth.
Also, we need the body of believers to help our faith grow. Go to church. Christianity was never meant to be an OYO (on your own) affair. As much as God wants us to involve Him in the growth process of our faith, He wants us to belong to a local assembly to help foster this growth as well. As iron sharpens iron, so the countenance of one friend sharpens the other (Pro. 27:17).
Abounding in love is by letting the Spirit work in you. Loving like Christ is easier said than done but we know that with God, all things are possible. The Holy Spirit helps us to exhibit the fruit of the spirit, the more intimately we walk with Him. The nature of love is already there, we just have to keep nurturing it unto full maturity. (Gal 5:22; Matt. 19:26)
Furthermore, we can never really abound in love when we ourselves are unaware of God’s love for us. We must come into the awareness –through word study and renewal of mind –that God loves us. Not until we do this, we won’t be able to love as we ought to. (John 13:34; 1 John 4:7;19)