HOW IS FAITH STRENGTHENED?
We sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith. I Thess. 3:2
Perhaps we can build a visual for how Timothy strengthened their faith. In doing so, we will have an understanding of how others might strengthen us and most importantly, how we can build up those around us.
Joyce Carol Oates, the author, said something I believe to be absolutely true. “We human beings are the species that clamors to be lied to.” We want to be told that we are okay, that things will be fine, when in fact, the person speaking may be lying to make themselves, and us, feel better. A lot of this goes on in the wings of an ICU ward where a prognosis is often grim. Friends come to surround a family in crisis and whisper in their ears, “Everything will be okay.” In many cases, their world has been turned upside down and nothing will be the same again. Such false proclamations are not what Paul is talking about here.
If faith is believing what I cannot see, no matter what, then people who promote faith are the ones who remind me who God is and what He has promised to do, even though all tangible evidence shouts otherwise. I can hear the strains of Timothy’s words to the Thessalonians upon his arrival. Can you? “Ah, I’m glad you are still embracing Jesus. I tell you the truth, just as He did…that His glory is being revealed in these darkest of times.”
He not only delivered a heart-felt message from Paul, but he personally embraced them and stirred the embers of their belief. I am confident that Timothy also seized the opportunity to give them the meat of the scriptures so that their spirits would be hearty enough to stand firm against the tide of unbelief.
Father, I am seeing that there is no agenda more important than strengthening other’s faith. Help me be faithful to saturate others in the meat of your Word. Time is too precious and faith wavers without it. In Jesus’ name, Amen