Three Motivations For Christian Growth

A boy was walking along a dusty country road, a rifle slung over his shoulder. A man in a car saw the boy, stopped and asked him what he was hunting. “Don’t know,” said the boy. “I ain’t seen it yet.” . Swindoll, Growing Strong, p. 13). … More

Goal

In this section of Paul’s letter he allows us to understand his heart-beat as he focuses on some of his personal feelings and emotional reactions. When the Word of God is within us, the enemies of God will be upon us. This brings us to three motivating factors for Christian growth:

  1. The people of God around us (v. 17). The apostle Paul stayed in Thessalonica for only a matter of weeks because of intense Jewish opposition and then he was run out of town. However He thought about them all the time and his longing for them was intense. For Paul, the Christian faith must be centered on a passionate all-consuming relationship with Jesus Christ; but it must never be lived in isolation. We need each other and should never settle for casual relationships with other believers.
  2. The adversary of God against us (v. 18). Satan will do everything in his power to keep us from experiencing harmony with the brethren. Satan is real and he loves to attack Christian relationships. Paul blamed Satan for not being able to return to Thessalonica to give spiritual help to the new converts At the same time he can only operate within the confines of what God permits him to do.
  3. The rewards of God before us (vv. 19-20). What will we have to show for our life when we stand before Jesus Christ? A good job? A college degree? Money? Lots of friends? A nice car? A good reputation? A nice family? If that is all that we have, then we really don’t have that much going for us. Paul could still rejoice in knowing that these believers were his crown and joy, even though he couldn’t see them in person.

The ultimate reward for Paul’s ministry was not money or fame, but new believers whose lives had been changed. Our greatest joy in life will be those who come to Christ and grow in Him.

Application

My main goal in life should not only be to go to heaven myself but to take as many people as possible with me, The only thing I can take to heaven with me is someone else.

I Thessalonians 2:17-20 (English Standard Version)

But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you--I, Paul, again and again--but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.

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