We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (NIV)
The three virtues of faith, love, and hope that Paul talks about here are explained further in verses 9-10.
Faith produces in us a turning from idols
You turned to God from idols (1:9).
That’s what real faith looks like. It’s not just saying that you believe the gospel, it is turning to the God who reaches out to you in the gospel, and that means turning from everything else that might posture in His place. Faith works. It effects change at the center of a person’s life.
Love prompts us to serve God
You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God (1:9).
Serving God doesn’t follow the model of the independent contractor who signs up for various projects. Serving God is like the slave who is committed to his master for life.
Hope inspires us to wait for the Son of God
You turned to God from idols… to wait for his Son from heaven (1:9-10).
Never underestimate the power of enduring pain as a follower of Jesus Christ. The world wants to dismiss your faith as a psychological crutch, and when you endure pain and still love Jesus, the world does not know what to make of that.
This is what the Holy Spirit does in a person’s life. This is what genuine Christianity looks like. These are the distinguishing marks of an authentic work of God.
Do you see these marks of the work of God in your life? If not, or if you’d like to see them to a greater degree, ask God to build greater faith, more love, and a more enduring hope into your life.