1 Thessalonians 3:13 “May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.”
Do you like to exercise? I have reached the age where the more I do something that uses muscles I don’t use while sitting at my desk or walking around, the more I feel it in my back, or shoulders, or legs the next day. In order to get into better shape I need to expand what I do. But in order to stay in shape I also need to repeat what I do. Exercise those muscles just one time, and they won’t become so strong. But they will be sore.
Doesn’t the strengthening of the faith in our hearts call for a similar plan? We need to expand our exposure to God’s word, and hear facets of the gospel we hadn’t heard before, and gain new insights into his great love for us. As Paul wrote the Ephesians, “May (you) have power together will all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge…” Then our faith grows broader.
But we also need to drive it deeper. We need to repeat those things we already know about God’s love. Using the same muscle over and over makes it strong. Hearing the same gospel over and over makes faith strong. This is how God answers our prayer to strengthen our hearts.
Even a little, wavering, struggling faith is a saving faith. But Paul didn’t want the Thessalonians to stagger to the finish line with a faith that barely got them through life. He wanted them to have a strong faith that lived in full confidence of God’s grace. He wanted there to be no doubts that they would stand before God on the day of Jesus’ return, and that they would be “blameless and holy,” washed from every spot of sin by Jesus’ blood received by faith.
I would like you to accomplish great things for God. I would like you to be shining examples of Christian faith to the people around you. But more than anything, I pray that God will strengthen your hearts so that you will make it all the way, and you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
New York Jets running back Curtis Martin used to prepare for every game by reading Psalm 91. It’s a prayer for God to “give his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways.” Football is just game. Christ’s return is not. Let’s ask God to give us strong hearts, ready when Christ returns.