When I was a boy, my mom was committed to our local church. So much so in fact, that I remember that we ordered our lives around what our local church was doing, and its schedule of services and events. But we were not alone in this level of commitment. The truth is, my mom learned to do this by following the other members of our local church who were spiritual and dedicated to living their lives for Jesus. I in turn learned to do the same things, and I passed this along to my children as well. Now as a pastor, I have worked diligently to disciple God’s people to do these same things in their walk with Jesus.
I find it sad that this is such a rare thing to find in today’s local churches. But it shouldn’t be. Instead, we must come to realize that our Christian walk is directly linked to our commitment to our local church, and to the spiritual activities each believer is to be participating in daily as the business of their lives.
Look closely at these two verses below that Paul writes to the church at Thessalonica.
“2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 NASU
Now, when you look closely at these verses and really dig out what Paul is saying to us as believers, you will soon discover that this passage is power-packed with the things each of us should be dedicating ourselves to be doing continually.
For example, Paul provides for us the example of praying for believers in verse two above. With that in mind, look at what he wrote to the churches at Galatia.
“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,” Galatians 4:19 KJV
Paul and those who ministered with him were not the type of people who went out and got people born again, established a church, and then left them to fend for themselves. He was a man of prayer, and a man who always gave thanks for those under his ministry care. So, when he wrote to the churches of Galatia, he explained more specifically how he prayed for the saints.
In his book, The Art of Prayer, Kenneth E. Hagin gives us further insight into this verse. He writes: He travailed for them as sinners to be birthed into the kingdom of God – now he is travailing for them as Christians that they might become mature, that they might grow up and not be baby Christians.”
A baby in the natural has to be carried, fed, nurtured and cared for. And so do new believers. So, Paul’s example in prayer should be followed by all members of the church. In other words, it should become the business of our lives.
Thanksgiving and prayer is what helps to fortify us so that when trouble comes against the local church, or the individual members of the local church, we will remain steadfast.
But now let’s revisit 1 Thessalonians 1:3, and look at the phrase, “work of faith.”
“…constantly bearing in mind your work of faith…” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 NASU
The word “work” in this verse means: “To be committed to; to be occupied with: the business of one’s life.” In other words, we are to have a lifestyle of prayer and faith and love, in order to be strong and healthy spiritually, and to have a strong and vibrant local church.
“NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].” Hebrews 11:1 Amplified Bible
Your faith is working to produce and manifest what you do not see with your natural eyes. In fact, faith is able to look through the storm and see the end result. Faith can see the final outcome from the very beginning.
“But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him.” Hebrews 11:6a Amplified Bible
Whatever else you do for the Kingdom of God, if it is not in faith it will not please God. On the other hand, anything you do by faith, no matter how small, is guaranteed to please Him.
My point is, having a vibrant prayer life and a lifestyle of faith where we are impacting the life and health and multiplication of our local church, must become a significant part of the business of our lives.