In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he thanks God for them, particularly mentioning their faith, love, and hope. In the third verse of his second letter to them, he says something similar, “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.” Unlike the first letter, Paul explains that his giving thanks for them seems to be a compulsion – it is a moral obligation. That’s what “ought always” (ophello) means! I have a moral obligation to thank God for you, and it is right that I do just that! It is my obligation to do that because God has answered my prayers for you.  As mentioned in I Thessalonians Paul prayed for them to “excel more in faith & love.” I am obligated to thank God for both your growing faith and love!

The phrase “growing abundantly” is one word in Greek. It’s to grow but with a preposition prefixed to the word. The preposition is “hyper.” It’s kind of like “super” growth. I used Miracle Grow on my tomatoes sometimes. I’m not sure that it works all that well every year, but I want it to. I think God wants our faith to be in the “hyper” growth mode. We planted pumpkins one year in Michigan. I got the seeds from a special catalog. They were super-growth pumpkins and these things never stopped growing.  One vine had three pumpkins. One weighed 108 pounds, one weighed 94 pounds, and one weighed about 75 pounds. They were huge. They were “hyper-growth” pumpkins.

One website asks a great question, “God wants us to have faith and to increase our faith. But how? It’s not something we can just wish for or work up on our own. How can we grow in faith?”[1] I don’t care too much for their answer. Although there is some truth to their three-step process to increase faith, I think it’s bigger than just doing these three things. They say we should “Ask God for more faith.” That’s good. Then we need to “Focus on obeying God.” Of course, we should do that. Finally, they tell us to “Put God’s Word into your mind.” The importance of the Bible in our growing faith cannot be overemphasized. I believe that is how we get to know God most. Like any relationship, we grow in trusting someone by getting to know them better. We grow in faith by recognizing God’s positive disposition towards us. God loves us and shows that love to us every day. He fills the world with color and gives me eyes. He fills the world with music and gives me ears. He fills the world with good things to eat and gives me the ability to enjoy them. Noticing how God’s everyday sustenance of our lives is a clear demonstration of His love for us helps our faith grow. Even when we suffer hardships, God is at work in making it come out in the end for our best. This is growing faith. The more we see God at work in the minor details of our lives, the my “hyper-growth” we will experience. When we see how good God is to us in our everyday life, we will naturally grow in our love for Him as well. It has a lot to do with how we process the world around us and our experiences in life. Some people see the glass as half full. Others see the cup as half empty. Not me! Like the Palmist in Psalm 23, “My cup runneth over.”