Paul’s Anxiety in Athens: 3:1-10.
Since Paul could not visit Thessalonica, he sent Timothy to encourage the Thessalonian church. Paul always had a great burden for fellow believers (2 Cor 12:28). He feared that Satan could tempt the believers and his labor would be in vain (3:5). Timothy was sent to strengthen, to establish and to encourage the believers in the faith. Paul warned them that if the afflictions would shaken their faith, it would be evident that they never truly believed the gospel. The believers are not immune from sufferings (John 16:33; Acts 14:22). Paul was encouraged by Timothy's good news about Thessalonian believer's faith and love in Christ. Paul always worked with others servants of God and sought their help in the ministry. He considered them as brothers, ministers of God and fellow laborers. It confirmed that his labor was not in vain. Paul was thankful for what God is doing in their lives (3:9). He also longed to see them face to face to minister what is lacking in their faith (3:10). His stay among them was brief and they still have much to learn about Christ and Christian life ( Acts 17:2). This should be the earnest desire of all who are in the ministry. The true power for change comes from Christ in whom we trust. Pray that God would increase our faith in Christ to do great things for God.
Paul’s Prayer and Blessing: 3:11-13.
Paul prays that the Thessalonians may be encouraged and strengthened in their Christian life. In Paul’s prayer, we see threefold request. He earnestly prays that God would direct his way back to them. His prayer was personal, particular purposeful and submissive. Prayer is not persuading God to move things on our way or overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of God’s willingness in life. Paul waited for God’s timing to visit them (Act 19:21; 20:1). His prayer was addressed to “God our father and our Lord Jesus”. God is not indifferent towards the object or the manner of prayer. We must pray to the Father through Christ in the Spirit ( John 14:13, 14; Jude 20). God is our Father through Jesus Christ (John 1:12). The Father and the Son are one and whatever the Father does, the Son also does (John 10:30; 5:19). In light of the imminent return of Christ, Paul prays that the Thessalonians may increase and abound in love for one another and for all people (3:12). Humanly it is impossible. Only the Lord makes our love to grow. We love God because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love (Rom 5:5). Christ sets an example for us to love one another (John 13: 34). We are commanded to love our enemies (Mat 5:44). Love covers a multitude of sin and never keeps record of wrong doings (1 Pet 4:8; 1 Cor 13:5). There is no fear in love because perfect love expels all fear (1 John 4:18). Without love our worship and sacrifices are empty and gain nothing (1 Cor 13:1-3). Only the sincere love can strengthen our hearts and keep us from sin. Paul prays that Thessalonians may be strengthened in holiness as they wait for the coming Savior. Christ is coming with all his saints. The Lord is the one ultimately make us blameless (Ephesians 5:26-27; Jude 24). Everyone who has this hope in Christ purifies himself, just as He is pure (1 John 3:3).