“Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.”
I Thessalonians 4:1
Paul is admonishing the members of the church in Thessalonica to “abound more and more” in the way they were walking and pleasing God. We all are to be increasing in our spiritual growth and development. There is never a time in our lives when we should think we have arrived, or have no interest in growing in our knowledge of God, application of biblical principles, or obedience. Numerous times in the Word of God, we are challenged with the responsibility of progressing in such things as brotherly love, pleasing God, holiness, etc.
The word abound is used to describe an overflowing or superabundant increase. We are challenged to become more and more godly. What a great challenge for every sincere follower of Christ! There is always room to grow in grace. Even if we love more than we have ever loved, we can love even more. If we are more deliberately seeking to please God, there is still room for improvement. The basic lesson is that we should never take the position that we have no room for progress. How much patience do we have? How diligent has God helped us to become? Have we learned to endure and persevere in difficulties? Have we found the grace to love those who criticize? Are we responding to those in authority better than before? Have we been trusting the Lord more and worrying less? Praise the Lord! However, that does not mean there is not more work to be done and more grace to be experienced.
This lesson provides for a balanced approach to our view of spiritual progress. We need to realize that maturity will take time, and progress is sometimes measured in small steps. At the same time, we must never become satisfied with our spiritual level – realizing that should be increasing more and more. Complacency and apathy are the enemies of spiritual maturity. We must be careful to remember what the goal is for our Christian journey. The objective is not simply to have better character than we had before we were saved. God’s will is that we be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Let’s accept the challenge to cooperate with God’s plan of continual progress, and be willing to “abound more and more.”