“Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith.”-1 Thessalonians 3:10
We don’t typically think about gaps, when we are referring to something like our faith! However, we all have them. A gap is an unfilled space or break in continuity. Gaps are not typically seen as signs of strength; rather they are consider signs of weakness, vulnerability, or something being incomplete.
The Apostle Paul had a dream in which a man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing and pleading with him to come and help them. Paul believing this was a directive from the Lord decided to leave at once for Macedonia to preach the Good News there. Virtually immediately Paul met opposition in Philippi where he was imprisoned for a short time. After being released he traveled to Thessalonica where he went to the synagogue to share the gospel. He won several to Christ before some of the jealous religious Jews gathered the people to make trouble for Paul. After three weeks Paul was forced out of town.
However, in that three week span of time, Paul managed to establish a fledgling church. Paul was burdened for this little church and in 1 Thessalonians 3: 1-5 wrote:
“Finally, when we could stand it no longer, we decided to stay alone in Athens, and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-worker[a] in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know. That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless.”
Timothy returned with good news that their faith remained strong and it is here that Paul expresses his desire to return and “fill the gaps in their faith.” How many know that a church established on three weeks of teaching is probably going to have some “gaps in their faith”? There are some things that they have yet to be taught and some things they have yet to experience. It doesn’t mean that we were not fully saved, or that they were not able to be effective witnesses for Christ, or that they were floundering spiritually. It simply means that there were some areas of weakness, vulnerability, and incompleteness that needed to be filled.
Every one of us has gaps! Gaps in our faith that we shouldn’t overlook or ignore. Gaps are access points for the enemy to manipulate. In Nehemiah 2, Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem and finds the city in ruins, but rather than working to rebuild the city he turns his attention to the wall surrounding the city:
“So, though it was still dark, I went up the Kidron Valley instead, inspecting the wall before I turned back and entered again at the Valley Gate.”-Nehemiah 2:15
After evaluating the situation, Nehemiah had families positioned along the wall wherever there were gaps and they began to rebuild. Immediately, the enemy began to oppose their work:
“Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices?Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?” Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!”-Nehemiah 4:1-3
From this story we learn a valuable truth; you cannot rebuild your life until you deal with the gaps in your faith. Those gaps, those areas of unbelief or doubt, are the enemies access points. So overcoming the enemy means filling the gaps!
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church