When you look in the mirror, what do you see? A person who is happy and fulfilled and full of life? Or, do you see a person tired, discouraged, unmotivated, barely scraping by? If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Your height or your nose? Be more extroverted and sociable? Be more assertive and confident? Or be gentler and more patient? And what do you look for in a future mate or friend? What would you like to see more in your spouse or children? What are you looking for in an employee or coworker or boss? In different settings and relationships, we look for different qualities in people we deal with. Generally, the qualities that are valued in people are competence, consistency, considerateness, and, of course, a great sense of humor. 

What do you think God would like to see in you? I’m sure many of you are thinking of the fruit of the Spirit Paul lists in Gal. 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We must keep in mind that these characteristics are not just for certain, special Christians: these are characteristics that all Christians should cultivate. But there are nine of them and it’s not easy to keep track of them all. Fortunately for us, in Paul’s thanksgiving for the Thessalonians, we have three Christian virtues, which are highlighted for us: faith, love, and hope.