Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all,just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. First Thessalonians 3:11-13 NKJV
Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians is that they may increase and abound in love to one another. Why is loving one another so important? Can’t I just live my life to myself, without hurting anyone else? Not if we say we’re followers of Christ.
Jesus said we’d be known by our love. By this the world will know we are His disciples, if we love each other ( John 13:35 NKJV ). If we love Him, we obey His commandments (John 14:15 NKJV). If we love Him, we abide in Him (1 John 4:16 NKJV). If we love, we put God on display in our life. First John 4:12 NKJV “No one has seen God at anytime. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” Notice how each sentence began with “if.” That means love is a choice. If we say we belong to Christ, love is the evidence.
Love sets the precedent. Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV definition of love:
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Here’s quick test to see how well you are loving. Try reading these verses again and this time substitute your name in place of the word love. This will usually point out any areas in your life where you’re not being loving. When you discover you’re not loving the way it’s described here, don’t get discouraged, angry, or frustrated, but rather take it to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to help you be loving and by His spirit dwelling in you, He will answer that prayer because it’s aligned with His will. Try it for yourself!
Paul also prays God will establish their hearts blameless in holiness. Does your heart ever condemn you? Mine does. But guess what? I don’t have to listen to it, for I know it’s flawed. Even when my heart condemns me, I remember there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus ( Romans 8:1 NKJV). Therefore, I know condemnation isn’t from God and I reject it. That’s a good example of why we need to read God’s Word on a regular basis. If our thoughts don’t align with God’s truth, we reject them. This is what it means to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. Without God’s truth hidden in our hearts and mind, how can we measure our thoughts against them?
In conclusion, we have read that love sets the precedent. By our love the world will see God on display. Though our hearts may condemn us, we are blameless before God because Christ’s death on the cross paid for our sins. All charges against us have been dropped, so any condemnation is also rejected. The more we hide God’s Word in our hearts and minds, the more we align ourselves with God’s perfect will. How are you doing today? Are you aligned with His will?
Father, thank you for clearing all the charges against us because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Thank you for dwelling in us by your Holy Spirit. Thank you for your Holy Word that shows us how to live. Thank you for the power to carry out what is pleasing to you. Thank you for finishing the good work you began in us. In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.