Scripture Reading: I Thessalonians 3:6-13
“Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all the saints.” (I Thesalonians 3:11-13)
Paul was greatly relieved when he received a report from Timothy regarding the Thessalonians. He was especially pleased to hear about their faith and love (vs. 6-8). He replied, “For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy we feel for your sake before our God?” (v. 9)
Paul then wrote a prayer for them. He prayed that our God and Father and our Lord Jesus would make a way for him to visit them again. Then he prayed that God would enable the Thessalonians to increase and abound in their love for each other and for all. I really don’t think about praying a prayer like this very often for the members of my family and for those in my church.
Because we are broken and sinful people, we often do not love one another as we should. We become impatient and unkind. We can be rude and selfish, irritable and resentful. All these attitudes and actions are the exact opposite of what I Corinthians 13:4-8 teaches us about the kind of love God wants us to have toward one another.
It is amazing how much conflict exists in churches. So much of this conflict comes from a lack of love. I’ve seen dysfunction among church staff, among lay leaders and among congregants. People who should know better fail in applying gospel-centered love toward one another.
It is understandable why Paul prayed that the Lord would cause these early believers to increase and abound in their love for one another. And today we need to be praying this same prayer for those in our families and in our churches.
Lord Jesus, Your love for me is sacrificial, unconditional, and unending. I know that You want me to love others with Your love. I cannot do it in my own power. There are some people who are especially hard for me to love. May Your love flow through me and out of me into the lives others so that You will be glorified and the world we see how we Christians love one another.
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