“…And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 3:12
Scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:11–13
Unconverted men and women by nature, hate God and their neighbour. That’s what comes naturally to men and women who know not the Christ. Yet, by the miracle of rebirth, all of that changes. When God opens the hearts to the preaching, hearts are changed and true conversion is seen. As a natural consequence of that change, love is seen emanating from the hearts and lives of the born-again Christian. We see love for God and love for one another.
That change had taken place in Thessalonica. Paul had preached, the Holy Spirit had worked and men and women were called out of darkness into God’s marvellous light. A spirit of love took hold of the congregation. Where they had formerly been enemies and haters of God and neighbour, there was now love, love for God and love for one another.
But that love was not yet perfect; it needed to grow. The Thessalonians needed to grow in grace, faith and sanctification. Their love for God and for each other needed to grow, day by day. Through Christ’s intercessory prayers, the congregation needed to develop a deeper, stronger, more intense love. There needed to be true empathy and compassion for one another. They needed to be in constant prayer for one another. They needed to learn what it meant to: “Love God above all else and their neighbour as themselves.”
If the Apostle Paul was to examine your congregation, if he was to examine your heart and life, would he find that so necessary love?
Suggestions for prayer
Ask God to create in you a deeper, stronger, warmer love for Him and for your fellow man, beginning with those in the household of faith.
Rev. Mark Zylstra is an emeritus minister of the United Reformed Churches in North America. He and his wife Corrie, live in Smithville ON and their home church is Wellandport, ON URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.