“Love You, Man”
Mighty God, You are my hope when all else fails; my solid rock, firm and secure, on whom I can depend. I love You, Lord.
Read 1 THESSALONIANS 3:6–13
6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Love people when they least expect it and least deserve it” (Mark Batterson).
As we are regularly reminded, our Christian story is blighted by brokenness—denominational fragmentation, participation in oppression and relational failure. Yet, there is another side to our Christian narrative, where relational love abounds. Some passages of Scripture exhort this directly (e.g., 1 Cor. 13; John 13:34,35; Matt. 5:44–48). Others, like this one, speak of such relationships in real life. We read here of Paul and his team’s deep love for the Thessalonians. We can almost hear Paul’s sigh of relief when he hears “good news” (6) from Timothy that they are standing strong in suffering and that Paul’s love is reciprocated. This love is seen in the pathos of this letter, Paul calling them “brothers and sisters” and “saints” and in his “longing to see” them. Like an absent parent, he yearns to be with his kids (cf. 1 Thess. 2:7,11). Indeed, he pleads with God for the opportunity. Letters, emails, calls and texts, Facebook and Skype are great, but nothing can replace being together as family. The Thessalonians similarly remember and long for Paul and his team. Such is Christian relationship—mutual longing. So moved is Paul that his heart wells up in prayer, pleading with God to make a way for him to come.
He also prays that the Thessalonians’ love may overflow for one another (1 Thess. 1:3). He prays that this love will overflow into the wider community. As Paul elsewhere says, “Do everything in love” (1 Cor. 16:14). A recent story illustrates this kind of love. A man was stabbed in the heart in a violent altercation. While standing in court, the accused suddenly changed his plea to “guilty,” apologized and asked for forgiveness. The victim responded, “Anytime.” The two men embraced and the victim said, “Love you, man.” This is the kind of love that changes the world.
Consider the state of your church. Are the believers showing love? Pray for a fresh outpouring of love on yourself and that the church will overflow with God’s love.
Father, pour out Your love so that it fills our lives and splashes over on everyone around me (cf. 1 Thess. 3:12).
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