Today’s Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:9-3:13
If there is Paul has a wish for the church in Thessalonian, “And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.” (3:12)
Christianity burst into a corrupt world with a brilliantly new moral radiance… The moral level of society was dismal, and sin prevailed in many forms… Into this discouraged world came Christ and His Spirit-transformed disciples, filled with holy joy, motivated by a love which the pagans could not grasp, and proclaiming Good News-the message that God has provided a Saviour… The Christians lived in tiny communities knit together in the power of the Holy Spirit, little colonies of heaven. They thought of themselves as pilgrims on their way to the celestial city, but they were very much concerned to manifest the love of Christ in all human relationships.
Love is an amazing thing and empowers us to do amazing things! In 1956 Life magazine told of the shocking death of five missionaries in the jungles of Ecuador. For several months these men had tried to make contact with the primitive Auca Indians. On their first attempt to establish a camp, they were brutally murdered! Today these same Auca tribesmen are all Christians. They are leaders of a small congregation that worships near the spot where the missionaries died. Many educators and government leaders have expressed astonishment at the miraculous change in these Indians. How did it happen? The answer lies in the love of God expressed to these people by the sister of Nate Saint and the wife of Jim Elliot, two of the martyred missionaries. Led by God who is love and not vengeance, these women were able to break down the walls of distrust. In time they were able to share the gospel with these tribesmen and see the love of Christ transform their lives.
Jerry Bridges wrote “Love is very much a matter of actions rather than emotions. However, although this emphasis on acts of love is certainly necessary, we can sometimes give the impression that love doesn’t involve any emotion – that it is entirely an act of the will, of one’s duty, regardless of how one feels. We can even promote the “I can love him but I can’t like him” type of attitude. The Bible does not support such an unbalanced concept of love…fervently, fondly, and affectionately (are used in the Bible) to describe the love Christians ought to have for one another… Obviously such a fervency of spirit cannot substitute for loving actions, but surely it should accompany them. We dare not settle for less.”
Our job in this life is not to go off on our own and get busy, busy, busy, work, work, work, trying in vain to produce fruit. Trying to love people on our own will lead to a life of frustration. Our responsibility is not to produce the fruit of the Spirit on our own. Our responsibility is to have a relationship to Jesus Christ and to let God use us. We cannot exercise love unless we are experiencing grace. John said, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).