1 Thessalonians 3.11-13
My bride and I poured a healthy chunk of our lives into Michigan. We loved our days with amazing people. Memories fill our hearts from events, victories, relationships and growth while in the Mitten State.
Time marches on and our Sovereign God moved us to serve in another part of the vineyard. Yet, we both kept in touch with special people whose friendship proved itself over time. We wondered if we would ever get a chance to enjoy them face to face again.
There were unexpected times when we would stumble across a picture, a memento or a souvenir from our days in the Great Lakes. We would reminisce. Often we would say to each other, “Remember when” and then we would finish the thought or even add to the others rendition.
God has a way of putting a longing in our hearts. Then, in His mysterious ways He makes circumstances align so that we can fulfill that longing. He is very good to us that way.
The Apostle Paul had this depth of longing to be with the Christians at Thessalonica. He even prayed that God would make it possible for him to make that journey safely, removing any obstacle that would impede that reunion. In his prayer he automatically identified that the Father and Jesus are both God.
The grammar and vocabulary support this as a theological reality for him. Furthermore, this prayer is not relegated to secondary staff to carry it out but the Father himself is featured at the priority position of the request. Jesus is included with the title of Master, which is consistent with the acknowledging of His deity.
In his petition he asked God to “clear the way” for this venture. Literally, this means to “make straight” a path. It is a metaphorical term that gives the picture of taking a winding road and figuratively pulling it at both ends so that it is now straight. Paul wants to enjoy their fellowship as soon as possible and not have any delays or obstacles spoil their meeting up again.
The prayer of Paul is captivating. He is asking that God increase their love. This is one of those Kingdom values that can never be done in excess.
Those who follow Christ should not just see their love grow and increase but it should overflow. An abundance of anything that is overflowing paints a rich picture of bounty. It fits what love, Christian love is.
Nothing about this description is comfortable in solitary. Relationships make the difference. The application of love is all about being a blessing to others.
No one is left out in the application of enjoying the abundance of love. Paul not only includes each believer but he gives a catch-all phrase just in case any else thought that they were uniquely left out. This may mean that even non-believers are to benefit from Christian love. Certainly, Paul interjects that he along with his fellow servants are loving them too.
While these very special people were all about exercising selfless love toward each other and those who were not in the church, they still could improve. They needed strengthening in their spirits. Faith, one of the parts of that famous trio of love and hope, is a perpetual focus of development. It is a dynamic that keeps increasing until eternity is reached.
There is nothing in this instruction about perfection. No one can reach that state because we are all human. Nor is it a process that has flawlessness as our goal. This term, “blameless” means that in an objective arena accusations that are thrown at us do not stick.
The term “holy” does not mean perfect either. Rather, it means “called to a special purpose” that is, God has given us a divine directive to do His will. To be holy in His presence is to have been faithful in doing His will in our lives.
All Christians look forward to seeing Jesus return in their lifetime. That eagerness is an expression of the love that dominates their lives. Someday all who belong to the family of God will see Him. Some will receive the privilege to be on the earth when Jesus returns, just as He promised that He would.
When Jesus comes again, He will be accompanied by Christians who have already died and been in heaven. They will join Jesus for the great gathering with believers who will be taken directly to heaven. It is a mysterious and wonderful prophetic event to anticipate.
LAPP (Life Application): Let love be a primary driver in your life. Be a responsible Christian at work and with all of your responsibilities. Yet, also look for the opportunities to love on the people that your routine brings your way. When you pray and request that God bless those who have blessed you, then, seek the opportunity to be with them in fellowship. Then, cheer each other on in anticipation of Jesus’ eventual coming again.