1 Thessalonians 3:10-13, Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? 11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
1 Thessalonians 4:7, 9-12, For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. … 9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; 11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
In 1 Thessalonians 3:10-12, in addition to praying that God would allow him to revisit the folks in Thessalonica, we also find Paul’s three-fold desire and prayer for the church family.
- First of all, Paul prayed that God would prefect what was lacking in their faith and that God would use him as an instrument to do so. Another way of saying it would be that their faith would increase.
- Secondly, he prayed that their love for one another and ALL MEN would increase.
- Lastly, Paul prayed for their hearts to be established in holiness.
When you think about it, that’s not a bad prayer to pray for those who we are personally discipling and/or have some spiritual oversight. And it’s definitely not a bad prayer to pray daily for our own personal lives.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:7-12, among other things, Paul reminded and admonished the folks in Thessalonica to keep in mind that they have been called to live holy lives (4:7), and that they were taught by God to love one another (4:9). The transition from holiness to love or from love to holiness should be a natural one, or should we say a “supernatural” one.
The more we love God, the more we will live like God; and the more we live like God, the more we will love others like God loves us!
This truth is found over and over again throughout the New Testament [Matthew 22:37-39; John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; Romans 13:8-9; 1 Corinthians 13; Galatians 5:14, 22-23; Ephesians 5:1-2; James 2:8; 1 John 3:11-18; 4:7-11].
Concerning this, one author wrote the following stinging words:
So few recognize us as children of God because we do not resemble our Father. … We should be on a transformative, redemptive mission of peace and love like Jesus the revolutionary, but instead we take stands, pass laws, and campaign against issues. Instead of changing the world with the power of love, we react to issues and take defensive postures and look as hateful as any faction in this growing divide. … For my part, I do not want anything to do with a Christianity void of love. But most people in the world already know the dirty little secret: our churches are not driven by faith working itself out in love. We can say otherwise, but nobody hears us, because our lack of love shouts so loudly in our posture, priorities, and practices.
Hard words to swallow, but definitely worth pondering!
The apostle Paul truly understood that there was no real conflict between living a biblically holy life and living a biblically loving life. Biblical love and holiness go hand-in-hand. They did in the life of Christ who was the holiest man to ever live, as well as the most loving man to ever live. And they did so in the life of the apostle Paul, who surely was one of the greatest Christians, missionaries, and theologians who has ever lived.
The more holy we are the more loving we should become and the more loving we are the more holy we should become!
Of course, all of this begins when we love God as we should. Seeking to know, love, serve, and obey Christ will always lead one to live a holy life and a loving life!
Just taking a few moments to reflect on Paul’s words to the church at Thessalonica!