and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. -1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, NASB
I always make note of Paul’s prayers and desires for the churches he writes to. In this instance it seems quite simple really, that they abound in love for one another…and for all people. That should be my desire and prayer as well. The first part is easy; abounding in love for one another-I am blessed to be a part of a body of believers where love abounds, I know that is not always the case. How sad when a people who are to be known for their love behave in unloving ways in the church. But lest we think we are immune, it is good to put this prayer before God on a regular basis that love continues to abound. I like to ask myself the obvious when I come to verses like this, so what does it mean to abound? Here are some synonyms: brim, bulge, burst, bustle, buzz, overflow, swarm, teem. So I have to ask, is my love for the body abounding? And what about for all people? How am I doing with loving those outside of the church? Our abounding love is not limited to those within our church, but extends well beyond its walls to the outside world. How am I doing with following Jesus in that area-in the “outside world?” This really needs to become a prayer I incorporate often. And yes I start there, with prayer, it is where the change in me begins really. On my own I will always fail miserably, but through the power of God who is at work in me I am made more and more into the image of His Son-and like His Son I too will be able to abound in love. This is never about my work, but the work of Christ in and through me-to God be the glory!