So not surprisingly I am a few days late for this, but it's all good. Here's the verse I'm writing on my heart these next two weeks, I hope you'll join me!
"...and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints." 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
There are so many things that I love about this beautiful passage of Scripture. First, simply the prayer that our love for one another would abound and increase is something so simple yet so incredibly revolutionary. To have a love that abounds as Christ does for our brothers and sisters in Christ requires a serious heart check, which is why this is SO important for the body of Christ. This means we pray for, encourage, and stand with EVERYONE belonging to Christ. Have someone in your life that also follows Christ but seems to just get under your skin? That one person whose spirit is not always so encouraging and helpful but maybe more critical? LOVE them. Leave all the bitterness, envy, pride, and selfishness of our sinful nature buried with Christ. If our love for one another does not abound then unity is threatened and so is the health of the body. We are on the SAME team with the SAME goal of furthering the Kingdom.
The second piece of this passage that God laid on my heart was the section about having our love abound for one another SO THAT (and here it is...) we may be blameless before our Father. Us?! Blameless?! Ha, I don't know about you but I know that my sinful heart is the farthest thing from blameless. All those things I mentioned and more about leaving them buried with Christ are what hinders us from being blameless. The beautiful thing here is that by passionately loving one another we leave no room for being to blame when it comes to loving our brothers and sisters. There is no way that after a few weeks or maybe even months or YEARS of passionately praying for people we don't always see eye to eye with that there will be no love for them. We must first love one another so we can blamelessly love those OUTSIDE of the body, which is what Christ always intended.
Lastly, I find the piece of this Scripture about the coming of the Lord Jesus with all HIS SAINTS particularly beautiful. In this life long battle of fighting the enemy and dying to ourselves for the sake of the Gospel, we are not alone. The countless before us that loved God and his people and gave their lives for the furthering of the kingdom are still fighting with us. We have the saints that surround Christ praying over us, interceding at the hand of the father. Those mentioned in Scripture like Moses, David, and Paul...along with so many others, AND those whose names are written in the book of life from the last 2000+ years that have had an authentic relationship with Christ, from all over the world. With these, also are those who have DIED merely for saying the powerful name of Jesus. Those who faced persecution without denouncing the love they had for their Lord. These are the people we will stand WITH, as one body, as one bride, at the return of Christ. What a beautiful picture of abounding love and victory!
I'd love to hear your thoughts about this passage, or any other that God may be writing on your heart! Praying that you lead with love this week and are richly blessed by the love of the Father!