May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
1 Thessalonians 3:12
Loved by God
Early in this letter, the apostle Paul addressed the believers in Thessalonica as those who were “loved by God.” The message Paul preached centered on the love of God. As sinners, all people only deserved to be separated from God and condemned. But God had mercy on the people of this world and sent his only Son, Jesus, to rescue them from the curse of sin and the hold of eternal death. Jesus has taken away the guilt of sin and brought peace between God and people.
When the Holy Spirit uses this good news to work and strengthen faith in Jesus, and the love of God fills our hearts, it has an effect on the way we treat other people. Filled and thrilled with that love of God, Paul prays for the increase of God’s love in the hearts of people. The more our hearts hear the saving truths of God’s Word, the more they are conformed to live according to the love of God. In fact, Paul prays for God’s love to “overflow for each other.” Like a container that is filled to overflowing, so the love that God pours into our hearts is so measureless that it fills us with its goodness and overflows from us into the lives of others.
Filled with God’s kind of love, we are moved to love others the way he loves us: completely, unconditionally, selflessly. We love not only “each other”—those who share our faith and joy in Jesus, but also “everyone else”—even those who may make our life difficult. The love of God we show toward them can make such an impression that they might ask why we treat them so well. Then that’s an opportunity to tell them about the love of God in Jesus!
My God, increase my faith and fill me with your love in Jesus. Give me the ability to let your love generously overflow from my heart into the lives of people all around me. Amen.