1 THESSALONIANS 4:9-11 – Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.”
THEME OF THE DAY: IS HE? As we read the scriptures and come upon portions when the author affirms or recognizes positive spiritual traits and works of God in His people, we are to pause and ask, “Is God doing this work in me?” Here is one example of an individual affirmed by the Apostle Paul. His name was Philemon and the Apostle recognizes the testimony and reputation of this godly man – I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you (Philemon 4-7). Philemon was known for his love, faith, and service of encouragement to other believers. Now the application – “Does that describe us? Would believers be quick to say that of us?”
Today’s scripture is another example of believers with a great testimony and more specifically, of God teaching them truth to be lived. What was it? Love. God was instructing the Thessalonian Christians to love other Christians and to do so in ways that would deepen and deepen and deepen. Just like with Philemon, we need to ask of ourselves, “Is God teaching us to love other Christians?” If so, how would we know? Here are three indicators God is teaching us to love and we are applying it in our lives.
First, if God is teaching us to love, the interests of Christ and others will be put ahead of our own – For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:20-21). Self will be put on a shelf.
Another indication we are learning to love other Christians is our sacrificial service for them – I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? (2 Corinthians 12:15). We won’t serve God’s people when convenient. We will pay the cost. Howard Hendricks once said, “The service that counts is the service that costs” and that is what happens in the life of the Christian being taught to love.
Finally, when God is teaching His children to love others of His children, they will build relationships of encouragement and edification. There won’t be critical spirits, harboring ill thoughts, gossiping, or slanderous speech. We will be consistently active in the ministry of encouragement – But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception (Hebrews 3:13).
The Christian life is the learning life and God is our Teacher. The chief lesson He wants to teach us is to love His children. The question we must ask is, “Is He?”
PRAYER: “Father, make me teachable and help me respond in obedience to what I am learning.”
QUOTE: “God will teach us to love and it is our responsibility to be good students.”
In the affection of Christ Jesus,