Do you have a green thumb? My parents absolutely do. They ran a successful greenhouse for years in Roanoke. I, however, have a very brown thumb. I’m pretty sure that if it was possible to kill a fake plant, I could find a way to. To successfully grow things, it takes some knowledge, some time, some patience; all things that I seem to lack. I have always heard the statement, “healthy things grow.” While I agree with the premise of that statement, we have to be careful about the application of that statement, especially in certain areas. I hear that statement most often at church growth events. However, there is one area that we should absolutely be growing in as a disciple of Jesus. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are all in Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more.”
The apostle Paul is writing a church that he planted on a missionary journey. The city of Thessalonica is interesting, because while some embraced Paul and the Gospel, many hated him and ran him out of town. Yet, even though he was emotionally hurt by the behavior, he is writing this letter to a church that he loved. In this, Paul is teaching us a valuable lesson, we need to do what we know we are supposed to do regardless of what others do. Paul is living out what he is writing to the Thessalonians. They had a reputation of loving each other, which Paul praises. He says that they learned to love from God. The Gospel teaches us to love, because it comes from a God who loves. However, Paul also encourages them to grow in their love for one another and for others around them. Love is something that takes times to grow. I have been married for 15 years to Diana. While I knew I loved her on our wedding day, I can honestly say that I love her even more now. Why? Because I have gotten to spend more time with her, and I have gotten to know her more. Here in lies the key, the more time we spend with God, the more we will grow in the things of God, especially our love for the church and for others. If I am praying and reading the Bible to know God, and to become more like Him daily through obedience, then I am going to naturally reflect Him to those around me. Therefore, the answer to a lack of love is not to try harder, but to spend more time with God. The more I learn of Him, the more I will show Him to those around me. Is your love for God and others evident to those around you? Are you growing in your love towards others? If not, spend some time talking with God, and then learning more about Him. Then, ask God to help you go out and emulate what you have read about Him.
By His grace and for His glory,