Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3:12, ‘May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.’
Observations: Firstly, it’s helpful to note that this is a prayer. Paul is asking that the Lord will make their love increase. Paul isn’t telling them that they need to make their love increase, because he knows that only God can make deep and lasting change in people’s lives. Firstly, Paul asks that their ‘love will increase.’ This is either their personal love for God, or their feeling of love, or both. Secondly, Paul prays that their love will ‘overflow.’ It must be more than a feeling, it needs to impact other people. Thirdly, he prays that it will ‘overflow for each other,’ for their fellow brothers and sisters in Thessalonica. Paul wants them to become a more loving community. Fourthly, Paul prays that their love will overflow ‘for everyone else.’ They aren’t just to love those in the church, but also those outside the church. Finally, Paul reminds them that this is how he loves them. Paul doesn’t just have love, and it doesn’t just overflow into the lives of his companions, it also overflows into the lives of those outside the church, like the people in Thessalonica once were.
Application: Firstly, do you pray this sort of thing for yourself and for others? Do you ask God to make your love increase and overflow? Do you pray that God will make the love of your brothers and sisters in Christ increase and overflow? And Secondly, are you seeing this sort of love in your life? Is your capacity for love increasing? Is your love overflowing for your brothers and sisters in Christ? Is your love overflowing for others, especially those who haven’t heard the gospel?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that You not only love me, but that your love overflowed for me in the person of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Lord, I can see Your love displayed in His death on the cross. Lord, I ask that You may increase my love, that it might overflow into the lives of others, and not just those I like, but for those who most need to experience Your love in their lives. Lord, help me to become more like You, someone who loves unconditionally, and whose love transforms people. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.