Increasing and Abounding in Love

may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all… I Thessalonians 3:12 (ESV)

What motivates your love?

Is it the love of others? Their attention or approval? Gifts?

The Bible says, we love because God first loved us (I John 4:19).

As I grow to know the love of Jesus from passages in the Bible, and see God’s faithfulness and love in my life, my response is gratitude. Jesus’ compassion for me makes me more compassionate. His love for me makes me more willing to love like him—unconditionally.

Is your experience like mine? Do you personally know the love of Jesus?

So often, I find people don’t really know much about Jesus Christ. Sure, they recognize his birth at Christmas and perhaps even acknowledge that Easter is about his death and resurrection.

Before I was a Christian, this was all I knew about Christ. I had heard John 3:16—“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” But I did not know God’s Son.

Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature and radiates the glory of God!

  • Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all thingsthrough whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… Hebrews 1: 1-3 (ESV)

Jesus has compassion which moves him to loving actions.

  • When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14 (ESV)
  • As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her.  And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”  Luke 7: 12-14 (ESV)

Jesus intentionally reaches out to the outcasts and oppressed in society.

  • And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. Mark 1: 40-42 (ESV)
  • And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. Mark 2:14-15 (ESV)
  • Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Luke 8: 44-47 (ESV)

Jesus’ love compells him to sacrifice his life.

  • “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10: 14 (ESV)
  • Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (ESV)

If our love is sourced in the steadfast and everlasting love of God, then Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians is my prayer for us all—may the Lord make us increase and abound in love for one another and for all!

Jesus’ love in us is evidenced in our love for others.

  • A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13: 34-35 (ESV)

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