An 'Even More' Love
“Now about brotherly love…you do love all the brothers. Yet we urge you…to do so even more. Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business…so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders…” 1 Th 4:9-12.
In today's passage, Paul was writing to the Christian converts in Thessalonica, reminding them of the most important call that God commands…...love. This was a letter written after he had spent time with them, loved them by example and had brought this group of people to Christ. He had received reports, that since his departure, their behavior didn’t resemble love like it should. Paul was very aware that their failure to love threatened the very message of Christ for those people yet to be converted. His message confirmed that the congregation did love each other, but that this love could be improved upon when dealing with each other.
What was his blueprint for loving more? Basically, it was to set a daily goal to not draw attention to themselves by arguing, debating and confronting their brothers. Dr. Leon Morris compares the phrase ‘ambition to lead a quiet life’ as seeking strenuously to be still. This echoes a direct command from God, ‘Be still…’ Psalm 46:9. The second was for them to mind their own business, thus limiting the temptation to judge their own brothers in the faith. Both of these commands would have been crucial in ensuring their mouths matched their behavior. Not much has changed over a few thousand years, has it?
What does this blueprint look like today in our churches and communities? Loving others even more means taking the higher road when opportunities present themselves. Loving even more means having an ambition to express God’s heart on things instead of our own desires. To love another even more is to be still before the Lord each morning to access His love to give away. Expressing the love of God even more means that we do not participate in talking about or tearing down other believers. These are the things that can authenticate our faith or diminish our faith as unbelievers stand by watching. We sometimes get so caught up looking inwardly towards our spiritual siblings we forget that others are watching from the outside. No one is going to try to pattern their behavior after those they do not respect. A testimony is only as good as the people who are willing to listen. Without respect there are no ears to hear.
Our words, our focus and our activity must match the love of God or our message will be null and void without gain. We all have a daily calling to get up off our couches and from behind our desks, to engage with others in love, service and sacrifice…now that’s an even more love.