He is thankful that they received the Word gladly and allowed God to work in their lives. Their far-reaching testimony was a joy to this traveling evangelist. His rejoicing brings him to encourage them to continue to walk worthy and stand fast in the Lord. And then he says, in 3:12, "The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you."
What a beautiful blessing - to love one another and all men with the same love Paul has shown them.
And what did Paul's love for the Thessalonians look like?
He spoke truth to them, not words of shallow flattery but of depth and honesty. His words built them up with life-giving instruction and strength. They were memorable words from God that saved their souls and equipped them to love others more.
He exhibited gentleness, not some mamby-pamby fluff, but graceful, gentle care and concern that drew them to Christ. His was an open and approachable message of heart and hand that cultivated trust, and an easiness of person that created a healthy, loving atmosphere.
He behaved himself wisely, living the gospel before them. He was never burdensome and heavy or demanding. No showing off, no bossing them around, no arrogance, just a worthy walk, holy, just, and unblameable. His love was true discipleship that affected them greatly.
And why? Because he loved them, and he loved the Lord. The two go together, you know? You can't love God and be effective for Him unless you love others. And Paul's love for the Thessalonicans created a loving mutual bond. What an excellent example for us to follow.
As love is the theme for the coming week, how might your relationships be strengthened if you reached out with loving, gentle words and actions and your behavior was about giving and sharing as you showed the love of Christ to those you love?
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