Are We There Yet?
“Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” I Thessalonians 3:11-13
If you have a sibling, you are likely quite familiar with “sibling rivalry”. Nothing makes a car ride long like sibling unrest in the vehicle. My sister is six years older than me and we have taken many road trips together. When we were growing up, we were devoid of electronic devices and often play card and board games. If you can imagine an immature boy with a maturing sibling, then you can imagine the drama that often ensued between us. We loved each other, but you can imagine it was not always easy getting along.
I recall one time when we were playing a card game on the way back from a trip to Mexico. We were in a nice bus, so the accommodations were quite comfortable. My sister was with her friend and I was badly outmatched in the card game. I starting to take notice that I was getting all the bad cards and my sister and her friend were getting all the good ones. Their trickery was discovered through their constant laughing, especially when I finally realized they were not laughing with me, but rather at me. I am not sure how many games it took for me to realize, but my sister and her friend were pulling a fast one on me. I discovered they were cheating and I did not abound in love towards her. I wanted to attack her on the bus but my parents and the pastor were on the bus, so this restrained me for the moment. I told my mom and I still have not been able to trust my sister in card games.
I think of the many times in which there has been “sibling rivalry” between brothers and sisters in Christ. I think of the relationships that have been lost and the pain that has ensued due to improper actions and offenses. We use the Bible against each other and omit the parts that convict us and use the passages that benefit us. We often do not bother to be loving and kind because we are more concerned about being right. The Apostle Paul sought for the Thessalonians to increase and abound in love with and for each other. He prayed for them that the Lord would increase their love toward each other, as true, godly love is the hardest thing to live out in our Christian walk. He realized it was not a natural thing to abound in love, but it is only achieved when we walk in the Spirit. We are not only called to love, but to abound in love one towards one another and to all people. Love is powerful, and it was the Father’s love that was the perfect example for us all.
Where are you today friend? Are you able to close your eyes and think of that brother or sister in Christ whom you have a hard time loving? If I am honest with myself, I can think of several people for whom I need to ask God to help me abound in love. In heaven, we will not live on separate streets of gold from those we don’t like. May we allow God to grow our love towards one another and even those who are not our brother and sisters in Christ. We will stand before Him one day, and our differences that we have with one another will seem petty and irrelevant. May we allow God to establish our hearts towards love, and may we be found blameless when he comes again.
Stay in the fight!