Paul was thankful that the congregation of believers in Thessalonica was still growing in faith and abounding in love, even during great persecution. Because advancing in faith and love are two essentials in the Christian life. In fact, if you are not continually and consistently growing in both of these areas, then your walk with Christ has grown stagnant!
Here is what Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about this:
“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;” 2 Thessalonians 1:3 NASU
According to James 2:8-9, walking in love is the “Royal Law.” Therefore, it is the law of God. In fact, there is no higher law than the law of love!
To be clearer still, a step out of love is a step into sin. If you are not walking in love with someone, then you are operating in sin. It’s as simple as that!
We are commanded to love one another. If we don’t, then we don’t love God either.
“20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20-21 NASU
There is no greater indicator that we are walking closely with the Lord than that we love one another. Because when you violate the law of love, you are simultaneously violating your commitment to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Jesus gave us as His disciples some clear instructions regarding walking in love that we should pay close attention to. Here is what He said:
“44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;… 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” Matthew 5:44, 46 KJV
Jesus gives us four specific thing we are to do as believers where our enemies are concerned.
- 1. LOVE THEM
Jesus would never instruct us or require us to do anything that we couldn’t do, or that He wouldn’t enable us to do. We can do this assignment because the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost (see Romans 5:5).
- 2. BLESS THEM
How do you bless someone who has become your enemy? Well, one way to do this is that you must speak good things about them by speaking the Word of God over them.
- 3. DO GOOD TO THEM
We need to find something good that we can do for people who have been doing us wrong. It’s a real eye-opener to them of the depth of the love of God at work in our lives.
- 4. PRAY FOR THEM
Remember that Jesus prayed for the very people who crucified Him. And Stephen, a New Testament disciple, prayed for those who stoned him to death.
Obeying the spiritual law that Jesus sets out for us in this passage will completely turn things around for you where your enemies are concerned. In fact, when you determine to walk in love with people, including those who absolutely do not deserve it, the Lord Himself will cause even your enemies to be at peace with you!
“When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7 NASU
While some Christians are busily looking for a way to get revenge, others choose to do things God’s way and overcome evil with good. You should ask the Lord how you can be a blessing to those who have wronged you.
God loved us so much that when we were still sinners and His enemies, He sent Jesus to die for us and to redeem us from Satan’s bondage. And now we are to do the same thing that God does, love our enemies. It’s time for the Lord’s true disciples to abound in love.