IN THIS CHAPTER of his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul is expressing some concern over the spiritual condition of the church there. They are experiencing some severe trials and Paul sends Timothy to see if their faith is holding firm. He is ecstatic at the news that their faithand especially their lovehas stood the test.
I realize too often how impotent I am in my own strength to face or overcome the trials of life. But I am also encouraged by the words Paul emphasizes to these embattled believers in Thessalonica: overflowing love. This is an extraordinary, God-empowered love. The Thessalonians knew that the ability to love people who were causing them problemsin other words, the ability to love their enemiescould only come from God. Its the kind of love that lives in the person who is full of the Holy Spirit and his operative power. Its extreme love.
In financial terms, its like being able to spend lavishly with the interest from your invested principal. Its dividend love. Gods great love in us is the principal, and he enables us to love others with the excess, the overflow, the dividend love!
Holy God, I need you to fill me and trans-form me into the kind of person who would rather love his enemies than fear them or fight them. I know thats only possible if your excessive love lives in me. Fill me so that your love is the principal upon which I am yielding dividends. And may that dividend love cast out all fear and equip me to love extremelyeven those who seek to hurt me. Amen.
-David Bish, Senior Pastor, Tri-County Church of God, Dubois, Pennsylvania