S196P4 – Growth spurts: love for all

1 Thes. 3:12-13

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

Salvation is a spiritually eye-opening experience, and for one young man it became an almost impossible adjustment.  Being able to see the effects of sin in this world and the evil which drove a lot of the people he loved surely elicited a response, but it was not the right one.  When he was around his new brothers and sisters in Christ, he felt positive and encouraged, and he had no problem pouring love on them.  When he was around his family and friends who had not come to know Christ as he had, he grew frustrated and bothered.  He thought he had compassion on them because of their lost state, but that was not evidenced by love.  What had increased in him was not a heart for the unsaved but judgment, which was not his privilege.  He had yet to submit and let God manifest that love in him.

All the ways in which God expects us to grow are his ways.  We know that God is love; He cannot exist outside it, and it cannot exist without him.  As we continue in spiritual growth, our love should grow just as this passage indicates.  This is not only the love we have for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but this also includes the love we have for the lost people of this world.  One problem is that we begin to hold the lost to the same standard we hold the saved, those who indeed know better.  This only creates judgment in us instead of the compassion God wants us to have for those who occupy the place we once held.  Yes, growing in discernment and spiritual maturity will make the evils of this world much more noticeable to us, but that should cause us to grow in love and compassion for those who are still bound to sin, not in judgment.

We must be careful to make sure that our contempt for sin and hatred of evil are not projected on those who are trapped in the enemy’s grasp.  Some people can be easier to love than others, and we often are more comfortable loving those who hold the same values and beliefs as we hold, but we are told to grow in love for all.  If we look carefully, we will see that this comes with the promise of being held blameless in holiness by God.  Blamelessness is the designation that his Son holds, but we are imputed that blamelessness when we love as his Son loved.  Let us strive to love the sinner no more or less than we love the saint.  Father, we ask that You continue to increase our love for our brothers and sisters as well as for the world, that we would be blameless in your sight.