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Loving one another

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 NIV

From the text, Paul’s exhortation is about the need for loving one another. The admonition was first mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 3:12; “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else.” Paul establishes the need for brotherly love in the life of the Christian community. There is nothing more characteristic of Christians than love for one another. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). Most every Christian writing, whether Scripture or not, includes a primary emphasis upon the necessity of love. It is common enough, in fact that Paul does “not need to write to you” (1 Thessalonians 4:9). They know of its importance and already “love all the brothers throughout Macedonia” (1 Thessalonians 4:10). Also, they have “been taught by God to love each other” (1 Thessalonians 4:9). In John 3:16, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son...” God taught love by His own example of giving His Son for the sake of the world. Paul not only encourages them concerning the need for brotherly love, but he also describes the nature of that love (1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12). There are three ways mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 by which love can be demonstrated. First, he says, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.” Another meaning is, “Be eager to be quiet.” By this statement, we can surmise that Paul is addressing a problem that exists among believers. It may be that they are being most enthusiastic or overly eager in their day-by-day activities. A kind of restlessness characterizes their lives. That restless energy should be directed toward a quiet and peaceful existence. Second, Paul tells them “to mind your own business.” Such restlessness could lead to an occasion for unnecessary meddling in the affairs of other people. It is a problem that does not easily go away. Third, he encourages them “to work with your hands.” Instead of meddling in the lives of others, the admonition is to engage in productive work. Manual labor was not highly valued in Greek society; it was an activity reserved for slaves. However, Christianity casts it in a different light. It is useful and good (see Ephesians 4:28). It is to be done as service to God (see Colossians 3:17). Jesus himself worked with His hands (Mark 6:2-3); “Where did this man get these things... Isn’t this the carpenter?”


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