Daily Devotional: Monday, February 13 - Abiding Love

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” — 1 Thessalonians 3:12

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Many athletes keep a consistent schedule for workouts each week in order to stay in top condition. Just as it’s important not to neglect exercise for athletes, it’s also a good idea not to neglect the important people in our lives — like a spouse or family member — even after we’ve known each other a long time. Everybody needs a daily dose of gentle words from people we love. Plus, it’s helpful to regularly do little actions to remind that person (or people) how important they are to us. Reinforcement works in repetitive exercise and also in keeping relationships strong and healthy.

When we genuinely love someone, we keep on loving him or her whether we feel like it or not. Abiding love is more than an emotion. We should choose every day to be kind and to be an encouragement, intentionally guarding against letting outside emotions — like anger toward a teammate or coworker — affect our attitude and the atmosphere at home. As Paul told the Thessalonians, we should grow in love as we go along in life. So he prayed for this to be a reality: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).

When Jesus spoke to His disciples, He challenged them and us to show the world how unselfish, generous love flows in a church fellowship. The Lord knew it wouldn’t be easy and that we may disappoint Him sometimes, but He gave the command because Christians should be setting an example by loving others every day and in every way. Jesus calls us to love others in a sacrificial way. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).

Forgiveness is a form of love. Just as Jesus forgave Peter when he denied that he knew Him, we are called to forgive one another and to keep God’s love flowing in our fellowship. After Peter understood how much Jesus forgave him for being fearful at times and selfish other times, he learned to forgive others like Jesus and instructed us to do the same. “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22).

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love as you intentionally show love to others and are generous in forgiveness this week.

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia

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