Please God with Love for Others by Example

John Tilton


1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 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.


Paul reminds the Thessalonians about the importance of loving one another based on how they had personally experienced love from God, which is therefore Spirit led and not what is taught by man or written by man. Understanding and carrying forth love, especially when one is hurt or wronged by others often requires remembering our own experience of God’s love for us, rather then what man may teach and tell us, even if it is a profound and logical statement. Paul goes on to challenge them that on the basis of love, the extension of that love would be to be an example through our life in our business, work and life, that others would be influenced and encouraged; all this to say through his last statement that we would be self-initiating in this rather the dependent on others to lead us by the hand.

Thus, it is an interesting yet profound point that we can love others by encouraging them through our example of our life experience, and of diligence and humility through business and work; the metaphor of “using our hands,” and therefore be an example and witness of Christ’s love to others. The hope in that as Christ expressed His love through his example and sacrifice that others would follow; so to that we express our love above and beyond words that others would follow Christ through our example.


Why this is profound to me is that in my love for others, I often express it in words saying “I love you,” and perhaps doing something for others that is thoughtful. Yet, Paul tells us that loving others can in fact be, living an exemplary life of diligence, intentionality and humility as I go about my responsibilities, commitments, suffering and life, that I would gain the respect of others, influencing them by example that they would follow suit as well. Thereby, my desire to please God in expressing love is to help show others the way. Thus, the saying do what I say, rather then what I do is applicable and man’s often default; because in God’s plans it is more then do what I say, but do what I do as I intentionally example God’s love and attributes in my life. That is love pleasing to God.


Dear Lord, thank you for the clarity of how I can please you by loving others, not only in words, but in my example through by business, work, suffering and my life in general, with the intended result being their following the example that I hope I have and will produce, led by you. In that way, may I please you by loving others by example.

Devotions for May 15

1 Chronicles 25,26,27
1 Thessalonians 4

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