Many years ago, a little neighbor boy rang our doorbell. He wanted to talk to my sister-in-law, who lived with us. She went to the door, and he said, “Jen* . . . I luv you.” She was quick to say, “Well, I love you, too.” Then, we heard children giggling around the corner. My sister-in-law shut the door, and that was the end of that. What was the motivation for the little guy’s proclamation of “luv”? A dare, most likely.
The Apostle Paul was motivated to share the gospel with the people of Thessalonica. In 1 Thessalonians 2:3-7, we read, For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
First, Paul tells about what didn’t motivate him:
Then he tells the real reasons:
Love and affection for the Thessalonian people
Paul says something interesting here: God is witness. Paul was conscious that God sees everything we do—and understands our motivations.
Paul desired more than anything to please God. He didn’t really care what people thought, but he would please God.
Do you know what? Pleasing God means loving people. Love for God translates to loving people.
Look back at the words Paul uses to express how he loved those people:
Cherishing, like a nursing mother
Ye were dear unto us.
Do you love people?
One way you can tell if you love people is to examine your love for God. If you truly love God and want to please Him, you will naturally love others.
Jesus said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).
What’s our motivation for love? It’s loving God first and foremost: with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Do you love God with all your being? Is God your primary love?
If so, you'll love others!
How can we make this concept practical?
- In marriage—Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. . . . For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:25, 31-33).
- In child training—And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (Deuteronomy 6:5-7).
- In children’s responses to their parents—Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth (Ephesians 6:1-3).
- In the workplace—Servants (workers), be obedient to them that are your masters (bosses) according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men . . . And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him (Ephesians 6:5-7, 9).
Do you see the parallels between loving God and loving our spouse, teaching children, and children honoring their parents? Do you see how loving God completely changes our actions at work, whether we’re the boss (master) or the worker (servant)?
Loving God is the best motivation for loving others. Let's love someone today!
*Not her real name.
Both photos are by: cuteimage.
Both photos are by: cuteimage.