Try Modeling Love

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

 Today’s Topic:  Model Love

Today’s Text:  1 Thessalonians 3:12 (ESV) May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.

I am surrounded with princesses. (Or is it princi. I get confused over the plural spelling of some words.) Either way, I am surrounded with several young girls who all believe they are a princess. One of them is my granddaughter, one has captured my heart as if she were a granddaughter, and one is a friend of theirs from the church.

As often as possible, these three girls dress up in princess dresses. They twirl and leap and parade around with such joy as they put form to their fantasies. But their favorite thing to do is to model their dresses for us. Their little lives are not complete until grandpa or someone else comments on the beauty of their dress and the perfection of their princessness. (I know, I made up another word, but it fits the mental picture)

Prior to last Christmas, my wife spent hours making two dresses for our youngest granddaughter. They were the perfect replicas of the dresses worn in a now-famous movie called Frozen. She opened the first one and immediately had to model it for us.

Ari Dress 2Then she opened the second one, and it had to be modeled as well.

Modeling comes naturally to a princess. Actually, we are all models of something or other whether we are aware of it or not. Moms model what it means to be a woman. Dads model what it means to be a man.  Children are molded by our modeling, and what they see in us is what they will grow up to believe is “normal and right.”

Modeling is God’s preferred method of motivating people to get fit spiritually. Of course there are other things that motivate, like teaching, correction, discipline, encouragement, and even gentle rebuke. But let me draw your attention to one verse that captured my heart on this subject. It happened as I was preparing for a pastoral leadership class I teach.

In our class study we are evaluating the Book of Acts and how the Apostles and the early church were directed by the Holy Spirit to fulfill Christ’s commission to go and make disciples. To see it the principles in practice we are studying the books of First and Second Thessalonians. As the Apostle Paul writes to them, he spends some quality time affirming them and encouraging them. Then he writes this in chapter 3 verse 12 – May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.

I asked the class to list some ways that the Lord makes people increase and abound in love. After some discussion, I directed them to the one answer provided in this verse – as we do for you.

Modeling motivates growth.

Paul said to this local church in Thessalonica, The Lord wants you to increase and abound in love for each other. Use us as the model of how to do that.

Here’s how Eugene Peterson puts it in The Messasge: And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you.

Here’s my point – What are you modeling to others?

Are you so thrilled with the gift of God’s grace that you can’t wait to put it on and show it off to everyone around you?

Is God able to use your life right now as a model of His love so that He can accomplish His work of making others increase and abound in love for others?

Think on these things.

Pastor John

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