“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it all toward all the brethren which are in Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians briefly mentions brotherly love (the love we Christians should have towards each other). He even makes a note about how he shouldn’t even have to bring it up, because God already taught them to love one another.
He goes on in verses 10-12 to say that they should “increase” more and more their brotherly love, even more than they already do. Here are the ways he says they can expand their love for each other;
- “study to be quiet”,
- Do their own business, and
- Work with their own hands
If they do these things, they will “walk honestly toward them that are without”. I take this to mean, if you love each other through being quiet, minding your own business and doing the work before you, then you will be viewed from the outside (by nonbelievers) as being honest and at least not quite so hypocritical.
When we quarrel within our Christian communities it not only is unproductive and stalls our ministry, but it looks bad from the outside looking in. And it makes God look bad.
All too often we are so focused on selfishly getting our way and we lose sight of just how much God can use our quiet, selfless service to Him, and towards our brethren in Christ.
Of course there are times for admonition and that can cause discomfort (ie, ‘iron sharpeneth iron’ doesn’t sound like a pleasant experience). We are made to grind on each other like a sword to a grind stone. Sparks may fly, but we have to keep the ultimate goal in focus. Glory be to God through all the service, all the sharpening, all the sacrifice, selfless surrendering of our need to be right or get the final say. God really does have your best in mind, Christian. Step back and recognize what He is trying to teach you as you seek to serve Him and love one another.