May the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for fellow Christians, and for all others … in order that your hearts might be established unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. 1 Thessalonians 3:12–13
When Jesus comes with all his holy ones, we will want to stand before the Father without shame, without being blamed for not having delighted in his glory enough to extend his goodness throughout creation. Paul’s prayer gives us hope for such a possibility and shows us how it can be accomplished. We can have hope because it is Jesus himself who will enable us to attain this end. Jesus, the incarnation of the love of the Father, can cause us to increase and abound with the affection that moves us to do others good. What initiates Jesus’ action on our behalf is prayer. When our prayers are answered our hearts will be even more precious to the Father. A holy heart, in his eyes, is one in which love stands as the pinnacle of our motivational hierarchy. To the extent that we become lovers, to that extent will we be unashamed at the judgment. For actions which flow from seeing others as valuable is what makes us supremely valuable to those around us.
Righteous Father, I want to receive your approval even now. Grant Paul’s prayer for me. Keep me from temporary or superficial love so that I may be valuable to others and holy to you, through Jesus my Lord. Amen.