“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,” Ephesians 1:16
This concept of loving other Christians is so vital and absolutely central to our faith that I felt the need to spend another day on it. I don’t know about you, but I’m a practical application kind of girl. I love reading and studying God’s Word, but what really thrills me is knowing how to put what I learn into practice. I want to grow, and I want to change. I never want to just have a head stuffed with knowledge. I want to have a heart that has been softened by truth and a life that is full of love.
So, we find ourselves again today looking at Ephesians 1:16. Paul is in the middle of a very long address to the Ephesians, and what I love about his long, run-on sentence is that each part is packed full of incredible truth that you and I can apply to our lives today. We’ve already looked at the necessity of loving of Christians. It’s not a negotiable issue. Jesus tells us to, and the rest of Scripture is consistent on this teaching. It’s the “how” that tends to trip us up. In this one short verse, Paul gives us two practical ways to begin loving others Christians well. Are you ready?
#1 – Thank God for other believers. It is truly amazing how an attitude of gratitude can change everything. When we choose to be thankful, no matter our circumstance and no matter the people around us, something inside of us changes. A part of our soul draws closer to the heart of God. In just a few words, Paul sets the example for us in loving other Christians well: “I do not cease to give thanks for you.” Have you ever even tried it? Giving thanks to God for the Christians in your life…whether you like them or not, whether you agree with them or not, whether you share the exact same theology or not, whether you worship the same way or not…have you ever tried it?
This isn’t the only place in Scripture that instructs us to live lives of thanksgiving. Take a moment to look up these three verses, and write down a common denominator between them all.
– Colossians 3:15
– Colossians 4:2
– Hebrews 12:28
Start with thankfulness. Before you try to change the entire world in one day and right all wrongs, start here. Thank God today for the other Christians in your life, and watch Him begin to change your heart through your obedience in thanksgiving.
#2 – Pray for other believers. Prayer seems to be a lost discipline today in the church. Prayerlessness is a disease that cripples God’s people. Prayer is not a gift that is given to some and not others. Prayer is a calling for each and every believer, and we are all to be found in prayer – daily, hourly, momentarily. Paul tells us here that while he is choosing to give thanks for them, he remembers to pray for them.Take a moment to look up Ephesians 6:18. What does this verse tell us to do?
Perhaps you’ve heard it said before, “Prayer changes things.” This is a very true statement, but might mean something quite different than what we tend to interpret it as at first glance. The first time I heard that phrase, I thought, “Great! I’ll start praying then.” I wanted things to turn out my way, so I figured if I prayed, then they would. The reality that I came to learn is that prayer changes me. The more I pray, the more I change.
If there are Christians in your life that you find it difficult to love, start with thanking God for them and begin praying for them on a regular basis. It’s very difficult to remain bitter towards someone whom you’re praying for. It just is. The more you pray for them, the more God changes your heart towards them. And the more you are loving them.
We tend to complicate things when it comes to faith and add a ton of duty to what God has made pretty simple in His Word. Here in this one verse, it couldn’t be more clear.
#1 – Thank God for other believers.
#2 – Pray for other believers.
In doing this, you are loving them. This is what God calls us to. Let’s start walking in love.
Debbie Bradshaw says
Being thankful for other Christians is a new revelation for me…what I mean is I AM thankful for other Christians, it’s just that I haven’t spoken it out in prayer very much…God showed me a long time ago to pray for those I was having a difficult time loving…it kept me free from having a hard heart or unforgiveness and made me more tenderhearted as I began to see others through His Eyes of Love…