The Greatest of These is Love (Week 2)
“Hatred stirs up conflicts, but love covers all offenses.” Proverbs 10:12
“Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
“Hatred rakes up old feuds which have slumbered, but love covers up and refuses to look at any wrong done to it.” (Ellicott’s Commentary) Love does not microscopically observe but willingly forgives and forgets the injuries and offenses of others and in doing so prevents contention and mischief in our hearts and minds. God’s pardoning love and grace covers all the sins of his people with the blood and righteousness of his own Son. Love spreads its cloak over the sins of fellow Believers and forgives the sin instead of exposing them; love instead hides and conceals them. (I am referring to personal conflicts and not illegal or dangerous activity.)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love…
Love is the universal language of this world. People immediately recognize and understand when love’s power is being demonstrated. However, even born-again Christians stumble in their ability to walk in love as God instructs us to do in our everyday lives. The main reason this occurs is that we attempt to demonstrate love out of our own strength, out of our own emotions, and out of our own flesh. Allow the truths in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 above to be what you allow to be manifested in your life during this challenge…and beyond (for details and outline of the schedule please see post dated Oct. 24).
Gratefully, the Holy Spirit is in us and we can learn to draw His love into our personalities so that we can walk with more of this quality operating in our daily lives. Walking in love will require that we yield our will, our emotions, or desires, our thoughts, and our heart to the Spirit of God. It is truly remarkable that God empowered us with His OWN Spirit so that we CAN manifest things we never dreamed we could manifest without Him.
When we yield ourselves to the Spirit of God He then is able to manifest the sweet aroma of the Lord in all the places our precious feet tread. We desire to adeptly learn to walk in HIS love with the proof of this being manifested in our words and actions with others. How about living so bold in this area that it is not you that is recognized but the Lord Himself! May we learn His love so fluently that it becomes our priority response.
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love.’ The word translated love here is the Greek word agapē. Let’s take a look at a few other places in Scripture where this same Greek word agapē is translated, love.
“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2
“Your every action must be done with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14
“Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5
“And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25
Our goal is to love people (and ourselves) the way God loves them, the way God sees them, and the way God edifies them in truth. Nothing will touch people so deeply than to have the love of God shining through your life and into their circumstances. God’s Spirit in you will give you the compelling ability to LOVE. Yield your life to His influence and lean powerfully into it.
When we yield our entire lives to the Lord we are crucifying our desires, goals, plans, out-of-sort emotions, energies, will, etc. concerning our idea of how we should live this life under the sun. Galatians 5:24 instructs us, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions (ie: whatever befalls one, whether it be sad or joyous) and desires. If you recall the hand motions during the in-class video for self-control it was as if we were steering the reigns. When we yield to the Spirit we turn the reigns of our lives over to Him so that He can lead us beautifully down His divine paths. Another way to exercise self-control is when we choose not to act on our out-of-sort emotions but instead REPLACE them with the truth of the Word.
Part of what occurs when we crucify the flesh is crucifying any emotion that does not line up with God’s truth. Expect some tears and some hurting as we crucify these intense emotions that attempt to lead us astray and cleverly assist us in elevating feelings that contribute to our poor thoughts and actions. (It is never a good idea to pretend certain emotions do not exist but we must recognize when they are out of line with the truth of God and with the fruit He desires to produce in and through us.)
A goal we are after when we crucify the flesh is that we are readying ourselves to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit. Let’s recognize that being filled with the Spirit will be a life-long battle with our flesh. God is always willing. Would you be willing to pray this prayer and yield your will? God pour out Your Spirit upon me so completely that I am filled with Your joy, that I become victorious over sin, and that I become Your bold witness in this world. Amen.
An unbeliever has his/her affections set on things which are below ~ earthly things and his/her own glory and will. In contrast, the ultimate goal of the believer’s entire being (including intellect and emotions) is to focus on that which is uncreated: God and his glory and will. When our focus is on God we can expect a yielded life and the resulting benefit of lasting fruit. Altogether Lovely.
Love boldly fellow sojourners. It’s worth it.
In His grace,