Fruit of the Spirit – What Love Looks Like

Love is

As I begin this study, I’ve come to realize that I need to know what exactly what love looks like. Yes, we all say “love” a lot about people, places, and things. Yet, in practice what does it look like when you love? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Paul says…

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV

Showing love comes with transformation. Real love is seen when you become transformed by Jesus’ undeserving love working in you and through you showing love to others. Love comes in knowing Jesus is your Lord and obeying Him with your trust by faith. Love comes when we realize just who Jesus is and what He has done for us. When we truly understand and feel this within us, we will take hold of this love and want to share it with others.  As followers of Jesus, we are not followers of certain persons, pastors or teachers.

Have you ever been around someone who is passionate about Jesus but end up doing more harm to the Gospel than good?  I have and I know you have too.   Why is that? Why does their passion make some want to turn away from Jesus?   Proverbs 19:2 ESV has the answer, “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.”  We are being told that we need to grow in knowledge as well.  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

As we grow in the knowledge of the Word we also must take the time to learn someone before we try to “saving” them.  Everyone receives love differently.  We have to take the time to sit, observe and study someone before we can show the love of Jesus.  Our job is to love and be an example of Jesus working in our lives ~ it is God’s job to save them.

So what does love look like?  I believe that it can be summed up in two words, selflessness and forgiveness.  Isn’t that the whole point of Jesus coming and his resurrection?  Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13 ESV

The struggle is  how to be selflessness and forgive others.  Even Paul struggled with this, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ESV

So  what does it mean to be selfless?  To be selfless is to be concerned exclusively with others; seeking, concentrating on other’s advantages, pleasures and well-being without regarding ourselves. Now it’s time to dig deep… we are humans after all.  It’s do easy to get caught up in “me” that some times we neglect others.  I’ve done it and you do it. How do we go from being self-centered to others-centered?  By studying the Word, praying for guidance, and obeying His word.  The more knowledge we gain, the more we put that knowledge into action the more we can walk as Jesus walked.

So how can we forgive others?  First we have to remember we too are sinners.  As we accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf so so we must on the behalf of others too.  I realize that seems so difficult, I know it does, but it something He commands us to do.  It’s not an option.

Paul tells us, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-13 ESV

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows of God.”  1 John 4:7 ESV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruit of the Spirit – Is there a Wrong Kind of Love?

wrong loveInteresting isn’t?  Can there really be a wrong way to love?  There is and I’m sure at one time or another each of us has not loved in the right ways or the right things.  Here are a few examples of wrong kind of love.

Do you love your money/possessions?

This is is a wrong kind of love.  The Word says the desire for riches leads to all kinds of evil. The more we have, the more we want. Material possessions will not bring happiness because there is always something new with the promise of fulfillment.

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” 1 Timothy 6:9-10 ESV

Paul tells us of the dangers of loving money/possessions.  First, by chasing after money/possessions there are many pitfalls.  The words temptation and snare can be used with the Satan’s power of manipulation in mind.  Satan is capable of using the hope of money/possessions to blur the morals of believers.  Money/possessions can lead  people into circles where the rules are different, the peer pressure is tremendous and values are distorted.   What you once thought unthinkable becomes natural on the inside.  Paul emphasizes the love of money/possessions leads to devastation.  There are no warning signs.  We must heed Luke’s warning “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15 ESV The love of money/possessions will condemn many souls.

As I ask myself this question, I come to realize, although I do enjoy the things I own, I realize the blessings from God.  I’m so thankful for what He’s blessed me with!  I will admit in the past I loved my possessions!  I always wanted more and more.  But they did not fill the empty place in my heart, only God’s love did that!

Do you love to be praised?

This is a wrong kind of love.  If you are seeking praise for it’s own sake that is sinful.  then you want glory for yourself and not glory for God.   Praise of this kind is empty.  We can become trapped when we live our lives around what the world says should make you happy and successful.  When we love the praise of man we will never love God as we should.

John tells us, “Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man than the glory that comes from God.” 12:42-43 ESV

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 ESV

Ask yourself, are you doing virtuous deeds out of love for God or are you wanting to be noticed and praised by others?

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your father who is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1 ESV

I struggle with this some days.  I want to be noticed for the amount of work I do for others, I want the praise.  It’s sinful, I know!  I know I can’t do anything without Him ~ nothing good anyway!  When left to my own devices I couldn’t possibly do good.

Do you love excitement?

That is a wrong kind of love. Many of us love pleasure and things that excite us. Not all excitement and pleasure are sins but they are momentary.  Many of us spend more on pleasure than they will ever give to the cause of Christ.  Luke tells us in 8:14 ESV,  “And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.”

When we love and pursue excitement we are acting like children who never mature.  God wants us to enjoy our lives but not if we stay as children.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I loved being on the mountain.  The mountain was an exciting time, leading me to blog, to start the group and to want to begin an intimate relationship with God.  Being on the mountain thrilled me with all the new knowledge of God, of Jesus and all that they are.  Being on the mountain showed me the power and love He has for us.  Yet, there came a time when God told me I was no longer a child, it was time to mature in Him.  Though I still love the thrill of mountain, I know there will be times of excitement, I need to hold onto to those moments for they will sustain me.

Do you have a love of preeminence?

That is a wrong kind of love. There are those of us who feel we must be better than those around us.  The love of feeling superior destroys the spirit of servanthood.  Galatians 6:3 ESV says, “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”  We are nothing with the Father!

Ask yourself, “Do I acknowledge Christ’s preeminence? Do I give Him first place in all I do and think? Is His character what people see when they look at me? Preeminence doesn’t mean only once a week on Sunday. It means every day and all the time—in everything—that in all things He might have preeminence.

I believe, this is the reason for so many evils of this world ~ big and small.   The need to be better than others.  Why is that?  Is it our self-esteem in ourselves is so little what by trying to be better than those around us we make ourselves feel better in some way?  This wrong kind of love is so against God!  I want to do His will.  I want to follow the walk of Jesus.  The way I do this isn’t any better than another’s, it’s the way God is leading me.

As I meditate upon these truths, I see where there is still so much room for improvement in my walk with God.  I welcome it!

As we go through this journey together please remember,  

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

Fruit of the Spirit – What is Love?

Love

As I begin my journey on the Fruit of The Spirit … I believe this is the most important fruit of all.  You can’t have any of the Fruits if love is not present.

One of the main messages that comes through loud and clear from studying the Word is the extreme importance that God the Father is places on how to love Him, love ourselves, love one another, and to even go as far as to be able to love our enemies and those who hurt us.

Love is what Jesus had for our Father when He died on the cross so that we could be free from sin and death.

Love is why we are here.

Love is everything.

As humans our ability to love one another is extremely limited.  That’s why we need to work closely with the Holy Spirit to put this fruit into the personalities.  It’s only when we the Holy Spirit starts to flow and enter into us that we can begin to love God, ourselves and one another as God commands us to.

So what is love?

Definition of LOVE:  (1) :  strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties  (2) :  attraction based on sexual desire :  affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3)  affection based on admiration,benevolence, or common interests.

The original Greek word for love is agape.  Agape is love, affection, a love feast, dear love.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

I really desire to love like Jesus… I really do but why is it so difficult to do?   My humanness gets in the way of my desire.   I can love but i can not do it perfectly.  Though Jesus was human was too , He was also created to be love.  Jesus was able to see people the way God created them to be. I can’t.  We see others’ faults.  We remember the slights they have done to us.  We have a difficult time forgiving.  We love but at the very same time we hold back.  Why?  We refuse to make ourselves vulnerable as Jesus did for fear of getting hurt.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34 ESV

How can we do the impossible?  How can we love like Jesus in our humanness?  How can we love and be vulnerable?

Jesus gave us the key!

“With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 ESV

Jesus explains the key to use in John 15:1-15,

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Did you catch “Apart from me you can do nothing.”  We can’t love like Jesus on our own. In fact, we can’t do anything in the Christian life on our own!   When we surrender our lives to Jesus, when we abide in Him, He loves others through us!  We can endure all the pain of loving others because He is the vine that sustains us.  His love heals our hurts and gives us the strength we need to keep going.

Loving like jesus

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_3UI–v_xY

Love Is…

key-of-love-735135

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”    1 Corinthians 13:4-7

What if you didn’t receive the love you needed growing up?  What if you felt alone?  What if you felt small and insignificant?  What if you didn’t express your thoughts, your feelings, or your needs to others?

It takes love for us to grow emotionally.  If we aren’t nurtured with love, our emotions will stay immature.  How do you get the love that you need so desperately when the ones who are supposed to love you don’t (or aren’t able to) to communicate it to you?  We begin to search for the love we need.  How are we doing this?  By trying anything; we’ll do and say anything to gain attention, acceptance and love from others.  It doesn’t matter if the attention is negative ~ it’s still attention.

I was that child that felt alone.  I was the child that felt small and insignificant.  I was that child that didn’t express my thoughts, my feelings or my needs to others.

This is painful to express… my need for love.  As I look back on my childhood, there is much that I have blocked.  Yet, I remember, trying to be small, to not take up space, to not be in the line of sight.  I remember being uncomfortable around others; not knowing what to say or do because I just didn’t know.

I made many mistakes in my life on my search for love.  I chose people who didn’t know how to give or receive love either.  I was afraid of making decisions; therefore, I just went with the flow.   All I thought was that if someone paid attention to me, it was love.

When I let God take control, things changed in ways that I could never have imagined.  I thought that I was unlovable; He loved me.   I thought that maybe it was I who was unworthy of love; His love for me inspired me, gave me joy in the face of difficulties, and gave me strength.   I thought that my shattered heart would never mend; His love for me helped me pick up the shards and put them back together into a new creation in Christ.

I learned to look back on my mistakes and vow not to make them again on my search for love.   So, one night, I decided to sit and think about what I needed to fulfill my need for love from another human being.  I actually wrote out a list, a list of my needs.  I know it sounds silly and childish but in my mind that night I needed concrete evidence of where I was going.  I prayed for His guidance and direction.

That list that God and I created together gave me the strength to let go of relationships that weren’t meant to be.  That list  taught me that love works in magical ways, but never be fooled by the promise of forever. That list taught me that love can never be wrong; it’s the people, time and place that go wrong.  That list taught me that love can never be forced or created if it was never meant to be.  That list taught me that there will always be one true love for you, to have and to hold; he may not be the one you expect, but he’s the one for you.  That list taught me to look inside someone to see who God created them to be.  That list taught me to not run after love, instead sit still and it will come to you when you are ready to receive it.  That list brought my blessing to me.

I’ve learned from my other half, who makes me whole, love is a feeling that’s seen in one’s eyes. Love doesn’t seek what’s not there.   Love has no eyes, it isn’t blind; it sees but it doesn’t mind.  Love accepts all pains to bear.  Love is the joy that make people smile, the pain that makes people cry to the point you taste their tears.  The more you love, the more you lose a part of you; yet you don’t become less of who you are, you just end up being complete.  Love is giving others the freedom to be who they choose to be. Love is allowing people in your life to make choices. Love is a noble act of self giving, offering your trust, faith and loyalty.   Love is heard even in silence.  Loving is not how you forget but how you forgive.  Love is not how you listen but how you understand.  Love is what you feel not what you see.  Love is like air and you can’t see it but you can feel it.   Love knows no lies. Love defies all reasons.

Let love be the guide to your dreams.  Let love be the light to your heart.