Here’s what I sent out last wednesday to my fellow attendees from my College/singles group:
Last night we learned about how to “Live as a Lover”, not in the idea of worldly romance, but in terms of loving how God wants us to love. The two points Jon made last night were found in 1 Corinthians 13:1-4, commonly known as the “love chapter”.
The two themes were, “love is patient, love is kind.” The first thing that I’d like to encourage you with this week is to remember a basic principle: just as the Sermon on the Mount was describing not what you should be in Christ but what you are becoming in Christ (meek, poor in spirit, merciful, forgiving, etc), so the idea of loving patiently and with kindness is not a description of how you are to be loving, but of what God is producing in you though His love; in other words, His love is not a one-way channel, it must go somewhere, it must transform you and cause you to be something different.
Paul wrote these things to tell us what love is and what it looks like, and God gave us a way to see if His love is working through us through these words.
Think about it this way: Is the fruit of the Spirit something you do before the Spirit can live in you, or something that is a result of what He works in you? The answer is that it’s something that comes from His working in you, not something you must do for Him before He can work in you. The fruit comes from the seed, without it you can’t produce fruit!
Does that make sense?
This week set your focus not only on how you should be more patient and kind, but also focus in on how God wants to work in you His love so that you will be more patient and kind, and Christ-like.
The greatest example of love is Jesus. It’s a love that goes beyond “unconditional”, it says in Ephesians that even though we were worthless and didn’t want His salvation that He still had a “great love” for us. If that is how much God loved people who didn’t want Him, who spat hatred against Him, who made up lies against Him, and yet He dies for them to save them, how much more should we love others with the same kind of patience, compassion, and tenderness that Christ has toward us?
Think about the disciples. Two times Jesus divides bread for thousands, and they carry the baskets filled with bread that only came from two loaves. Yet they still don’t know who Jesus is after the fact! They were slow, indignant, and tried to exalt themselves above everyone else. If Jesus is our example and He lived through that, how can we have an excuse when we have His Spirit living in us?
To boil it down, I encourage you this week in your quiet time to ask yourselves these questions:
Have I been dependent on God or my own strength when dealing with people?
Do I seek patience in situations from my own ability or from the Holy Spirit?
In what ways can I exercise kindness to someone this week?
Who can I learn to be more patient with?
The more you dig deep, the deeper the Spirit works Christ’s character in your life.
Colossians 3:14 [ESV]
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Hope to see you all next time!