Summary: A message based on the fruit of the spirit with a primary concentration on Matthew 22:35-40. Pracitcally speaking, this message encourages people to love one another.
Series: Being the Best You Can Be
Sermons: Becoming a Loving Person
Dr. Marty Baker
June 23, 2002
Becoming a Loving Person
Imagine that you have just been told you have only a few days to live. No chance the prognosis was wrong; no chance the files were mixed up; no cure; no antidote; no treatment. Nothing. You have just been given the pink slip of life. Your ticket for the train to eternity has just been punched, and you will be at the station on time.
At that moment, the most important thing in your life will not be the bottom line of your balance sheet, the size of your portfolio, the number of people who reported to you, the title you carried at your company, the size of your retirement pension, or the "Dr." or "Mr." in front of your name. The one thing that will leap to the top of your priority list will be relationships.
A recent Harris Poll asked many Americans to name what they considered most important in life. Consider their response:
relationships (56 percent)
religious faith (21 percent)
making the world a better place (12 percent)
a fulfilling career (5 percent)
money (5 percent)1
Those polled rated relationships as more important than either career or money by a ratio of more than ten to one. This poll reveals that at the core of our being we know what is really important. Consider how crucial relationships are to everyone:
A successful marriage depends upon the relationship between the husband and the wife
A happy home depends upon the relationship between the parents and the children (and between the siblings)
A prosperous business depends upon the relationship between the employees and the customers.
A peaceful community depends upon the relationship between neighbors.
A successful political campaign depends upon the relationship between the candidate and the voters.
A stable nation depends upon the relationship between the government and its citizens.
World peace depends upon the relationship between nations.
One’s eternal destiny depends upon a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
We invest a lot of energy around Stevens Creek in learning the "how" of relationships. Over the next several weeks, we are going to examine the "who." And the who is you. No one on earth has the power to influence the people you know more than you do. Who you are matters more than what you do.2
This is a series focusing on Being the Best You Can Be. We will talk about strengthening character qualities and embracing attitudes that reflect God’s nature as we examine ways to influence people with positive actions.
Jesus, the greatest Man who ever walked the earth, once said, "By their fruit, you shall know them." By "fruit" Jesus did not mean apples, oranges or pears, he meant the character qualities that are produced out of a spiritual life. These qualities are found in Galatians 5:22-23.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Today our focus begins with "Becoming a loving person." Most of us agree that the world needs more love, but how many of us consider it our responsibility? We want others to love us, but what are we doing to increase the amount of love in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our community and in our world.
Let’s begin by unpacking the word love. We all know that love is a deep, tender feeling of affection towards someone or something, but do we realize that love is a matter of the will. Feelings are important, but true love function regardless of your feelings.
From history we learn that for thousands of years parents arranged the majority of marriages. James Merritt in his book, How to be a Winner and Influence Anybody, tells the story of a lady from India who was to be married to a young man she had never met.
One day she received a letter from her fiancé to acquaint them with each other prior to the wedding. But the young woman returned the letter unopened, saying she believed love should be developed after marriage and not before. In explaining her stance, the woman said,
"When we are born, we cannot choose our mother and father or our brothers and sisters. Yet we learn to live with them and to love them. So it is with our husband or wife."3
She has a point. Love is a matter of the will. It’s packed with feelings and emotions, but at the core of its being, love is a choice. We decide if we are going to love and who we are going to love. After that, we are given the responsibility of developing this love.