Summary: Love relationships consist of 1. commitment, 2. communication, 3. consistency
“God’s Love – our Life”
July 29, 2012
Last Sunday I talked a little bit about love, how it is our need in our church and in each one of our lives. We need love like a fish needs water. We need love like we need air. We really can’t live without it. We all readily realize and accept that. We have a basic knowledge of the kind of love we need. Sometimes it is warm and fuzzy and makes us feel secure. We need that kind of love.
Last week I didn’t speak so much on that kind of love. I didn’t speak on the receiving of love. I spoke more on us expressing our love for others. We don’t do so well at that. We say we love everyone in the whole world – then treat our mates or our friends or our church family harshly. And why not? That is what we have been taught by our elders – right? As young Christians, learning how to be Christians, our parents, pastors or older Christians in the church demonstrated that you can be holy and harsh at the same time. They gave us the verbal testimony of holiness and then proceeded to be mean spirited in some way. How many times have we seen a supposedly mature Christian rip us or someone else to shreds – sometimes in the name of God.
Friends, this ought not to be – yet I am afraid it is the norm in most churches. The Bible tells us what love is like. I mentioned these Scriptures last week – but let me share them again.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control...”
I have always felt that this verse should read “The fruit of the Spirit is love...” Then the expression of love is joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Many Biblical scholars agree with me – but the point we need to see is that if we are Spirit filled, the fruit expressed through that relationship is love. God is love. And the expression of love is joy – when our flesh tends to depression or sorrow. It is peace when our flesh tends to anxiety. An expression of love is kindness when we naturally want to be mean. It is kindness when we want to hurt someone. It is goodness – when our natural inclination is to be bad. An expression of love is faithfulness when our natural desire is to be unfaithful, inconsistent, and erratic. It is gentleness when our natural instinct is to be harsh. Love is especially expressed in controlling our self when we naturally would be out of control emotionally.
It is important to realize our dual nature – flesh and spirit. Paul writes:
“But I say, walk in the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Galatians 5:16-17 (NEV)
Paul says in verse 14 and 15: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”
Because we are born fallen, depraved and lost – our first instinct is almost always wrong. Our first inclination is almost always the wrong thing to do. Even after we are saved and entirely committed to God – we have to train ourselves how to act in a Christlike manner. It isn’t the natural thing to do. We have to realize God’s will ‘spiritually’ then intellectually CHOOSE to reject our fleshly instinct and CHOOSE to do what the Spirit leads us to. We have to train ourselves in godliness daily. This is a maturing process.
Can you be a Christian and be immature? Certainly! But too many long time Christians who know the Christian language and are familiar with the Bible never mature into Christlikeness. Just because you are old doesn’t mean you are mature. And just because someone has been in the church their whole life or has even gone to a Christian college doesn’t mean you should imitate them. People will lead you astray even with good intentions. Our example needs to be Christ. Our code of conduct needs to be God’s Word. We need to be seekers of Christ. We need to be followers of Christ. We need to be Christlike in all we do.