Summary: There are fifteen characteristics of love in this passage that the Holy Spirit enables us to express with power if we will let Him
How the Holy Spirit Helps Us Love One Another
Illustration:In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote, "Do not waste your time bothering whether you ’love’ your neighbor act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less."
Our Daily Bread, February 14.
1. The Holy Spirit pours out His love into our hearts during difficult times so we are motivated to love another. Paul wrote, "Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Romans 5:5)
Ask the Lord to use whatever circumstances you are going through to demonstrate how God’s love is sufficient for any relationship, ministry or problem.
Illustration:The Greek word agape (love) seems to have been virtually a Christian invention -- a new word for a new thing (apart from about twenty occurrences in the Greek version of the Old Testament, it is almost non-existent before the New Testament). Agape draws its meaning directly from the revelation of God in Christ. It is not a form of natural affection, however, intense, but a supernatural fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). It is a matter of will rather than feeling (for Christians must love even those they dislike -- Matt. 5:44-48). It is the basic element in Christ-likeness.
Read 1 Corinthians 13 and note what these verses have to say about the primacy (vv. 1-3) and permanence (vv. 8-13) of love; note too the profile of love (vv. 4-7) which they give.
James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.
2. The Holy Spirit gives us the fruit of love as we keep our focus on Christ and following His commandments. Paul wrote, "Love is slow to lose patience, it does not show irritation, undue anger or exhibit a hot temper." (I Cor. 13:4) We are unable to manufacture unconditional love without the Spirit controlling all areas of our mind, will and emotions. Ask the Lord to help you yield your rights to the Lord. Let the Spirit produce Christ like love in your thinking, attitudes and actions.
3. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to avoid the error of self-centered thinking, relationships and ministries. Paul wrote, "Love does not try to impress others." (I Cor. 13:4,5) True love is not self-centered. A Spirit generated love does not have excessive pride nor does it launch incessant comparisons with others.
Illustration:Show me a church where there is love, and I will show you a church that is a power in the community. In Chicago a few years ago a little boy attended a Sunday school I know of. When his parents moved to another part of the city the little fellow still attended the same Sunday school, although it meant a long, tiresome walk each way. A friend asked him why he went so far, and told him that there were plenty of others just as good nearer his home.
"They may be as good for others, but not for me," was his reply.
"Why not?" she asked.
"Because they love a fellow over there," he replied.
If only we could make the world believe that we loved them there would be fewer empty churches, and a smaller proportion of our population who never darken a church door. Let love replace duty in our church relations, and the world will soon be evangelized.
Moody’s Anecdotes, pp. 71-72.
A heart filled with the Spirit does not habitually pursue selfish interests, ambitions or concerns. Spirit led people learn how to yield their principle rights to the Lord. Ask the Lord to help you replace any self serving interest with Christ’s purposes, priorities and plans.
4. The Holy Spirit empowers us to love in a way that Christ loved one another. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34,35) The Spirit gives us the power to build others up emotionally, physically, socially, mentally and spiritually. Ask the Lord to help you experience greater empowerment to love in a constructive rather than in a superficial manner.
5. The Holy Spirit intercedes to help us love those who abuse us. Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matt. 5:44) Only through the intercessory help of the Spirit are we able to love those who abuse, misuse or seek to do our harm. Pray for the Spirit to intercede for you whenever you are tempted to return evil for evil instead of loving those who criticize you.