Summary: 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 evangeliz
Let the Spirit of God Infuse You With Love (I Cor 13:4-8)
We all need a fresh infusion of God’s love for without it we become apathetic, angry and self-absorbed. We live in a world that is crying out for love, acceptance and any measure of kindness.
Illustration: A Great Motivator
Love reaches for the hurt and takes bold steps without self-interest. It can accomplish unbelievable things merely because it is so void of self-interest.
Some time ago, a teenager, Arthur Hinkley, lifted a 3,000-pound tractor with bare hands. He wasn’t a weight lifter, but his friend, Lloyd Bachelder, 18, was pinned under a tractor on a farm near Rome, Maine. Hearing Lloyd scream, Arthur somehow lifted the tractor enough for Lloyd to wriggle out.
Love was the real motivation.
Calvin Miller, “Rethinking Suburban Evangelism,” Leadership, 1988, p. 68
1. The Holy Spirit uses His intelligence, emotions and will to help leaders love according to the guidelines given in I Corinthians 13:4-7. Paul wrote, "Love is patient, kind, does not envy; it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. Love never fails." Ask the Lord to allow the Spirit to fill your mind, will and emotions with all of the qualities of a Christlike love.
Illustration: Act Out Love
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, Thursday, February 14.
2. The Holy Spirit gives us a greater appreciation of the depth, length, breadth and height of the love of God. Paul wrote, "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Eph. 3:17-19) Ask the Lord to help you grow in your comprehension of God’s love so that you can fill every thought, relationship and ministry with the love of Christ.
Illustration: Agape Love
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 Christlikeness.
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.
Your Father Loves You by James Packer, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986, page for March 10
3. The Holy Spirit helps us not to become irritable, touchy or resentful. Love helps us from over-reacting to annoyances. It keeps the fire of the Holy Spirit’s light burning as it allows God to use circumstances to trim our wicks properly so the lamp of His love can fully glow.
Illustration: Are You In Love?
A young man said to his father at breakfast one morning, “Dad, I’m going to get married.” “How do you know you’re ready to get married?” asked the father. “Are you in love?” “I sure am,” said the son. “How do you know you’re in love?” asked the father. “Last night as I was kissing my girlfriend good-night, her dog bit me and I didn’t feel the pain until I got home.”
4. The Holy Spirit helps us gain the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.
5. The Holy Spirit helps us find ways of building others up rather than being critical, angry, or fearful.
6. The Holy Spirit guides us in ways of adding improvements to relationships, ministries and perspectives.
7. The Holy Spirit teaches us to be sensitive to felt, perceived and real emotional, social, cultural, physical, spiritual, mental, economic, political, relational, educational, and family needs.