July 8, 2012

Love = God's Love In Us

The Strife-Killing Facets of Love:

First Corinthians 13 tells us what love looks like: "Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

"Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fade-less under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Lover never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]" (vv. 4-8).

Love is like a sparkling diamond; it has many facets, including:
Love Unleashes Great Spiritual Power:

Before Paul talks about the facets and fruit of love, he says, "If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired of God's love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

"And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God's love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody).

"Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God's love in me), I gain nothing" (1 Cor. 13:1-3).

According to this passage, if we don't walk in love, all our efforts to serve God and demonstrate His power will be fruitless. Love is the greatest power in the world. It makes life worth living. It sets us free from the Law. "And so faith, hope, love abide . . . but the greatest of these is love" (1 Cor. 13:13). Paul instructs us that love is the "more excellent way" to live (1 Cor. 12:31). He prayed that "your love may abound . . . may display itself" (Phil. 1:9). Without love, we "gain nothing" (1 Cor. 13:3).

If we love aggressively, we will resist strife every time. Satan knows this, so he wants to keep us from walking in love. He knows that if we develop our love walk, we will be dangerous to the kingdom of darkness. It is quite easy, because of the nature of the flesh, for us to become selfish and self-centered. But with God's help and a willing heart, we can enjoy harmonious and conflict-free relationships that manifest the true spirit of love.

Have a "Holy Determination":

Strife comes like a raging storm and leaves destruction everywhere it is permitted to go. But you can defeat it by holding fast to that which is good. Grasp the importance of peace and love. They are essential to a life of victory, power, and blessing. If you want to experience those things, let a holy determination rise up within you to walk in peace and to walk in love. Determine to hold on to your peace and to love aggressively~and then stand back and see what God does in you and through you.

Since Christ is in us, the seed for an unselfish nature is already in us, but we must choose to develop it.

H/T: Conflict Free Living by Joyce Meyer

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