Wouldn't It Be Loverly?
I have experienced a life-changing revelation over the last few years. In 2016, we noticed some wonderful fruit as God worked in us and through us as a result of this insight. It began as I started asking a question of myself a few years ago:
As a disciple of Jesus, what does "love" look like on a day to day basis?
The first part of the revelation was fairly obvious. It came from I Cor 13. If you don't have it memorized, please look at it as you read this, I promise that God will bless you if you take this to heart.
As I "love" others (family, friends, neighbors, random folk, i.e., our ministry) each day:
Am I patient?
Am I kind?
Am I envious of their accomplishments, status, financial situation or social standing?
Do I brag or boast of my accomplishments (both real and imagined?)
Am I arrogant and condescending? Do I scoff at people or make fun of people!(wife/husband/child/strangers!)
Do I honor others as made in His image?
Am I disrespectful to my wife, kids, co-workers, retail/service industry people, politicians!?!?
How much does "selfishness" play a role in interactions with others?
Do I get "Ticked" easily?
Am I allowing any injustice to exist in the way I interact with others?
Do I hold anything against anyone? What needs to happen for me to "release and forgive?"
How often do I rejoice in the truth? How much do I celebrate with my family, friends and strangers in their accomplishments or their personal insights (Truth)?
Did I keep my mouth shut today when I felt anxiety or panic with a family member, friend or co-workers or do I "speak without thinking?" (Love bears all things. Love trusts God to take care of the situation instead of me impulsively coming to the rescue)
Am I trusting in God to guide me and to take care of the people close to me?
Am I full of hope today for God's good plans to be fulfilled (even when I can't see them?)
Am I full of patient endurance?
Now, the second part and the BIGGEST impact of this revelation over this past year was:
I am incapable of loving like this! I can't go very long (pretty much as soon as I start having to interact with others!) before I fail at one of these.. And yet, these questions are the very heart of love according to Paul in I Cor 13.
Boom! Galatians 5:16-26 tells me that I am absolutely in DIRE need of His Spirit to fill me fresh every day, every hour, every minute. Vs. 22 says, "But the fruit of the SPIRIT is LOVE..." This tells me in plain English that it is His Love and only His love that makes the difference. His LOVE flows through us BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD. My weak attempts at loving others and God are ridiculous in comparison.
I am humbled to know I have nothing to give apart from "abiding" in Jesus, walking with Him and surrendering to Him. (See Galatians 5:16!) This is how God's love can work through us. It's not about our love. Our love fails. His love never fails.
And this produces a heart that sees ALL of life as an act of worship of Jesus and devotion to Him. Everything, from making our bed to brushing our teeth, from driving in traffic to engaging with others, from doing our taxes to cleaning the kitchen, all of it is an opportunity to worship our Lord, Savior, Friend and Brother.
This principle has produced a revival in my heart, our ministry and in the hearts of my family and others. It has been remarkable.
We pray that God will minister to you as you reflect on these thoughts.
Thank you for praying for us and supporting us here at Future Hope.