"and who also told us of your love in the Spirit."
Colossians 1:8--Part 1
As we remain in God's love, His Spirit is free to produce His love in us. The love produced will be both vertical towards God and horizontal towards other people. John, in his letter of First John, supports this by saying that we love because He first loved us. So often in the church we hear the phrase that Biblical love is an action word and that is only half true. I believe love is also an emotion. Today I am looking at love as both.
As a Christian I am aware God's nature is love. I know His love is unconditional, sacrificial, eternal, unchanging, and unending. I know it is sweet and it demands a response from me. I also know that all of His other attributes operate with the scope of His love, never independently. When I feel "dry" emotionally, I understand if I "reconnect" with God by spending time with Him I will be filled with His love and I will both sense His presence and enjoy the feeling of being loved.
The questions I use to discern if I am spending adequate time at His feet are: “Am I walking close enough with God that His Spirit is free to produce His love in me?” “Do I desire to demonstrate my devotion to Him by my actions and my lifestyle?” “Am I as delighted today that I am His child as I was in the past?” Am I trying to live the purest life possible for Him so He is glorified by my life or am I trying to see how much I can get away with?”
1 Corinthians says love is patient. Am I patient with God? Have I thought about how I could demonstrate patience when we are waiting on Him to answer prayer or to guide me through the storms of this life?
Love is kind. How do I show God kindness? Are my prayers full of kind words of praise or are they full of demands?
Love does not envy, boast or demonstrate pride. Does God get the glory for the good in my life? Love is not rude or self-seeking. Am I passionate about God’s glory or seeking it for myself? Do I listen when God speaks or think about what I want from Him? Is my love for Him based on what I hope to gain from Him or is it an overflow of a grateful heart that experiences Him? Love is not easily angered. Do I find myself angry with God when I don't get my way or get something in my own timing? Love keeps no record of wrongs. Am I praising God for his sovereignty even when it means I am going through painful circumstances? Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. What is it I really delight in--the things of God or the evils of this world? Love always protects. I don’t think I can protect God, but do I protect my time and my relationship with Him? Love always trusts. Do I truly trust Him? Do I know enough about Him from His word so when circumstances are confusing or painful I trust Him? Do I trust His boundaries and the love behind those boundaries?
Love always hopes. Am I secure enough in my relationship with the Lord to have a firm confidence He will accomplish His will in my life even if in the moment it doesn’t look that way? Am I confident He will fulfill His promises? Love always perseveres. Do I have a stick-to-it-ness in my relationship with God or do I live only for "mountain top" experiences? Am I consistent in loving Him on the "humdrum" days as I am in the exciting days?
The love described in I Corinthians 13 is definitely shown through actions. But I as I reflect on Christ at the end of His life, He demonstrated His love by dying for me when I was still a sinner. He spent time in the Garden of Gethsemane in passionate prayer about the cross. His cries from the cross were also full of passion. His love even though demonstrated by an action was motivated by passion! A person won't die for people He is not passionate about. He won’t ask His Father to forgive those who crucified Him unless He felt passion for them. I know we have been called to be living sacrifices in Romans 12. That means I am to die to my own selfishness wants so I can love and serve Him on a moment by moment basis. I won't do that unless I develop a passion for Him.
I invite you to join me in self examination to see if you are passionate about God? Does it show up in your devotional-prayer life, in your speech, and in your willingness to sacrifice for the opportunity to know Him more? Does your passion govern your reactions to life? When your mind wanders, does it wander to Him?
In closing, I must confess to you that as I am writing this I am extremely convicted. Loving God with all my heart, mind, and soul can only happen as I let His Spirit control and transform my life. It is not something we can muster up within us ourselves. It comes from spending time with the Lord and letting Him fill us and teach us about His love.
Prayer: Lord help each of us to remain in love with You. Not just in or action love, but a love that is motivated by passion from a heart filled with your passion. Please bring about whatever needs to happen in each of us to have a strong abiding passionate love for You. Amen.