Thursday, October 7, 2010

"From Love"

The Christian life involves the ongoing process of the Holy Spirit's indwelling unselfishness more and more controlling our thoughts, attitudes, words, and deeds. "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor" (Ephesians 5:2).

Our Heavenly Father ever works to conform us to the image of the Christ who "came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give His life a ransom for many" (Romans 8:29; Matthew 20:28). The journey begins when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at the time of our new birth. All the love we will ever need, both for personal fulfillment and outward ministry to others, resides in His indwelling presence.

"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).

This gift fulfills our Lord's prayer to His Father recorded in John 17. "I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26). Believers never need to ask for the love whereby we put the self-centeredness of our flesh to death. God calls us rather to believe that through Christ, His love is present to motivate and enable self sacrificial giving of ourselves, our time, our attention, our devotion, and our commitment to the benefit of others. Certainly we don't always feel love, either in the sense of God's love for us, or our love for others. Deep within our hearts, however, we know our belovedness to our Lord, and we also delight in expressing His love to others (Romans 7:22). Regardless of contrary emotion, thought, and physical sensation, we must believe this to be the truth of our Christ-inhabited spirits. To the degree that we exercise faith in the indwelling Word, the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, and the written Word, the Bible, we will more and more walk in accordance with the love God has lavishly "shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit."

Christians live from love rather than for love. Remembering this blessed truth of grace will go far in revealing the self sacrificial character of the Lord Jesus that dwells in our redeemed spirits. As the Apostle Paul declared to Philemon regarding the dynamic means by which the potential of love becomes actual in us...

"I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; that the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus."
(Philemon 1:4-6)

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