Some of you may recall a message we sent out last year that concerned the subject of “not making work for other people.” I wrote about times long ago when our children would ask if they could have an item in a store. If I said no, I required them to return the item to the precise location on the shelf where they had picked it up, again, so as not to make work for other people. I also mentioned that I had been tempted similarly in recent times regarding a can of coffee at our local store, and the joy I had in returning it to its proper place upon remembering days gone by with our children. Moreover, I recounted experiencing the blessedness of Christ’s love in a small but undeniably real opportunity to “walk, even as He walked” (I John 2:6).
I bring this up because I shared this again in several sermons yesterday. I don’t know how this affected those listening, but for me, it refreshed me in the wonder of our Lord not only directing His love to us, but depositing His love in His trusting children through the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5). Our Heavenly Father made us to be far more than mere objects of His love. Born again believers rather exist as the habitations of God’s sublime character of otherness and willingness for self-sacrifice.
Discovering the blessedness of such a gift involves a lifelong process of spiritual growth and maturation. Our flesh struggles against the unselfishness wrought in us by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:17). He inexorably works, however, to reveal in both our attitude and practice the truth declared by the Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Countless opportunities present themselves to know the love of God as revealed in us, most of them involving small matters such as returning coffee cans to their proper place. Expecting the Holy Spirit’s orchestration of these opportunities places us in the position to recognize them, and to act upon them by making the initial small sacrifice that leads to a heart of ongoing joy as Christ’s love for us manifests itself as Christ’s love in us.
We will never get over the wonder expressed simply in the words of the old hymn, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” However, the gift given in the Jesus who loves us grants to trusting hearts an even more awe-inspiring gift, namely, the Spirit of the Lord Jesus dwells in us to conform us to His image (Romans 8:29). It is more blessed to love than to be loved, and in both time and eternity, God’s trusting sons and daughters will discover that Christ’s “so great salvation” gives to us a gift best known not in receiving, but in giving.
“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.”