Operating In A Spirit Of Love Part I


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Christians struggle with many Biblical issues like, Forgiveness, Tithing, Outreach, and the list goes on… but most all of these struggles can be linked to our ignorance of God’s central teaching on Love.
Think for a moment: If you never counted a wrong done against you by someone, (which is one of the principles of Love that we will get to later), you would not struggle with the issue of forgiveness. Or, If you were not self-seeking (another principle of Love) you would not struggle with tithing or fasting.
Applying principles from an understanding of this study will change the way we see everything and simplify many issues we struggle with. So let’s begin by answering these questions. “What is the source of love, how important it is, what does love mean, and what is the application of this teaching for us?”
THE SOURCE OF LOVE
Unlike anything else in the universe… love is not something that God created. In fact, Love is what God is. Scripture tells us that God is love. It is because He is love that we were created and it is our inability to love that sets us apart from God.
1 John 4:8
He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love.
1 John 4:16
And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him.
Love comes to us from God, through the Holy Spirit. Anything that man believes to be his own form of love is not really love at all but a perverse expression of something man believes or pretends to be love.
Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,
IMPORTANCE OF LOVE
All of God’s word is important and to learn as much of it as is revealed to us is certainly His will for each of us. And isn’t it true that there is so much to learn and so much to remember that trying to follow His word in every way can be frustrating at times. My own life is filled with failed attempts to do this or not do that. It seams that it would be a lot easier if we knew what the most important thing to God was, and start there. Well, God loves us so much that He has revealed to us what is most important to Him in the scripture below.
What we read toward the end of Matthew, Chapter 22 should urge every Christian to keep Love at the forefront of everything, everyday of their life. If anything, it should clarify what is most important to God and why we should study “this thing called Love”. In this passage, we find Jesus surrounded (by what would be considered wise men of His day… by mans’ standards anyway) and one of them asks Him a question. Jesus answers, and what He tells this Lawyer is the central issue in this study.
Matthew 22:36-40
Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light–which are heavy?]
*And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).
*This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.
*And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.
*These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.
s Here we have Mankind recorded in Gods’ word, asking the Creator of ALL things… “What is the most important thing”? Jesus, quickly, and simply… tells us exactly what we need to know. And then, in case we didn’t catch on… He sums it up in verse 40. Is this not foundational to us? If anything is revealed to us from this passage, it is that, “to love God and each other”, is the most important thing to God.
Now we understand the source of Love and see (through God’s word) that it is not from us, but is actually God and that Love comes from God into us through the Holy Spirit. Further, we should agree from the passage in Mat 22 that Love is the most important thing for us to understand. Now let’s find out what it means to love or what love means.
MEANING OF LOVE
So much is said about love and so many sources of information concerning love saturate the world today and yet we live with so much hate, strife, and war. The rate of divorce continues to rise both in the world and among Christians. Because of the “fallen” nature of man, so his understanding of love is distorted, sorted, and even perverse. It is also true that even when God’s word concerning love (I Corinthians 13) is referenced, it seldom goes beyond verse 4.
So, let’s look now at God’s definition of Love and pray that He will reveal the true meaning of this important teaching.
1 Corinthians 13
3 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.
4 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.
5 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].
6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
8 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
Well, we really have our work cut out for us in just these few verses before us. 1st, I would like to point out that verse 3 further strengthens the fact that love is most important to God and that He is the true source. 2nd, I should point out that the chapter continues, concerning love, but the definition of Love stops here at verse 8.


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