Monday, March 30, 2015

Internalizing love

The human mind is wired to hunger for love.  Research done on infants years ago who were fed and clothed but deprived of loving touch showed that they suffered dramatically, both physically and emotionally, proving that love is a basic, primal need.  The Bible tells us that God is love.  It’s not that He merely loves us - He is love. It’s so crucial, it’s the first of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5.  The true church is described as a community characterized by brotherly love.  God knows that every member of the church is sinful and flawed, even more reason why we need the supernatural gift of God’s love to fulfill His calling.

But though God’s love is abundantly evident in nature, in the beauty of good relationships, happy families, and the kindness of friends, so many people are wandering through life feeling terribly empty and unloved.  God’s love is here, but not everyone internalizes it.  It’s almost as if they had an invisible force around them that repelled it.  God’s love is so vast and pure, powerful and profound, that if we experienced it in it’s totality it would overwhelm us.  Wouldn’t it be great if that pure love could be a part of our every day experience?

The Holy Spirit through John tells us that keeping God’s word perfects His love in us.  That may sound vague, but it’s very simple.  Just walk just as Jesus walked.  Wherever He went, He had compassion on those in need, and had the wisdom to stand up to those who were hypocrites and oppressors.  He also had no fear of storms, literal or figurative, because He trusted in His heavenly Father.  He wasn’t obsessed with money and possessions, because He knew that if He did the will of His Father, He would be provided for.  He knew that He had authority over sickness and demons, and He used that authority every single day.  He didn’t allow evil to block Him from doing what was right.  He was willing to sacrifice, because He first loved us.

Living in that Spirit and striving to follow His standards causes love to be perfected in you.   Living in trust and obedience, eliminates so much unnecessary stress and strain.  Unneeded worries are deleted, your useless attempts to solve everything your own strength can be abandoned because they’re illogical.  The extra energy you have can be spent rebuking evil and acting in defiance of what the devil wants.  Defying the devil can appear heroic, or go unnoticed by others depending on what he is tempting you to do. Defiance can mean humbling yourself and asking forgiveness, breaking off an unhealthy relationship, or just denying your ego to show kindness.  But whatever it is, you are acting your faith and that’s when the results of your prayers bring so much joy, proving just how loved and precious you are to Him.  You’re able to internalize His love as it flows through you and perfects itself inside of you.  

But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.  (1 John 2:6 HCSB)

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