Discover the Book - Feb. 14, 2009

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How to Really Love Someone

On Valentines day many people talk about love. Have you thought about love in a spiritual sense? Love is of utmost importance in our spiritual lives. We are to be known by our love! Jesus said in John 13 that each of His children have an ID badge. “By this shall all men know that YOU are My disciples…” What is that ID? THE LOVE we are to have. Are you wearing that badge in your marriage? In your home? In your family?

 

Loving one another is not optional, it is the way that all the world will know that we are Christ's disciples! The way you live, the way you talk, and the way you respond to your brothers and sisters reflects who you really are as a believer. Do you really love your brothers and sisters that God has placed all around your life?

 

There are 15 manifestations of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21. Of these 8 are dealing with interpersonal problems. It is not enough to say that we have always struggled in these areas. Or, to say I sinned and go on. The Scriptures show us that a truly spiritual person will be growing in a visible way in each of these areas.

 

1.      LOVE is the absence of selfishness. It is the product of the Holy Spirit present in our lives Rom. 5:5 says. And it even “flowers in the presence of the unlovely and hostile”.[1] The word agape, is the love of choice, referring not to an emotional affection, physical attraction, or a familial bond, but to respect, devotion, and affection that leads to willing, self-sacrificial service (John 15:13; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 3:16, 17).

·        Can others trace my progress in expressing God’s love? Am I less selfish and self-seeking than I was last month?

 

2.      JOY is the spiritual quality that releases us from circumstances. A happiness based on unchanging divine promises and eternal spiritual realities. Christian joy is not a shallow emotion that, like a thermometer, rises and falls with the changing atmosphere of the home. Rather, Christian joy is a deep experience of adequacy and confidence in spite of the circumstances around us. The Christian can be joyful even in the midst of pain and suffering. This kind of joy is not a thermometer but a thermostat. Instead of rising and falling with the circumstances, it determines the spiritual temperature of the circumstances. Paul put it beautifully when he wrote, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11). Joy is a gift from God, and as such, believers are not to manufacture it but to delight in the blessing they already possess (Rom. 14:17; Phil. 4:4).

o        Do those that know me and watch my life see me as a joyful person?

 

3.      PEACE is the internal serenity that only God can give. “Peace is love in repose, with no borrowing of tomorrow’s troubles today.”[2] Troubles are not absent. Rather, God is present! “When the Holy Spirit is not grieved the dove of peace is able to alight on the heart.” peace. The inner calm that results from confidence in one’s saving relationship with Christ. The verb form denotes binding together and is reflected in the expression “having it all together.” Like joy, peace is not related to one’s circumstances (John 14:27; Rom. 8:28; Phil. 4:6, 7, 9). Has peace become more and more a way of life for you this year?

 

4.      PATIENCE (KJV longsuffering) is the absence of personal irritation at the actions of others. It is that bearing long with people that Paul spoke of in I Corinthians. Patience is also one of the Supreme attributes of God. It is His character that is revealed as being gracious and longsuffering. See Exod 34:6; Num 14:18; II Peter 3:9. This is patience or the ability to endure injuries inflicted by others and the willingness to accept irritating or painful situations (Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:12; 1 Tim. 1:15, 16).

o        Ask yourself, am I more patient than I was three months ago? or less? If we are not increasing in patience it is only that we are not yielding and submitting to the Holy Spirit.

 

5.      KINDNESS is a beautiful reflection of God in our lives. It is the absence of an abrasive manner in my dealings with people. It is a chosen reflection of Ephesians 2:8 and 4:32 in my life. “Kindness is seen as that sensitivity toward others that issues into deeds of self sacrifice and love even toward the unlovely and undeserving ones. Kindness will soften any word or act that might hurt another.

o        Is my character showing an increasing tendency toward personal kindness in my way with others?

 

6.      GOODNESS is being Godlike! It is the opposite of fallen humanity. Look at Jesus in Acts 10:38. When the Holy Spirit anointed His life, what came out? As one author wrote -- “Ecstatic utterances? Spectacular Miracles? Flamboyant Sermons? No! He simply went about doing good. ” Believers are commanded to exemplify goodness (6:10; 2 Thess. 1:11).

o        Am I a visibly better person than last year? Do people see me doing good to all those around me?

 

7.      FAITHFULNESS is the idea here. A trustworthy and dependable life. The kind of person that keeps their own life in order so that you can count on them. Like Psalm 15 speaks of, they make and keep their word. faithfulness. Loyalty and trustworthiness (Lam. 3:22; Phil. 2:7–9; 1 Thess. 5:24; Rev. 2:10).

o        Am I making strides in reliability and dependability?

 

8.      MEEKNESS is the opposite of asserting ourselves. gentleness. Better translated “meekness.”The Lord said that the Meek were the ultimate winners. [Matthew 5:5] Those who are Servants of the Lord must not strive II Timothy 2:24. They resist selfish ambition [James 3:16] because it is a reflection of Satan not God.

o        What shape is my personal agenda in? Is it intact and my rights being defended? Or, is it in hopeless shape, crucified with Christ and fading?

 

9.      DISCIPLINE (KJV self-control). This refers to restraining passions and appetites (1 Cor. 9:25; 2 Pet. 1:5, 6) and is defined by the Greek Dictionary as “a virtue, which consists in mastery of the appetites and passions, especially the sensual ones.” The only force that can control or flesh is the Holy Spirit. When yielded to Him we become vessels that are worshipful sacrifices to Him no longer to self. Self cannot control self. Flesh is not able to harness flesh. Only the Spirit can discipline us.

o        Do others see me as graciously under the control of God’s Spirit of Discipline? Are you beating under and giving knockout blows to your flesh? Paul was in I Cor 9:27. Can we do any less?

 

There is every reason why we should love one another. We trust the same Savior. We will one day enjoy the same heaven! We belong to the same Father and seek to do the same work of witnessing to a lost world that Jesus Christ alone saves from sin. We believe the same truth, even though we may have different views of minor doctrinal matters; and we follow the same example that Jesus set for His people, to live a holy life. Yes, believers do have their differences; but we have much more in common, and this should encourage us to love one another and promote true spiritual unity. [3]

 

Would you like to own all of these powerful messages in a book format? Order Your copy of the "Joy of a Word Filled Family" book today!

 



[1] J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Discipleship p. 118.

[2] Ibid.

[3]Wiersbe, Warren W., The Bible Exposition Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1997.

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

 
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