“For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1: 7
1 John 4: 7-21
There is a lot that challenges real love and works to prevent its course. Lack of knowledge (of people and/or circumstances), prejudice, hurt, dislike of self and fear to name some of the more common barriers. As we looked at on Monday God has commanded us to love Him, our neighbour and ourselves; these the greatest commandments (Luke 10: 27). The greatest because love drives out fear, overcomes failure, hatred and covers a multidate of failings (1 Peter 4: 8). We, however, struggle to love God, our neighbour and often ourselves. For example an article on social media highlighted how almost two thirds of users lie to ‘airbrush reality;’ to make themselves fit their desired image.* To help overcome these barriers we’ve looked at who God is, last week, and this week how we can love in Jesus in such a way that He transforms our lives.
The first step, as we have focused upon, is to know God, this helps us to know and have love (1 John 4: 8). We know God through Jesus who walks the way of love (as we looked at on Wednesday) and who provides us the perfect example (1 John 4: 9-10). God therefore calls us to walk as Christ and to love as He does (1 John 4: 11); how? This is where the Holy Spirit enables and empowers. God has not given us a Spirit of timidity or fear but of love (see above) and He has given us His Spirit to live in us to enable us to love His way (1 John 4: 12-13). We will often find our love and will to love insufficient. If we believe in God through Jesus, we have His Spirit to empower our love so that we can know and rely on God’s love (1 John 4: 16).
I have found this to be true in practice in my relationships when I have put my faith in His promises. I am married to a most incredible lady. When we married, we made our vows to each other in the name and strength of God. When my love has proved fallible, I have consciously asked God for help and He has renewed and revitalised my love. This has been true when people have disliked or hated me because of my different vocations; God gives us love even for such situations (Matthew 5: 43-48).
If ever there was a time where the world needed this deep, true and empowered love it is now. Put your trust in Jesus and step out in love.
To Ponder: Who do you struggle to love most: God; other people/certain people; or yourself? Read the Scripture passage today, believe in Jesus and ask His Holy Spirit to empower your love. Look at others and yourself as people made in the image of God, at others as at least your equals and ask God to fulfil His promise of life changing love.
Pray: Father we love because you first loved us. We can only know real love if we know you so help us to know you – deeply. Empower us by your Spirit within us to love others and indeed ourselves. Help us to love as you love. Amen
Praise: Love divine all loves excelling
Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGGcqhKShQ8
Love has a name
Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Igdy0-cetuw&list=RDMMHcnfT4arZtI&index=19
Love Moved First
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8fWD_JpIFg&list=RDMMHcnfT4arZtI&index=17
*Mail on Sunday 27th/29th Dec 2014 by Barney Calman
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.