Defining Love

December 22, 2014

1 John 4:8
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Defining Love

How do we define love? 1 John 4:16 says, “…God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” We know that, in and of ourselves, our love is limited and conditional, but in Christ it knows no such boundaries, ‘for while we yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ The secret to loving as God has commanded us too is in the abiding in Him. That abiding love is not static, it is dynamic in its expression toward all that surrounds it. The eyes of that love are always looking to the real needs in each individual that it encounters. Outwardly men say that they need a lot of things that aren’t really even relevant to the deeper need of their heart. They might not even understand what there need is, but God does. As we walk in the love of God, we become the expression of God by the Spirit at work in and through us. We want to ask God to help us see each individual, from those in our own family to those who are strangers, through His eyes and His heart. Operating and living out of the love of God is in seeing your life as a ministry and service to those around you. Love is an open door of giving. It is often returned with ungratefulness and abuse, but it stays open because it is the avenue of God’s love to our fellow man. When we suffer reproach, abuse and ungratefulness from others then we are, in a sense, filling up the sufferings of Christ. We are experiencing and feeling what He felt. We understand the sadness and heartache for those who reject Him, while at the same time we share in the joy of those who embrace Him.
We have become a very self-contained society wanting our own space and our own things. God blesses us to be a blessing. Abiding in the love of God will often take us out of our comfort zone, as it requires that we often lay down our wants and desires so that we might meet the needs in others. For us to intimately know God we must truly respond to the love of God and become the expression of His love to others. If we are a closed channel, then we have effectively cut off the life to God to someone who needs it. God says, “that is not my love. My love extends it’s arms open to all who will receive Christ and come into Me.”
Do we really know God? For us to really know Him means that we have to be the expression of that same love wherewith He has loved and gave His life for us. Are we willing to give our life for others?
Ask God to give you the eyes to see the world and the individuals around you through His eyes and His love. Then ask Him to help you to respond accordingly. The world is starving for genuine love. You are that love because God abides in you.



Lay Down Your Life

October 5, 2012

Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Lay Down Your Life

“Lay down your life.” What does that mean?
“My life” constitutes all of my hopes, dreams, visions and ideas. It constitutes how I live my life, my likes and dislikes, my agendas, my self-worth and personal identity. It is made up of my own principles and values that I have deemed important and worthy of holding on too. It is pretty much about my wants, my desires, my objectives and about “me”.
We often think and maybe even tell the Lord. “I would lay down my life for You. Lord I give you my life.” Yet how many of us are like Peter and Jesus would say to us as He did Peter in John 13:38, “Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” How many times have I said or you said “Jesus take my life I give it to You”, only to latter take it back again and live it for ourselves? Our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak. So many of us have a heart to follow Jesus, but our true heart isn’t willing to go there yet.
Did Peter get there? Yes, he did. He couldn’t go there in His own strength and through his failure, he had to come to that revelation of himself that he wasn’t as sold out as he said he was. It took Pentecost, the Holy Spirit and a life of living unto Jesus that prepared him for the giving up of his own life when he was martyred. This is where the trying of our faith comes in that is much more precious than gold. True gold, true faith is revealed in the fire of the trials and testing. Then we find out if what we say and proclaim is really what we are. God knows, but we don’t always really know ourselves. Trials have a way of unmasking us and stripping our true feeling, emotions and beliefs naked. In reality, most all of us dress ourselves in a lot of pretense. It is not only what we want others to believe about us, it is what we want to believe about ourselves. Sometimes we are living a lie and we don’t even know it. We are blind to it. If someone told us the truth about us, we would be offended at them, because it is not our perception.
As we walk with Jesus in sincerity and truth. As we ask Him to conform us to be like Him and transform us into His image and likeness; that doesn’t happen in day or even a year. It is a process of the Holy Spirit peeling and unveiling the layers of us like an onion. Layer by layer He is dealing with us as we are willing to allow Him to do so. If He dealt with us all at once, we would be overwhelmed and would probably give up all hope of being changed. Yet through life processes He is faithfully, each day, dealing with us where we are at and each of us are in our own unique places, that is why we can’t judge one another. He is wanting to touch something in your life today. He is wanting to grow you more in some attribute of His character and nature. Often we think in terms of the big transformation and that often takes place in a greater measure when we are saved and filled with the Spirit.
Salvation is an ongoing experience that starts when Christ comes to indwell our spirits as we invite Him in by faith, but then it begins the process of going into the battle ground of the soul; the mind, will and emotions. There it must be a daily submission of our will to His, our mind for His, our heart and feelings for His heartbeat.
Today God is wanting to work on some aspect of you. Tune into Him and ask what it is and how you can cooperate in giving that aspect of yourself to Him more fully and completely. We need to learn to practice His presence, so that in every aspect and compartment of our lives we are allowing Jesus to be Lord, saying “yes” to Him and “no” to self. “Let us “continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” That means in great reverence, humbling ourselves to the Holy Spirit and how He wishes to deal in our lives to bring about a greater transformation into who He is.
That is our goal isn’t it? To be like Him? Then each day is a daily sacrifice to what we formerly were, to walk into what we now are. It was completed upon the cross, but now we are putting application to the truth as we lay down our lives, pick up our cross and follow Him.


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