Yesterday we were looking at the kind of heart that would make a comfortable home for the Lord . It is clearly going to be a heart that loves Him, but as we listened to some of the things that Jesus spoke to His disciples at the last supper, John 13-17, we realised that it is also very important to God that we have a heart of love and forgiveness towards each other and the world, a heart that fully reflects how He is with us.
We also need to be aware that the opposite of a loving heart does grieve the Holy Spirit. Paul spells this out for us when writing, ‘And do not grieve the Holy Spirit with whom you were sealed…… Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you’, Ephesians 4:30-32. So while the Lord will never leave us, we do need to recognise that if we grieve Him, we will not be able to enjoy the moment by moment unhindered fellowship with the Holy Spirit, that brings us God’s love, His peace and His joy.
In I Corinthians 13:4-7, we have the perfect description of what being loving looks like. It’s the DNA of our God and so it’s the DNA of our new life in Christ. Let’s have a look at in a fresh version of the bible, The Passion Translation. It can help to sharpen our view of the familiar.
Love is incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous (when blessing comes to someone else). Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honour. Love is not irritated or quick to take offence. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place for shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
Now clearly this is not something we can produce in our own strength We know this because it is the Holy Spirit who releases into our hearts the love of God, Romans 5:5. When He comes to indwell us, He brings with Him all that God is into our hearts, according to our capacity to receive and believe and enjoy Him. So, if we feel we are lacking in love in any way let us ask Holy Spirit to help us and to release in us more of His life.
In that same version of the Bible, The Passion Translation, Romans 5:5 reads like this ‘we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us’. This is God’s extravagant love for us, and as we receive more and more of that love it’s going to be easier and easier to release that love to other people, even when we are under pressure.
The apostle John wrote, ‘Dear friends let us love one another, for love comes from God…. . since God loved us we ought to love one another…..if we love one another God lives in us and His love is made complete in us….. We love because He first loved us.’ 1 John 4:7,11,12,19.
Today let us thank God that the Holy Spirit delights to give of Himself to us, there is no shortage of supply. Heaven is overflowing with love, grace, peace, joy and all those things that we need to pour love over others. In fact the Holy Spirit can’t wait for us to ask for His help. He is THE expert helper in all things, so the good news is that our hearts can be full of love, and the Lord will be thrilled to live with us as we pour that love out into the world.