I look at the size, beauty and complexity of the universe, at how magnificent it is, as we catch a glimpse of it in the giant telescopes that we now have, then when I think about how much beauty and intricacy of design there is in the tiniest creature that we can see in a microscope, it amazes me that at the heart of the universe, and at the heart of the One who created it all is LOVE. Perhaps even more wonderful is that mankind, probably somewhere half way in size between the tiniest nano particle and the largest star, is the ‘crown’ of that creation and the object of this When incredible love.
We are so familiar with the phrase ‘God so loved the world…..’ But if you stop to think, the God we worship is ‘love’. Continuous, undiluted love streams relentlessly from His heart, not just to ‘the world’ in general but to each precious person He has created, that means you and me. I so wish I could grasp it fully, but I will gladly join in line with the Ephesians for whom Paul prayed that they would ‘have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God’. Ephesians 3:18,19. There is something about grasping the extent of His love and being ‘fully filled’ with God.
I’m sure it is something we can all identify with, that when we feel loved it just seems so much easier to love others, even the more awkward characters we know! The apostle John writes ‘Dear Friends let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God…….if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us’. He then wrote ‘God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.’ John 4:7,12,16. Love is clearly a fruit, and an evidence, of ‘Christ in us’, about which we have been sharing. ‘We love because He first loved us.’
In the Kingdom of God fruit grows naturally when there is closeness and intimacy with the Lord, while hard work signals there is a measure of separation. Love is a fruit of the spirit, and will therefore grow naturally if Christ is dwelling in our hearts by faith and we are living as a ‘new creation’. However, while it will be ‘spiritually natural’, as with the illustration of the tractor and trailer, our faith and choices are also going to be a vital part of the whole fruit bearing process when it comes to ‘love’.
So today’s illustration also comes from the mechanical world, and it’s power steering. We had quite a heavy car many years ago without power steering, and my back felt the pain!! As soon as we discovered power steering there was no going back. Power steering is, I think, a brilliant illustration because it is there to help in the steering of the car, the power comes from the engine, but the driver has to choose the direction of travel and engage the power of the engine in order for the car to move in that chosen direction.
When we are in a situation where it seems hard to be loving, or to do and say the loving thing, that is when we need to allow the life of Christ within us to flow out. The Fruit of the Spirit is love, so the Holy Spirit will naturally, or rather supernaturally, release His love into our hearts for others if we let Him. It is mine to choose to respond to the prompting of the Spirit and follow His lead, and so to do or say the loving thing. It will be the power of Christ within, who is always in complete agreement with the Holy Spirit, who will give me the power assistance that I will need, to make the right ‘turn’ in my heart towards that person.
When I am confronted by a difficult situation, where I am perhaps feeling far from loving, it’s the moment to ‘give thanks’. This is because I can recognise it as another opportunity to engage with the power of Christ within in order to express His love into that person’s life. It’s an opportunity to do something beautiful for God. As I thank Christ not only for the opportunity that is presenting itself, I can also thank Him that He is the power within that will enable me to produce the fruit of love. My thanksgiving will also be to the Holy Spirit for His guiding and prompting as to how I can show that love, that is, which way to turn the steering wheel!!