Yesterday we were looking at how the Holy Spirit loves to ‘shed the love of God abroad in our hearts’ and at how we can open our hearts and receive that love by saying ‘Thank you’ to Him. Today we are looking at the truth that God not only wants a ‘bride’ who truly believes she is loved, but also a ‘body’ on earth whose members love each other.
In the last few verses of John 17:22,23, we are privileged to hear Jesus’ prayer to the Father for His disciples. “I have given them the glory that you have given me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent Me, and have loved them even as You have loved Me”. Unbelievably Jesus is looking for the same love and unity among His people, as there is between Him and the Father.
Peter of course heard Jesus pray this prayer, and encourages some later disciples with the following words. ‘ love one another deeply, from the heart’. 1 Peter 1:22. He knew that Jesus prayer was not just for the twelve, but was Gods’ heart for all His family, so he passed it on in his letter..
‘What!!’ I hear you say, ’Impossible.’ Well yes. That is true, humanly speaking it is impossible for us to love all Gods’ children ‘deeply from the heart’. This is probably because the family of God is comprised of the likes of you and me. We are all saved sinners, on our way to being transformed into His likeness. We are all, in fact, a work in progress and not always very loveable.
Our reaction could be similar to the one Zerubbabel had, when the Lord spoke to him about rebuilding the temple. The Persian officials were causing trouble by complaining to King Darius, and he may well have thought, ‘I have no idea how we are going to do this’. A similar thought might go through our minds when it comes to loving our brothers and sisters in the same way that Jesus loves us.
Zechariah gave Zerubbabel the answer. One we may recognise. ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6. It’s the answer, I think, that the Lord would give us today. We truly love only by His Spirit within. We have been thanking the Lord for the Holy Spirits work in showing us how much the Lord loves us, now let us also thank the Holy Spirit for His help in enabling us to love others. Jesus said “Whoever believes in Me, streams of living water, will flow from within him”. By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. John 7 : 38,39.
The apostle Paul, significantly places 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter on love, between two other chapters well known for their teaching on the gifts of the Spirit. The truth is that this chapter actually describes Gods’ love, and it is only possible to love like this by the power of the Holy Spirit filling us, and then flowing out from us to others.
If we take the words from 1 Corinthians 13: 4 -7 and add some ‘thank yous’, we can receive and release the love of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can grow to be more like Jesus, loving as He loves. So pray through these verses slowly, something like I have written below, and let us delight Gods’ heart by allowing His Holy Spirit to grow us in our journey towards of loving each other as He loves us.
I thank you Holy Spirit that the love you are releasing through, me is patient, and is kind. I thank you Holy Spirit that the love you are pouring through me towards others doesn’t envy or boast, and it is not proud. I thank you Holy Spirit for your love within me that is not rude or self seeking. I thank you Holy Spirit that the love you ‘shed’ abroad in my heart is not easily angered, and does not keep a record of wrongs. I thank you Holy Spirit for your love within me for others that does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth, and I thank you dear Holy Spirit that the love you are releasing through me always protects, always hopes, and always perseveres.