Today we’re winding up our series on the first fruit of the Spirit, love. (And can you even believe it’s almost the end of October?!!)
The Bible has a lot to say about love, and I certainly haven’t covered it all! I did gather up several verses that we haven’t looked at this month to see what more we can learn about love.
1. God can help us grow in loving others.
“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:” ~I Thessalonians 3:12
We’ve talked about several different aspects of love, from the kind of love we should have to ways we can love like Jesus. Maybe you’re like me and think, “I don’t know if I can love God or other people like that.”
We can’t, in and of ourselves. But God can grow that love in us, if we’ll let Him. As we read the Bible, spend time in prayer, and meditate on spiritual truth, He can do a work in us that results in greater love.
2. True friends love each other through the ups and downs of life.
“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” ~Proverbs 17:17
It’s easy to be there for our friends when things are going well, and it’s all about coffee chats and play dates with the kids. But it gets harder when there’s the cancer diagnosis or when she’s dealing with a prodigal child. Sometimes it’s difficult just because we don’t know what to say or do.
But those tough times are when she needs a friend the most. Just show up to the relationship, whether that means a quick text or a phone call, a handwritten card in the mail or having pizza delivered to her house.
It’s also about giving her the benefit of the doubt if there’s a misunderstanding or miscommunication. True friends can be hard to come by, so choose to love through those moments, too.
3. Loving others may mean denying ourselves.
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” ~Galatians 5:13
Part of my Christian walk is considering what affect my actions have on others. If something I do is going to lead a fellow Christian into an area she struggles with – even if I’m okay with it – I should love her enough to not do it. Love includes living in a way that benefits and supports others. That’s more important than being concerned about myself and what I want to do.
4. Our love is so much more than the words that we say.
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” ~1 John 3:18
It’s good to say “I love you.” But if all I ever do is say it, and never show it, the words are empty.
Last weekend my husband showed me he loved me in three specific ways. What were they? He took a box up to the attic for storage, changed a light bulb in the recessed lighting in our kitchen ceiling, and tightened the toilet paper holder in the girls’ bathroom.
That’s not the stuff you’ll read about in a romantic novel, but it spoke his love to me. (And yes, he uses words, too!)
5. God’s love for me, and my love for Him, is the foundation for my spiritual growth.
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” ~Ephesians 3:17-19
I know God loves me and wants what’s best for me. Living in that truth allows me to trust Him when a trial comes into my life. I don’t have to be afraid or worried, because I trust His love for me.
I don’t think I’ll ever fully comprehend God’s great love for me here on earth. The verse does say that His love “passeth knowledge.” But the more I can grasp it, the more I can rest in it and grow in my faith.
Thanks for joining me as we dissected passages about love this month! Below I’ve listed all the posts in this series for quick reference. I hope you’ll join me in November as we look at joy!
Do I Have This Kind of Love?
Our Greatest Example of Love
Loving God: It Tops the List, and Takes Your All
It’s Simple, But Not Easy
4 Ways We Can Love Like Jesus
It’s Hard to Love Like This
3 Steps to Loving Jesus Much
Yes! God has showed me so much recently how loving others is, in large part, simply a matter of presence. This one example hits on 2, 3, & 4: yesterday, I ran into a friend of mine who lost so much of her home in Hurricane Harvey. As you know, we lost absolutely nothing, and I have found it so hard in the last month & a half to find the right words to say to her – I want to be sensitive & available, but I have no true understanding of the despair she experiences being homeless for at least the next 9 months & their uncertainty, as her husband has been an unemployed for 2 years now, as of this month. She is such a strong, inspirational rock for everyone in her life – she is actually a therapist – and to see her fall so hard hurts. (Her mom has also passed away, & her brother almost died with heart problems this summer, as well, on top of a leg injury she herself is dealing with. Plus, the whole reason they are in Houston is because they lost their home in Louisiana in Hurricane Katrina and moved here after that! She has really been through it.) She is always there to love & support me, no matter what she is personally going through, and I haven’t known how to support her this last month & a half – we don’t have a place for her family to live with us, she does have enough clothes…I just haven’t known what to do. Yesterday, even though when I ran into her I really needed to get on with the rest of my day, God finally showed me what I needed to give her to show her my love: simply my presence. I needed to put my to do list aside and just sit there & listen to her talk and tell me her story, because she trusts me. The gift of my time, of my presence, and putting aside my own plans was the best way that I could serve her and show her God’s love.
Oh, Sues, I love this story!!! Thanks so much for taking the time to share it!
I can so relate – I usually want to be able to do something visible to “help” a friend, yet often what is most needed is just our time and presence. Being there as a safe place for them to “share” and just listening – like you did! – might not seem valuable to me, yet can be the most important thing they need.
You absolutely articulated this for me: the usual desire to do something *VISIBLE*
No, I can’t believe that October is almost over! The year is flying by!
I find it relatively easy to love my friends because I don’t see them very often. Once a week at CC or much less often if they live out of town. I find it much harder to love my children and my husband, those whom I see all of the time. And that’s where numbers three and four come in: denying myself and showing love with more than words. So I’m thankful for number one, that God helps me to love others more and better.
I agree! How we’re treating our family – those closest to us – can really reveal how much we’re growing in love!