Monday, February 13, 2012

real love

Elizabeth and I thought we should post under the theme of the Fruit of the Spirit for the next few weeks. It's a great topic - not just a list to be checked off, but a compilation of traits that the Holy Spirit will work in our lives. It came to my attention once that it isn't called the "Fruits of the Spirit," but the "Fruit of the Spirit." It is all one work. It's a continuation in our being made more into the perfect image of Christ, and not just some bullet-point items to work through, one by one.

So, LOVE...

It's that thing millions of people around the world will celebrate tomorrow. The funny thing is, though, that St. Valentine had basically nothing to do with what Valentine's Day is really about. Sure, his name is on the day, but St. Valentine wasn't the founder of love letters or heart-shaped chocolate. In some countries in the Middle East, the people aren't allowed to celebrate Valentine's Day. It is considered a "Christian holiday." Which is true, even though the holiday doesn't fundamentally have anything that would label it a Christian-only holiday. Anyone can love, can't they?

And yet, can they? The Bible says that "God is love." Love isn't just a part of God - He IS love. He is fully love even when He is fully just, which is a sort of conundrum in people's minds. It makes them ask, "If God really loved people, than why does He let them go to hell?" The thing is, though, that God loves us so much that we don't have to go to hell. He made a way to heaven for us. Not going to heaven is the individual's choice. That's another aspect of God's love to us - free will. We don't have to accept Jesus and go to heaven.

So, God is the fullness of love. The truth is, we can't love people very well until we are filled with God's love. Without it, our "love" is selfish. It's centered around who we want to love, or who deserves our love, or how it will benefit us if we love them. It may not be a conscious thing, but it's true. Unless we embody a Christ-filled love, our love will be selfish and vain. It won't be full or beautiful in it's truest since until we live with the selfless, wholehearted love of Jesus.


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