Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40 NIV
I am often just one computer glitch or traffic jam away from pulling my hair out... where is my patience? At the end of too many days, I have a bowl of Blue Bell ice cream and… truth, here? I am not training for a marathon - I don't need the calories!
Where is my self-control? When I struggle to keep a good attitude because things don't go according to my plans... where is my joy?
The "Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). I used to chase the Fruit of the Spirit, rather than the Spirit. I always fell short. This led to discouragement and despair, and with good reason: we were not made to do life on our own (Genesis 2:18)
As Paul reminds us “None is righteous, no, not one...no one does good, not even one" (Romans 3:10, 12).
In fact, Christ says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in [your] weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9) and Paul agrees, saying "when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor 12:10). Knowing our weakness, demonstrates our need for Jesus.
The Greatest Commandment tells us what it looks like when you love God above everything else: loving God, enables you to love your neighbor as yourself (v. 39).
We simply are not able to love others (which often requires love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) without God.
Too many people love, expecting something in return (like respect, honor, love, mercy, affection, kindness, etc.). This is not love, because love is not transactional. Love is an action and a free gift. We know this because we see how Jesus loved.
I used to chase the Fruit of the Spirit, rather than the Spirit. But then I learned, the hard way, that He was right all along. I can't do anything good without Him. And so, as for me, the nearness of God is my good (Psalm 73:28).
How about it?
Can you feel the Lord singing over you (Zeph 3:17)?
Do you feel Him leading you beside still waters (Psalm 23:2)?
Do you remember how He redeemed your life from the pit (Psalm 103:4)?
He is good for us, and to us. He is Worthy...worthy to receive praise and honor and glory (Rev 4:11)... and worthy of our love. And loving Him, enables us to love others.
Decide that you are going to love God enough today to love others. Bite your tongue, for God. Turn the other check, for God. Overlook an offense, for God.
Remembering His Love for us can enable us to do what might, otherwise, seem impossible.
Dear Heavenly Father You ARE Worthy. Thank You for allowing us to know You. Please help us to grow in the love and knowledge of You so we can demonstrate Your love to our neighbors… to love them in the same way You have loved us.