Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Acts of Love

Acts of Love
Fruit of the Spirit Series - part 1
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love…” Galatians 5:22

“Gimme that old time religion…makes me love everybody…”

“Behold, what manner of love the Father has given unto us…that we should be called the sons of God…”

And to the tune of “Are You Sleeping” we sang these words…

                Love is patient; love is patient,

                Love is kind; love is kind.

                Always understanding, always understanding

                Time after time, time after time.

We sang those songs, then I taught the children that Matthew 23:7 gives us Jesus’ words on this topic:  “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”  Then we learned the verse after some application activities, I sent the children home to hopefully exhibit this Fruit of the Spirit in their lives during the next week.   Week number one of the series completed? Check.  Now let’s move on to the next one.   

Oh, wait!  Something tells me that this isn’t going to “go away” that easily.  In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize that this particular fruit seems to be the foundation for all the others.  And the more time that passes, the more I realize just how much this true love is necessary and must come from God Himself.  Can you love difficult or abusive family members on your own?  Can you even love your children or spouse as they should be loved on your own?  We’ve all heard about agape love, but do we practice it…really?  True agape love is from God alone and always translates into attitude, then action.

Take this scenario, for instance.  You are extremely tired at the end of a long, difficult day where everyone needed something from you all at the same time. All you want to do is sit down, in peace, for just a few minutes and read that book.  What book?  Oh, the one you’ve worked on for six weeks and you’ve still only reached chapter 3.  But then your preteen daughter comes along with a “serious” fashion crisis (you know the scene…the hem in her favorite skirt is out and she HAS to wear it tomorrow!) and is in tears because things are falling apart for her in her way, in her world.  Just HOW do you respond?  It is soooo easy to feel that frustration rising…to let that quick response of “Just wear something else, for Pete’s sake!”  I know.  It’s a little thing.  But little foxes spoil the vines, don’t they?  And Jesus calls us to be faithful in the “little things” so He can trust us with the big things like our children’s confidence and communication when they ARE facing truly big decisions and crises in their lives. 

I’m quick to admit that I do not always succeed in showing love where it’s needed most.  It’s easier to show love to the little old lady in the grocery store who is taking too long in line and I’m late for an appointment…because I know others are watching my responses!  It’s easier to show love when it seems that we can get some “glory” for doing so.  But what about the millionth time your toddler asks to have his sippy cup filled…NOW?  Does anyone really care what your response is?  Yes, I believe so.  Jesus cares if no one else does.  You have the opportunity to speak Jesus’s love into your child’s heart daily.  Because, you see, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind…doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). 

I could go on and on with these verses about true, God-give, sacrificial love, but you know as well as I do that my situation will never be your situation, and my temptations will never be yours.  You know where you need God’s love shown TO you and BY you.  God has shown His wonderful, all-encompassing love to us so that we in turn can show that love to the lady who raked you and your husband over the coals as she left your church.  To the man who seems to have cheated you out of money you couldn’t afford to lose.  To the neighbor who complains all over Facebook that HER neighbors have THE worst, most offensive children she’s ever known. To your husband when you feel he doesn’t understand you.  To your children when you feel you can’t meet another one of their demands.  God knows.  He loves us when it isn’t easy.  And the best part is that He can replenish our meager stores of love from His bounty to enable us to show the world around us what it means to truly extend CHRIST’S love!

Learning more about God's love on a daily basis,

Shawna Wright

P.S. For further reading and a marvelous illustration of God's love for us, CLICK HERE.

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