On nurturing and growing the fruit of Love

I’m sitting here typing knowing that I need to say something but not quite sure what it will be, but I know that it will be on love.  Why love?  Because God has been dealing with me in this area, and I’m both saddened and perplexed by what He has unveiled in me.  I’ve always been known for having a kind heart but deep down inside I guess I was always kind, loving and giving on my own terms, when it suited me best.  I could go out of my way to help someone but not if it encroached past my well-fortified four walls, physically and spiritually. 

Yesterday was a case in point, I had designated it as my rest day because I was worn out from having to look after my husband who has been ill for around a month, cooking, cleaning, ministry work and dealing with my own health and well-being problems.  In the midst of all of this, the thing that had suffered the most was my quality time with my Father (Abba) so I made a silent vow the night before to spend the day with Him, just He and I.  I had so many plans about how I would spend this ‘us’ time, I would read, write, pray, sing, dance and anything else I was moved to do… it didn’t end up that way.  A major issue for hubby and I is that we live in shared accommodation, so we have one room for personal use, this doesn’t really matter when he’s at work but with him at home it does really matter.  So while I was trying to carve out some spiritual rest time, Eke was talking to me or reading out loud, fair enough I know that I didn’t tell him that it was my ‘rest’ day but I could feel myself becoming more and more agitated and frustrated as the day wore on.  So I went downstairs as everyone else was out and decided to sit in the front room then my husband told me that one of his young mentees was coming round grrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!  This would mean that I would have to forfeit all of my plans and put on my social face instead, now how do I dig myself out of these feelings of anger and frustration and wrap myself back in God’s cloak of love and warmth?

Ever since I can remember, I have always had to share my personal space, growing up we were quite poor so I had to share with my younger siblings, I met my hubby at age 18 so we were always living out of each other’s pockets (we were not born again then) I guess my only reprieve was a year at university.  I have always valued personal space because I have never experienced it.  Yesterday brought back the horrible emotions of having nowhere to go for escape, I was feeling so overwhelmed by negativity and before I knew it Eke was opening the door to his young friend.  Everyday God gives me a clue of what I will face via a random verse of the day, the verse for both yesterday and the day before was on love and love covering all sins and being the fulfilment of the law.  I knew that God was testing my ability to love past what I would usually give i.e. (sacrificial love) I can’t say that I passed with flying colours but I can say He opened really, opened my eyes to this massive flaw in me.

God's Agape Love the depth with words
One word can be shallow or rich in it's depth, significance or meaning

We hear about love and God’s love all the time, but I think that when we think about love we more often think about it from the perspective of the recipient (well, I do anyway).  God’s love is pure, righteous and good, we feel comfortable and safe in His love but I’m not sure how comfortable and safe I make others feel.  A few weeks ago as I was walking to the bus stop a song came to my head which is generally sang during offerings it’s based on the verse from Luke 6: 38:

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your lap. For with the same measure that you measure it shall be measured to you again.

I often see this verse as being both a promise and a threat to many particularly how it’s used in the church… give your money, give all you have and God will bless you and if you don’t give then you can’t expect to get anything back in return.  Is this really what this verse teaches?  I don’t think so.  When God brought this verse to my mind He also brought another… (Matthew 10:8)

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

God keeps on loving us freely, every single day He gives of Himself without rest and broken and needy person that I am, I can’t get enough of His love, grace, mercy, forbearance but as He’s filling me up what am I doing?  When Yeshua was at the cross, He didn’t wine and say “right now doesn’t work for me!” He may have felt like throwing in the towel, but He girded Himself in love and poured Himself out for others.  Love isn’t a simple warm and fuzzy emotion which we experience because it brings us pleasure, or that we exhibit because it works for us, love is in the act of sacrifice and pouring out yourself, going past the pleasant to what doesn’t sit well with our flesh and doing it anyway because someone else needs what we have more than we do.

I can’t help thinking about this thing called love, this fruit of the spirit, surely the reason why I struggle so much with showing this type of sacrificial always hospitable love is because I’m afraid of what it will cost me to give.  This is why the first scripture speaks so profoundly to me, “give and it shall be given onto you”  God is not telling me to give and suffer because I have given, God is saying that when I give in true love that He will give back to me, and guess what He won’t give back to me the same as I gave out but He’ll give back to me more “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over” and even other people will want to add to me.  The question is do I really believe this, and do I trust God enough to let go and be that vessel of love that He wants me to be?  God help me here.

1 Corinthians 13 covers so many of the attributes of God’s love, I don’t even want to go there and start weighing myself up against this intimidating list but I know that I will have to start somewhere.  I guess the most obvious place for me to start is right here and now and allow God to start breaking down these walls that I’ve built for myself (but I know God is doing that anyway) and allow His love to have His perfect way with me so that I can reflect it back to the world.

Wishing you experience the fullness of His love today,

your sister in Messiah

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6 thoughts on “On nurturing and growing the fruit of Love

  1. Love is the foundation of who we are. When we do things for others it’s done because the spirit in us compells us to help others. It’s not a sacrifice because God doesn’t want our sacrifices. How can we possibly compare what we can do to what Jesus has already done on the cross for us? We do all things in love, with a heartfelt compassion – not as an obligation. And when we do this, we are not only helping others but we are showing God’s love for them through us.

    Matthew 25:40 says: “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

    One of the things I’ve learned is that we don’t make promises to God. He says what He means and He means what He says. He can do anything regardless of our situation, but we can’t. We are in this world and we can’t control what happens around us so we shouldn’t make promises because we have no way of controlling our circumstances so that we can honour our word – and that is an important issue with the Lord, to let our yes’ be yes and our no’s be no.

    So where you had planned to be with the Lord all day and felt that you were distracted and taken away from your special day, you were, in fact, with the Lord, doing for others what He wanted you to do – what He wanted to do.

    And when there’s joy in your heart because you know through love that you’re doing His will by helping others, you can think about the Lord, talk to Him in your heart and in your thoughts, sing out loud or in your heart, praise Him, pray for those you’re helping and smile. You can’t get any closer to Him than you are when you’re doing His will and sharing His love with others. PTL.

    1. Hi Ronnie,

      thanks for the reply. Your comment really shows your journey with God, I took a couple of things from what you said…
      1. That God doesn’t desire sacrifice from us
      2. Letting our yes be yes and our no, no.

      In relation to the first, I agree that God doesn’t desire sacrifice in the way the world sees the terms sacrifice but He does desire sacrifice of joy and praise from us. I see myself as needing to grow to that stage where I don’t see acting in love when my flesh doesn’t want to as a sacrifice but as something which also gives me joy because I am giving freely of myself to another. True sacrifice is when you put the flesh to death (through His strength, power and grace in you) to allow God’s spirit in you to have full reign and control of you as His vessel. This is where I want to aim towards and where I feel God wants me to head towards too. I don’t want to feel ‘obliged’ to care etc… I see God breaking down these walls in me bit by bit.

      I totally agree with your second point too, I made the mistake by making plans for me and expecting everything and God to fall into line. I learnt many lessons from the whole experience and as I said it really made me think about the type of person I was in relation to giving and receiving love. Generally, I don’t make vows with God, when I said it God already knew that I would be sitting here today pouring out the lessons that He has been teaching me. I’m praying that I will be a good and receptive student.

      By the way what does PTL mean?

  2. Hi Florence,
    I’m sorry things have been a little difficult.
    On the subject of ‘Love’.
    Jacob Prasch did a really good sermon on John 17 (The Priestly Prayer).He said it was the real Lord’s Prayer as the one we regard as The Lord’s Prayer is The Disciple’s Prayer.
    John 17 is the longest and last prayer of Jesus before his betrayal. It makes 6 important points, which culminate collectivly, in the importance of True Love
    .
    Will we only know ‘True Love’ in Heaven?

    I will do PTL (Praise The Lord) as well.

    Noddy

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