Day 4: The Spirit of Love
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
I’ll never forget that moment. Me all angry and frustrated and hurt. That was the deal. I had been hurt and was still hurting. I retreated to the bathroom to wallow in self-pity. Thoughts bombarding. I just don’t get it! How could you say that to someone you love? What selfishness. How rude! I knew what I wanted to say in return. My tirade went on and on. Tears began to fall as I sat there on the bathroom floor.
“Love covers sin.” I heard the Spirit whisper.
Love covers nothing, I thought… it just sets you up to get hurt.
“Yes, love hurts. My love covers your sin.”
I didn’t know it at the time, but later found the very verse in 1 Peter. “Love covers a multitude of sin.” I believed the work of Christ covered my sin, I just didn’t realize love has the same power in other’s lives as well. Anger, frustration, self-pity have no power to change one thing. But love has the power to change everything.
“God doesn’t expect you to be a doormat.” I’ve heard it said many times when it comes to how much abuse we’re to take in the name of love. And I used to agree. But not anymore. The more I’m in His Word. The more I experience His love. That’s exactly what He expects. In Jesus’s name.
Jesus came to be a doormat for the entire world. Every sin, the smallest to the most unspeakable, was scraped off onto Him on the cross. Past sins and atrocities, those present, and those not yet committed. Wiped on Him like so much dirt on a doormat. All in the name of love.
And what are we called to do? Love… in the name… the character… of Jesus.
Whether God loves as Father, Husband, Brother, Friend, or Counselor His love has the same Spirit — Holy.
Holy is separated from the things of this world. Void of corruption and impurity. God’s love, holy love, is different than anything the world has to offer. Or would even think reasonable.
His holy love is patient with difficult people and circumstances, when the world would say Just walk away. Godly love is kind when others are not. It doesn’t envy when others get what we deserve and it doesn’t boast when our work is overlooked.
There is no pride in holy love, because everyone is equal from His perspective. It does not respond to rudeness with more rudeness, nor is it insistent when its needs aren’t met. Even on a really bad day the Spirit of His love is not irritable.
Resentment is never an option with His love, only grace poured out on offenses. His love never delights in evil, even if it just might be what they deserve. This holy love rejoices in the truth, even when it’s about us.
Holy love always protects, bears the pain for others. Always believes, when trusting someone seems unsure. Always hopes, when history tells us otherwise. And holy love always endures, remains in hard places simply because it’s right.
God’s love is sobering.
- A father who pours out his life for his son to waste it on reckless living (Luke 15:11-32).
- A husband who runs after his wife who would rather be a prostitute (Hosea).
- A brother who forgives and provides for the siblings who sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:12-36, Genesis 50:20-21).
- A friend who dies so his buddies won’t have to (John 15:13).
- A counselor who says, Sell all you have and give it to the poor (Mark 10:21).
It’s stark raving mad according to the world.
- The worldly father tells the son: I brought you into this world, I can take you out!
- To the husband the world says: There’s plenty of other fish in the sea.
- A worldly brother seeks revenge.
- The friend with the savior complex, labeled suicidal.
- And the world’s advice to the counselor… Go jump in a lake!
God’s love. A love beyond our comprehension and ability, apart from His Spirit.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19 ESV
Because He loved first, laid down His life, we are able to love like Him. After His resurrection He returned to the Father and asked Him to give us the Holy Spirit. By His grace, He did. And does. He pours out His Spirit into our hearts, and this is the only way we can love like Him. Otherwise, in our flesh, it’s impossible.
His Spirit living in us empowers us to bear fruit in His name, and one aspect of that fruit is love. Still it’s hard for us to surrender to the Spirit and love with this holy love. When our natural bent is all about self, loving others, being other-centered, is hard.
In a world where all are self-centered and self-seeking and love is only meant to make you feel good, living the Spirit of God’s love seems foolish. Until it’s poured out on one who truly needs it. Then, miracle of miracle, God is seen, hope is refreshed, and life restored. Living the self-sacrificing love of Jesus makes Him visible in the world. And that’s our privilege and call in a very dark world.
Read John 13:34-35. What is the heart of the New Covenant? Why?
The Spirit of love being poured out through us onto one another is the greatest testimony we have. Invite Him to love through you.
Talk It Out
Talk it over with yourself:
Does God’s Spirit of love seem foolish to you? How?
Talk it over with God:
Ask God to open your eyes to the opportunities to love like Jesus and reveal Him to those who are lost.
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Romans 12:10 ESV
Exercise Your Faith
Think of one sin in your life Christ has covered in His love.
Give thanks for His love and willingness to cover your sin.
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