By: Carole L. Haines
It is God’s own love with which we are filled. It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to love God, others and ourselves. It is He who imparts this love to us and through us: by the transformational power of faith in Christ.
Jesus says it best in John 15 in His Sermon about the Vine and the Branches.
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)
The apostle John expands on this truth of Christ by making it clear to us that the practice of loving one another is the very thing that perfects God’s love in us. See the verse below.
12 No one has seen God at any time;
- if we love one another,
- God abides in us,
- and His love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. (1 John 4:12-13)
I broke the verse down into its proceeding parts to make it more evident.
It’s all connected, interwoven, like a process. When we are practicing loving one another, then God abides in us. As God abides in us, His love is perfected in us. But the catalyst of that transformation is the hard work of loving one another. It’s procedural. We can make transformation so difficult, but it all goes back to abiding in Jesus (John 15).
Abiding in Christ, dying to our opinions, adopting God’s point of view of all things. When we adopt His view and cast out our own point of view, The Holy Spirit gives us God’s own love with which to love one another. It is an endless source. We only run short on love, when we try to love in our own strength. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. (2 Cor. 3:5)
This word ‘adequacy’ means competency, ability, sufficiency. The Strong’s Concordance says that this word is only used one unique time in all of Scripture, right here in this verse. I find that very telling of how uniquely we are made adequate, individually, with the power of God. Through the personality, the talents, the Spiritual gifts, etc. God uses all that He has poured into us and empowers us through His Spirit. He makes us uniquely adequate to the task of loving those around us. But he first must teach us to love ourselves by seeing ourselves only as He sees us, all other people’s opinions cast aside. Let Him show You how He sees you, soak in His Scriptures on love. Rest and abide there.
Let’s circle back to finish today with our Key Scripture for this study:
37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”