How do you love someone well? How do you walk in the Spirit and not in your flesh?
Did you know that when you become a Christian, you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? God’s presence lives within every believer and empowers Christians to love others well.
Because God is love, and Christians have God’s presence living inside them (the Holy Spirit), the power to exercise love comes from the Holy Spirit. This knowledge is so liberating!
It means I can stop beating myself up for my shortcomings and have hope that Jesus will help me love others when I yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. We all struggle with messy and difficult relationships. God promises to help us navigate those situations.
Not only that, the Holy Spirit also enables you to love God and yourself. Sometimes, we have false beliefs and perceptions about what loving well looks like. The Holy Spirit teaches and helps us learn healthy ways of thinking and acting. That’s why staying close to Jesus and praying for the Holy Spirit’s guidance is so important.
Our lives produce the fruits of the Spirit when we yield to the Holy Spirit and allow HIS power to work within us. Click To Tweet
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8)..
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. (1 John 4:9).
No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us (1John 4:12).
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us. He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the World. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them, and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us (1 John 4: 13-16).
In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul describes how a person’s life shows evidence of God living inside them as a life that bears fruit—the fruit of the spirit. A loving disposition means being joyful, peaceful, patient, good, kind, gentle, steadfast, and self-controlled. When the Holy Spirit is at work inside you, every fruit is cultivated and in the process of growth.
1 Corinthians chapter 13 is referred to as the love chapter in the Bible and describes how love acts:
“Love is patient and kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. Love never fails.”
These two Bible verses go hand in hand. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul describes loving others by referring to all the fruits of the spirit—
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23).
Whenever I strive to apply these virtues mentioned in the Bible in my own strength, I fall short. I’ve been a Christian for many years, and only in the past five years have I grown in appreciation and understanding of how the Holy Spirit helps me. When I remember that the Holy Spirit empowers me to love others well, I can surrender my flesh and yield to the work that only the Lord can accomplish.
Don’t give up loving others because you don’t think it’s working!
Walking with the Holy Spirit and yielding to the Holy Spirit are essential to loving God, ourselves, and others well.
Galatians 5:16 says, “But I say walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain, faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Overall all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity (Colossians 3:12-14).
For the love of Christ controls us because we have concluded this: that one has died for all; therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised (2 Corinthians 5:14-15),
When we live for Jesus, our lives change for the better because we learn how to love God, ourselves, and others well.
The book The Psychology of the Fruit of the Spirit helped me understand how love encompasses all the other fruits of the spirit. The book shares the relationship between love and other virtues (p. 46).
- All the other virtues are included in love and flow from it.
- They define love and flow from it.
- They are expressions of love.
- They are aspects of love.
- The list is a description of the concrete ways in which love is expressed.
- Love enables the other virtues, and they, in turn, sustain it.
- Love is not one virtue among a list of virtues but the sum and substance of being a Christian.
- Love is “the bond of perfectness” or “the bond that holds all the virtues together.”
How does knowing that God gives you the capability to learn how to love and exercise love give you hope for the challenging relationships in your life? Let me know in the comments.
Thank you for your love. You are the greatest example of what it looks like to love well. Thank you for giving me the gift of your Holy Spirit. Thank you that I don’t have to rely on my willpower, strength, and feelings because you teach, help, and empower me to reflect the fruits of the Spirit. When I yield my flesh, your Spirit sanctifies me, helps me have joy and peace, and empowers me to be patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful, and self-controlled.
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