So we are memorizing this chapter about God’s love and for some reason the first 6 verses talk about spirits and antichrists! Hmmm?? Why would that be?
Well consider for a moment what love is? It’s a wonderful feeling of appreciation or emotional attachment to someone or something right?
Well…to put it plainly, NO!
If you look throughout the Bible for descriptions of love, you will see that love is almost always portrayed as some form of action that is focused on the benefit of another without consideration for the cost or sacrifice of self. Let’s take a quick look at some examples.
- “Love is Patient” (suffers long)
- Love “does not brag and is not arrogant”
- Love “does not seek its own” (does not pursue one’s own pleasure or profit)
- Love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, butrejoices with the truth”
- Love “endures all things”
- “Love never fails.” 1 Cor. 13
- “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friend.” John 15:13
- “If you love me, you will keep my commands ” John 14:15
- “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Just by looking at this short list, it’s obvious that love is much more than a feeling or attitude of good intent. Did Jesus die because He felt like doing it for us? No, He actually trembled at the thought. But He was willing to do it anyway.
If we were to properly define love, it would be best described as death to the self-life, (aka the flesh – that which says, “I am number one, I deserve better, I have my rights, I want, I need, I, me, my” etc.) Love says, no to self, no to the flesh and yes to God.
One problem though…how’s that going for you? Not so good? Well me neither. Most days I may try to deny myself, take up my cross and follow Jesus, but I never seem to get very far into the day before something happens, someone says something or maybe no real reason at all, and the loving person I thought I was turns ugly, defensive, sharp, or frustrated.
Oh wait, one more verse about love…”the fruit of the Spirit is love…” Galatians 5:22. Okay, so love is a fruit of the Spirit. And what do we know about the flesh and the spirit?
“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are in opposition to one other…” Galatians 5:17
Therefore, my flesh is actually warring against love because it knows that love will be the end of self (the flesh).
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
I know we typically think of this verse in terms of spiritual warfare, but put it in context of what you have read thus far.
As children of God, we have the life of Christ and the Spirit of God is within us. His desire is to conform us to His image, which means war against the flesh. Many days we may feel defeated by the flesh and its desires, but God has given us a promise, “ye have overcome them, because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”
The spiritual battle is not just something we face when doing missions work in Africa; it’s taking place within us every day we live. Similarly, love is not just something we need to try to show towards others around us. In fact we can’t love in our own strength. It’s a fruit of the Spirit of God which He works in us as we yield to Him and stand firm in His promise that we have overcome them because He is greater and has already conquered sin, our flesh and the devil!