Nancy Taylor Tate
“If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” 1 John 4:12.
“Love” is a fruit of the Spirit, an “attribute,” or spiritual quality, that is developed within our lives. This “fruit of the Spirit,” love, will be formed within me through the choices I make as I walk on the paths the Lord before ordained for me.
Our willingness to love will be tested! I choose to love. I choose to forgive. These choices are doors which enable the “workman” of my life to work within me in the formation of my new nature. God is the “workman.” I am the product.
As I submit my life to the Lord, God is working in me to will and to do His good pleasure. As I walk on the paths that God has before ordained for my life, His divine favor, or approbation, rests on my life, and the Lord draws me to Himself in a love relationship.
God is love. Love is not something that God chooses to do as a duty, rather, it is His very nature to love. And I have been predestined to be conformed into the image and likeness of God!
This quality of divine love must grow in every level and aspect of my life. Choices are to be actively made. I am to contend for love. I am to contend for forgiveness. I am not to let things settle in my heart, things that would weigh me down and choke me. I must desire, then choose, to love and forgive.
As I make these choices, the “fruit of the Spirit” will be formed within me. My nature changes. Soon, it is no longer just a choice to love, but it becomes my very reaction, the way I respond, no matter the circumstance. Why? Something (self-centered self) has died within me, through the choices I have been making. Now, it is no longer the Adamic, but Christ’s nature living within me (Galatians 2:20).
This is the level of spirituality that the Lord desires to work within our hearts, that there can come forth this change deep within us. John talks about God’s love being “perfected” in us, as we keep His Word, love one another, and dwell in love.
1 John 2:5
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:17
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgement: because as he is, so are we in this world.
As we love, there is in us no occasion of stumbling. Love will help keep us from falling, from error, and from sin.
1 John 2:10
He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
If we love, we have passed from death into life. In other words, we have passed from mere religious form, from outward show and ceremony, into an up-resurrection from among the living dead, into a life of communion and fellowship with the Lord.
1 John 3:14
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
We are commanded to love God and others in Scripture.
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” Luke 10:27.
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” Romans 13:10.
To love, and also to forgive, often requires humility. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8
This takes something beyond our own life, HIS love abiding inside us. As we spend time in personal communion with the Lord, may we receive of His Spirit and life that His Word and love might become a greater personal reality in our lives.
“And hope maketh not ashamed: because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” Romans 5:5.
“Lord, I desire to be as You are. Shed Your love abroad in my heart!”