Encouragement 03-18-04

March 18, 2004

Encouragement for Today

Love, Part One
Melissa Taylor, Certified Speaker


Key Verse:


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Galatians 5:22-23  NIV



Love - it makes the world go round - isn't that what they say? I really believe that scripture supports this well known saying.  Love is the first fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5.  In John 15:12, Jesus says, "I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you."  If we practiced this kind of love, our lives would never be the same.  We would love just for the sake of loving, for Christ's sake.  How in the world can we love "in the same way that I (Jesus) love you"?  What was Jesus thinking when He said that?  How is that even possible? 


The very nature and heart of God is where we must look to understand love and where we must go to receive love.  He is the only one who can give us the unconditional and unfailing love we so desire.  In 1 John 4:8 we find the heartbeat of the Christian message, "God is love." What does it mean and just how much does God love us? 


According to Elizabeth George in her book, "A Woman's Walk with God, Growing in the Fruit of the Spirit," love has five principles.  1)  Love is an act of the will.  2)  Love is action, not just words.  3)  Love reaches out to the unlovely.  4)  We need God to help us love.  5)  Love expects nothing in return. Over the next two days we will examine these principles and learn how to apply them personally.

Love is an act of the will.  God, our Father, willfully decided to leave His perfect home in heaven to save us.  He wanted nothing but to win our hearts, choosing to come to earth as a baby.  He didn't have to do this.  He chose to do this, out of love for us - it was an act of His will.

Love is action, not just words.  In Matthew 20:28, Jesus tells us, "In the same way, the Son of Man did not come to be served.  He came to serve others." (NCV)  Jesus Christ, God as a human, our Creator as a human, Perfection in human form came to this evil and imperfect world. Do you realize how huge that is?  Think about it again - God became a man.  Sinless and perfect, God came to Earth to rescue us!  His love was full of action - not just words.  And the ultimate love in action, the ultimate sacrifice for our sins was His death on the cross.  The very definition and example of sacrificial love is found on Calvary.


John 3:16 tells us that God loves us so much that He gave His one and only Son.  And whoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life.  What a love - chosen and demonstrated through costly action! But you may still be asking yourself, "How can I be expected to love the way Jesus loves me?"  Tomorrow we will explore the life-changing answer to that question.

My Prayer for today:


Jesus, you command me to love others just like you love me.  Please help me to willfully choose to love and to show it with my actions.  Thank you for loving me in such amazing ways.  Amen. 

Application steps:


Start your day with prayer.  Ask God to pour His love into you so you can pour it into others.  Look for ways you can reach out and love those who cross your path today.

Reflection points:


Is there someone in my life who needs more of my love?  Name that person.


What am I going to do to show my love to this person?


Am I willing to show love even when I don't feel like it?


Am I going to allow Jesus to fill me up with His love daily?

Power Verses:


1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  NIV


Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.  NIV


1 Corinthians 13:4, 7 Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.    NIV
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  NIV


John 15:12 "My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you."  NIV

Additional Resources:


The Ultimate Makeover by Sharon Jaynes
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries


Originally published Thursday, 18 March 2004.