Friday, February 11, 2011

The Fruit of the Spirit is Love-Part 2


In my first post, I shared with you about my first true love.  It was a fleeting romance and I’m thankful that God has brought it back to my memory.  It is a fun memory, but also reminds me of how unlike my “love” for Kyle was compared to God’s love for me.  

So, who are we called to love? I picked the top 3.

God
God must be our true love.  We are commanded to love him with all our heart, soul and strength. (Matthew 22:37-38)  When you are deeply in love with someone they are on your mind always, night and day.  What or who fills your thoughts during the day?



Husband
There are two big “S” words when it comes to loving our husbands’. 
Serve him in love. 
I have a funny story that I like to tell about my parents.  When I was growing up we always ate dinner together as a family.  If my dad’s tea glass got low, he would shake his glass and my mom would get up and get him some more tea.  Finally, years later(and I mean many years later), my dad asked my mom why she poured him more tea so much.  She said that she thought when he shook his glass that meant that he wanted more tea.  My dad laughed and told her that he was shaking his ice so that when he took the last sips of his tea the ice wouldn’t fall on his face.  It didn’t mean he wanted more tea.  WE all had a good laugh and that night my dad started pouring my mom more tea when her glass got low.
I love that story, because my mom gladly served my dad.  She never grumbled about getting him more tea.  She did it because she loved her husband and wanted to do things for him.
I’m sure we can all agree that our husbands have bad habits, and I’m sure that our husbands could name a few of our bad habits also.  Love gets over the bad habits!  Agape love for our husband’s can’t dwell on his bad habits or annoying tendencies.  It loves in spite of…  Love asks. “Is there anything I can do for you?”

Submit to your husband’s leadership in the home.  The woman who is walking with the Spirit will want to submit to your husband.  I’m talking about a marriage where the husband and wife love each other as God has called us to love.  I’m not talking about an abusive marriage.
I find great satisfaction when I submit to my husband’s leadership.  We work together, we make decisions together, but I let him be the final say.  I didn’t always feel this way.  The change came when my love for the Lord deepened.  My submission to my husband is a natural outflow from my submission to God.  Christ set the example of submission for us in that it is an act of worship when it is a chosen, deliberate, voluntary response to our husband.  If you find it hard to submit to your husband, evaluate your relationship with the Lord.  Once again, I am not speaking to the woman who is in an abusive relationship, married to a man who does not love his wife.
We must pray for our husbands’ daily even if your husband is abusive or not a believer.  I love Stormie Omartians’ book, The Power of a Praying Wife.” Years ago I blogged my way through that book.  Here are my posts on that series.  Great things can happen in a marriage when we are praying for our husbands.  A very powerful prayer for your husband can be, “Lord, how can I bless to my husband today?”  Remember the annoying habits I mentioned earlier?  Take it from me, don’t pray that God will change those habits, instead pray that your husband will seek the Lord and love him deeply.  God has great things to do in your husband, your prayers for him are vital!
To the wife whose husband is not a believer, may I suggest that you take your husband to God, not take God to your husband?  Don’t preach to your husband, just live your life for the Lord.  In the Lord’s timing he will draw your husband to himself.  He can use you in your husband’s life when you live out the love of God for God, not for your husband.

Children

We love our children.  I don’t think that is a profound statement!
I think one of the greatest ways a mother can love her children is by loving their father first. Let your children see you love their dad through serving & submitting to him.  Be careful to not grumble about your husband in front of your children.  Praise your husband in front of your children.  Your children build an opinion of their father from how you speak to him and about him.
Show your children your love by letting them see your eyeballs when you speak to them.  I’m so guilty of doing something else while my children are trying to talk to me.  It doesn’t take much time to stop what I am doing, look my child in the eyes and listen to them.
Let your children see you in your quiet place.  Let them “catch” you during your quiet time. Some  of my sweetest childhood memories are finding my mom sitting either in the big chair in the Living Room or on her swing in the backyard early in the morning with her Bible.  I knew it was important to her, I knew that because I saw her do it.  If your children interrupt your quiet time, don’t get angry or impatient with them.  Instead pull them in and include them.  Read scripture together.  Or let them ask their question and move on.  It is important to let your children know that it is important to you that you have time to pray before you start your day.  Your children will learn to respect that time & allow you to keep that time, especially if they see that it makes for a more patient mommy.
We are called to love the unlovely.    God loves us in spite our sins and his love is perfected in us so that we can love those that are really difficult to love.  I didn’t say you have to like them or be best friends.  But you can love them.
If you feel that you cannot love a person, they have hurt you too deeply then remember 1 John 4:8,
“Anyone who does not love does not know God.”   
Anyone who is filled with jealousy and hate cannot inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21) It is evidence that to the root of their soul they do not know God.  Take those unlovable ones in your life to God and let him show you how to love them the way he loves them. 

So, who is your first love?  Who would you give your life for?  Who consumes your thoughts during the day?

I found this prayer, prayed by an unknown saint.
“Oh God, I hereby give myself to You.  I give my family, I give my business.  I give all I possess.  Take all of it, Lord-and take me!   I give myself in such measure that if it is necessary that I lose everything for your sake, let me lost it.  I will not ask what the price is.  I will ask only that I may be all that I ought to be as a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.”
Powerful stuff!
Agape love starts and ends with God and he includes you in the middle of it!

The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE!


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