We have seen in the last article in the series transformation in Christ that understanding and using our unique Spiritual gifts was the second step. Now as God’s Word says, “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way” (I Corinthians 12:31). Of course, that most excellent way is both a Spiritual gift and a fruit of the Spirit, which I am calling our third step to transformation in Christ. This is the gift that opens the floodgates of Heaven because true love comes from God. Let’s be clear right in the beginning, we cannot conjure up this love. It either comes from God or it’s not true love. God is Love. His greatest desire is to love His creation. In fact, the miracle is He chooses to love others through us. We simply cannot out love God. Do you really want to feel God’s love then allow His love to flow through you to others? This is your next step to transformation in Christ.
Before that happens, we need to look beyond the mask that others wear. Yes, everyone wears a mask. We need to look beyond our judgment that’s often shaped by an evil world. We need to look beyond the race or the color. When all those lenses are removed, and we truly look at the heart of the other individual something miraculously happens. We actually see them for the first time. We see the precious child inside. Only then can we truly love them or allow God to love them through us. I am compelled to say something good about social media (well at least one good thing). People often don’t show their most updated photo instead they share a photo of a young beautiful person or no photo at all, because they believe others will more readily accept them. Well, that’s the way our love works we must learn to look beyond the rough or aged exterior of the other person. For the world, this is nearly impossible to do, but for those who are being transformed in Christ, we see the miracle of looking beyond the face and the outward behavior to the heart of the other individual.
This love is the gift that keeps giving even in the face of rejection or open meanness and hostility. This is not a gushy or worldly kind of love. It is a strong powerful love that seeks the real needs of others. It says, “What can we do, Oh Lord, to really help this other person; what can we do to break down this barrier?” It may be hidden, but contrary to what they may say, everyone has a need. Everyone wants to be loved even if they don’t admit it. This true love from heaven passing through us will break down the emotional barriers of previous hurts or regrets. It is good to keep in mind that emotional problems have been known to cause physical problems and bad behavior. We will reach out and touch their heart with the love of God if we start to meet their real needs; not their felt needs, but their real needs. There is great power in love that keeps on giving without expecting anything in return, which is the definition of true love.
It’s impossible for the world to keep loving without expecting anything in return. They teach the 50/50 principle, or I will give what I can get in return. Or I will love you as long as I can get something out of it. When we love without ever expecting anything in return therein is its true power. A power so strong it can transform lives. This is the same love we receive from the Father. It’s the same love that He wants to love others with, through us. One of the miracles of our transformation is that we feel the great magnitude of His love for us. It’s a love that’s overflowing like liquid love covering every square inch of our bodies with tremendously powerful impulses. We simply cannot retain it. We must give it away to others, allowing His love to flow through us to others. Now here is another miracle, that I call the perfect triangle of love. As our love flows down from God on one side of the triangle it then flows horizontally to others who then returns the love back to God on the other side of the triangle. Praise God.
So if we are not expecting anything in return, what is love? To answer this question in one word it is “self-giving.” We learn how to give ourselves to others. Let’s say right here, very emphatically, this is not sexual. We must learn to give ourselves to others without the world’s definition of love. There is a time and place for sexuality but not to be covered in our discussion of self-giving love. We can start by asking the question how can our gifts, talents, abilities, and intellect make up for what’s lacking in others. How can we best meet their emotional, psychological and physical needs? Let me be clear, you will never learn their needs while you do all the talking. We must learn to listen, to really listen and if we do speak ask some thought-out questions that will help them to share their deepest concerns and problems. And then when we finally respond, we learn that we have compassion, not pity; that we demonstrate sincere kindness, not rudeness or being condescending; that we demonstrate true humility, not boasting or prideful, along with the many other beautiful traits described in God’s Holy Word.
Let’s also be clear that true love always tells the truth. It cannot lie in order to make or keep friends. It does not lie to cover-up their trespass. With love in our hearts, we feel compelled to speak the truth even if it momentarily hurts the other person. To point out their trespass and then help them to walk through it by repenting and seeking God’s forgiveness is the true measure of love. To overlook their trespass will not help them and is not true love. This is especially difficult when they attack you for pointing it out, which is in the nature of those living in the world. No one likes to be confronted with their sins. They will not receive lightly what you have to say, but if you say it in love with a sincere desire to see them rejoicing in forgiveness from God and a life free from their bondage of guilt it will help them to receive your love. Remember, God has called us to love one another which is our true path to transformation in Christ.
Finally, we cannot say that God is transforming us if we have not allowed His magnificent love to be perfected in us. The Bible says, “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” (I John 4:12). This love that is being perfected is the epitome of our transformation in Christ. Only those who are being truly transformed and walking in His love for others will have an impact upon the world. As the world grows darker by the day, the light of His love flowing through us will keep the world from being destroyed. All the marching and chanting will not change the darkness. All the Facebook post and videos will not change the darkness. All the complaining and changing of laws will not change the darkness. Only God’s beloved children who are being transformed in Christ exercising His powerful love for others will overcome the darkness and bring forth a marvelous light. Amen
Let me conclude by quoting in part from the great chapter of love. We all need to memorize these three little verses in the Bible allowing God to write them on our hearts. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (I Corinthians 13:4-7). Dear children, please take the next step into transformation by allowing God to love others through you.
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