'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
There is perhaps no other four letter word that is so revered, so misapplied, misused, and maligned by misuse, than the word “love”. It is used to sell products, to describe relationships of all kinds, and to describe any and every human (or non-human) emotion that can be imagined. When it is spoken or written, or read, the definition is almost totally subjective. The meaning is whatever the person, the media, the church, or the world want it to mean. It is another one of many things that is used, misused, and abused - sometimes almost beyond belief.
Sometimes those of us who name the name of Christ become victims of the world around us when we think of love. Even the Love of God. The Love of God is a somewhat confusing phrase also. Even such a phrase as this can be misunderstood, mostly because of the plethora usages. Because of the number of usages, the phrase Love of God is blurred as to its true meaning when it is desired to be understood spiritually.
Over the past few weeks this column has discussed the Law of Christ, and the Mind of Christ, as these elements function in the spiritual realm. Now we will address the greatest of three Divine attributes (1 Corinthians 13:13). All three are part of the construct of our new creation in Christ, but the greatest of the three is Love (Colossians 3:14). Since Christ was and is the Father’s emissary in the saving of mankind, and since God “is Love” (John 4:8,16), Christ also is Love. The Holy Spirit is also God, and therefore He is also Love (Romans 15:30). But since Christ is the sacrificial Lamb of God Who died for all of us, the Love of Christ is that which profoundly and intimately interacts with us. Since God is Love, then Love must encompass the whole spectrum of all that Christ is, relating to those for whom He came to earth and sacrificed Himself to rescue. The Love of Christ then, is all encompassing of all the is rightly manifested as true sacrificial Love.
In Galatians 5, this whole spectrum of attributes of who and what God in Christ is in us, by the Holy Spirit, is revealed: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (vs. 22-23) These are the attributes that are being built into all the children of God as they grow spiritually more and more like Christ (vs. 24-25). These become innate characteristics that become what and who we are becoming. Many feel that the Apostle Paul was, by listing Love first, meant the following attributes to be parts of the whole. The whole being the first listed - Love. They are the components of the Love of God.
We come now to perhaps the most beloved chapter about Love in the Word of God - 1 Corinthians 13. It is important to understand that the list in this chapter reveal what the love of Galatians 5 does in action. This is love, loved outward. This chapter shows what everyone should see. If there resides the Love of God in us, others will see it. In us, yes. But much more by what we do and say. Finally, it is what we do (1 John 2:4; 3:17; James 2:18; Luke 6:46), and say (Matthew 12:36), that counts. Perhaps the reason there is more use of the word “love” than the doing of it is because the Love of 1 Corinthians 13 cannot really be lived out, unless there is the love of Galatians 5 living within. The Love that God is, is not who they are yet. Let us now look closer at this Love that we can be, and the Love that we can finally show the world around us. (Scriptures from the Amplified Bible)
The first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13 make it abundantly clear that there is nothing that can compare with Love, and there is no substitute for it. Not many would deny that Love - this kind of love - would be a good thing, but no one can Love like this. It is not possible, and secondly it is foolish (1 Corinthians 2:14). This being realized, many feel that a logical substitute will suffice. Thus, we have many who excel in one or more of the other good character qualities listed in verses 1-3. These qualities, although good and praiseworthy of themselves, are nothing by comparison. Those who have only these qualities, actually, have nothing at all:
“IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God's love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God's love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). not love (God's love in me), I gain nothing.”
Next Paul moves from what Love is not, to what Love is, as live outward. The real Love of God dwelling within us will more and more exhibit these traits. Notice that these qualities are what dwells or does not dwell within the heart - the deep down. So deep down that they cannot really be assayed or explained, except as they are manifested to others. They become utterly self-less. This Love is not of or from “self”. This is directly a part of Christ Himself by the Holy Spirit in our spirit. In v. 4 is what Love does regarding patience. Without the gift of patience all else cannot actualize in actions. Verses 5-6 reveal what Love cannot do. In verse 7, Love is shown to be the key to endurance. Love is the only way to endure in the faith (Matthew 24:14):
“Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. t is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].”
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