the weblog of Alan Knox

We have everything we need to love others

Posted by on May 15, 2013 in love | 6 comments

We have everything we need to love others

So, in a previous post, I began “Tackling the Love Problem.” Then I wrote about “The incredible primacy of love… It’s more important than we think.”

What is the “love problem”? It’s quite simple actually. Jesus said all people would know us by our love. But, when you ask people what they think about Christians, love is far, far down the list… if it even makes the list. We have a love problem.

Obviously, the “love problem” is not something that can actually be “tackled” in a few blog posts. This series will barely scratch the surface. In fact, I don’t think writing or speaking about love can ever do anything more than scratch the surface, and that’s part of the problem. (But, I’ll get to that later.)

As we think about this love problem, we need to recognize and accept that we already have everything that we need to love others. There’s no reason to wait for God to give us anything more before we love others. We don’t even have to wait for God to tell us to love someone; he’s already told us over and over to love them.

Let’s start with that last point. “Love one another”… “love your neighbors”… “love you enemies”… Together, these are probably the most ubiquitous commands found in the New Testament. We find them on the lips of Jesus in the Gospel. Paul writes these instructions in several of his letters. James includes it as the “royal law.” Of course, John focuses on love in his letters. Peter even includes the command to love five times in his short letter (1 Peter).

So, the command to love is common among Christians. It’s a command found throughout the New Testament Scriptures, and definitely applies to us as well. As a command, we must understand that it requires response on our part. In other words, there’s something we must do. (But, again, I’ll get to that later.)

Note that these commands are given to all recipients of these various books and letters. They are not just given to the more mature believers. Even the youngest, newest, least mature follower of Jesus Christ is command to love.

Why can the authors of the New Testament (and any of us, actually) command/instruct other believers – any other believer – to love others? Because anyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ – who is a child of God – has everything needed to respond to that command. Why? Because the only thing needed is the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit provides everything needed for the child of God to love others. Everything. We don’t need more of anything. We’re no lacking in anything. We have all of the Holy Spirit, and he is all that we need.

So, why is there still a “love problem”? Why do we not love?

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Series on the “Love Problem”

  1. Tackling the Love Problem
  2. The incredible primacy of love… It’s more important than we think
  3. We have everything we need to love others
  4. Love is easily recognized as love
  5. So, why does the church have a love problem?

6 Comments

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  1. 5-15-2013

    Why do so many have such a time submitting to anybody, considering others first?
    Why do so many of us have excess of all things material?
    Why do so few give generously to those in need?
    Why do so few give of their time in service to others outside their home?
    Why do so many over eat?
    Why do we spend so much time watching TV?
    Why do we spend so much time trying to convict others instead of encourage them?
    Why do so many have addictions to porn?
    Why do we struggle with holding our tongue?
    Why are so many so defensive?
    Why do so many Christ followers talk about themselves so much… “me” “me” “I” “my” “mine” being their favorite words….and very rarely care or show genuine interest in others?

    Because we are not satisfied. Everything in our world shows it. His people are not satisfied. We are not being nourished and allowing Him to bring out our new life.

    Which simply means, we are immature in our walks with the Lord Jesus. We can’t love better or love more by trying harder. We will always be doing it for self which is not love & which will not last long or be eternally fruitful…..when we aren’t doing it out of surrender to the Lord Jesus.

    “The Holy Spirit provides everything needed for the child of God to love others”

    Agree!

    But:

    * We can quench the Holy Spirit’s work in us
    “Do not quench the Spirit” I Thes 5:19

    * We can grieve the Holy Spirit
    “30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Eph 4:30-32

    We can quench His work by boxing Him in. Not giving Him our hearts, time, attention, devotion. Not allowing Him to communicate to us. Not allowing Him the freedom to build up His church and be our Shepherd, do His work of conviction & revealing Truth to us. Be our Lord.

    We can grieve Him by the way we treat each other.

    So if I need the Holy Spirit to love….but I grieve Him by the way I don’t love…. then what am I to do???

    I can’t get any MORE of Him… because once we are His…. we have Him, and He doesn’t give us any more VOLUME of Himself….

    SOoo what can we do? We can give Him more or less power in our lives by how much we surrender to Jesus.

    Are we willing to give Him Lordship, power in our lives or not??

    Will we quench (stifle, put out) the Holy Spirit????

    or

    will we be quenched by Him (nourished, satisfied)????

    We can quench Him, or we can be quenched by Him.

    God has given us the freedom to make choices in our daily lives to choose to draw near to Him or not. To look to Him for our everything, for our guidance, our defense, our love, our affirmation, our love… or not.

    we ARE in dry & weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1)

    but praise be to the Lord Jesus.

    He has given us a SPRING of living water so we do not have to thirst anymore. John 4:14

    Our souls will someday be satisfied with the richest of foods and we can get glimpses of that now!! (Ps 53:5) because of the bread of life offered to us.

    “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:35

    “I am the bread of life.” – John 6:48

    “Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me” – John 6:57

    A body that is thirsty or hungry… can not focus on others. The basic needs of our own thirst & hunger are too much. We can not give out true love until we are quenched (satisfied).

    And we have that accessible to us! We can be quenched. Because it isn’t feelings based, some days it comes with making a commitment to believe it. Having the faith to acknowledge & believe that He quenches our soul.

    Love – true, unselfish, unconditional – love is the Lord’s.

    “whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love” I John 4:8

    “and so we know and rely ON THE LOVE GOD HAS FOR US. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in Him” I John 4:16

    To be quenched by the Lord is to live in connection to Him, the vine.

    Jesus lived & breathed love. And when we are being quenched by Him, turning to Him in all our needs & daily struggles & victories…. when we are being quenched by His amazing love…. we too can breathe love. Breathe that breath of life He first gave to us when accepted His Spirit. As we accept more and more His breath of life in us… accepting who we are in Him… we will naturally breath out love anywhere we go.

    John 20:22 …He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”…

    God *breathed* the gift of life into Adam, who was created in *His* image.
    “the Lord God formed the man…and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen 2:7)
    “So God created man in his own image” (Gen 1:27)
    “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God” (5:1)

    but after the fall & disconnection from the Lord, man has been created in man’s image.
    “when Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in HIS own likeness, in HIS own image…” (Gen 5:3)

    until!!!
    JESUS connected us to LIFE. He redeemed for us the image we were always meant to have. the image we were created for. The new self!

    10 and have put on the NEW SELF, which is being renewed in knowledge in the IMAGE of its Creator. Col 3:10

    We have been given new life, the breath of life and a new image… The creator & sustainer of that life, is the Lord, Jesus Christ.

    The more we surrender to Him, the more power and control we give to Him, the more we are being made fully alive into our new image!!!! aka becoming more Christlike.

    It all starts in daily life. Will we quench Him? or be quenched by Him?

  2. 5-15-2013

    There is only one thing in the way, our flesh. And there is only one way to walk ‘in’ The Way, by His Spirit.

  3. 5-15-2013

    Randi and Jim,

    Thanks again for continuing to take part in this discussion. I’m looking forward to your thoughts on tomorrow’s post.

    -Alan

  4. 5-15-2013

    Thanks for letting me be part of the conversation. All of what I wrote today is what I’ve been processing through personally… so I appreciate how God links us up with brothers/sisters to help with the journey… even via internet!

  5. 5-16-2013

    Interesting… if we have everything we need not just from a theoretical POV but also substantively then I wonder why there is a lack of love.
    If the problem is that we do not have/possess/abide in love as we should yet we have everything we need to love it creates a bit of a contradiction.
    1 Corinthians 13 wasn’t just about loving other people, it was also about possessing love.
    To my mind we have the potential to love as Jesus loved, but its a process. This is getting into discernment of the degree to which we walk in the spirit.
    I guess I’m just echo’ing what Randi said.
    I am very interested to hear your thoughts on why we are not walking in the spirit to a greater measure in this regard. Its hard and the flesh resists it, but there are also systemic, theological and sociological hindrances.

  6. 5-16-2013

    Randi,

    “Help with the journey…” That’s definitely important, especially when it comes to love.

    Eli,

    You said, “This is getting into discernment of the degree to which we walk in the spirit.” I agree completely. We don’t need more of the Spirit in order to walk in the Spirit. We don’t need more of Christ in order to abide in Christ. In the same way, we don’t need more of anything to love others.

    -Alan