But you, beloved, keep building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. (WEB)
What does it mean to 'keep ourselves in the love of God'? In 1 John 4:16, we read that 'everyone who lives in love, lives in God and God in him'. In John 15:9, Jesus says this to His disciples... Even as the Father has loved me, I also have loved you. Remain in my love. (WEB)
The call of the Christian life is to live in love. 1 Corinthians 14:1 tells us... Follow after love, make love your greatest aim. When you think of the characteristics of love, what do you think of? Being nice to people? Preferring others before yourself? Laying down your life for a friend? I would say all these things are expressions of love, but how do we actually 'live in love'?
I really believe that true love is not initiated by us, but by God. Our only responsibility is to respond to the love that He pours out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). 1 John 4:19 tells us that 'we love because He first loved us'. If we understand that we are the recipients of His love first, then it might help us understand how we can live in His love.
Since His loved is poured out on us by His Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5), and Paul tells us to be continually filled with His Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), I believe that we simply position ourselves to be continually filled with His love. The more that we receive of His personal affection for us, the more that we will be able to love Him back.
The more that we are able to believe that we are the object of our Father's affection, the more that love will bubble up like a fountain out of us and splash over others. As Jesus told His disciples... Love one another as I have loved you. As we learn to receive more of God's intimate love for us, we will be able to express that same love for those around us and therefore we will make our home in love.
My prayer today is that we would all be able to receive a greater outpouring of God's love than we have ever experienced before. May the Holy Spirit increase our capacity to receive His love and may our love tanks be expanded! May the end result be that we would be continually filled and re-filled with the love that God has for us in such an increasing measure that we would literally explode love on all those around us.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, 5 doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; 6 doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. (WEB)