Living a God-centered life

December 20, 2011

I can’t believe we have finally made it to the last Fruit. If you have missed the others you can click on their names here: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. It has been a great refresher for me, and I hope it has been the same for you. I have never really taken a step back to consider each fruit. I love how they are all interconnected. I have also become downhearted because of the lack of fruit I see around me. The last one is no exception.

There are a lot of people who like to just ignore self-control. When a friend goes on a diet we are all very excited for that person, but don’t you dare turn the tables around and expect me to do the same.

We are so desire centered. What will make me feel good right now? That is what I am going to do. Do not try and stop me; do not try and get me to live differently. This way has worked and I like how it makes me feel. What a selfish way to live. But that is how so many people do.

We feel we have the right to live however we want. We live in the “land of the free and the home of the Brave.” We have right to do as we please.

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Self-control is in there too.

Paul points out to us in a different place in Scripture that just because we have the right to do something does not mean that we should.  In 1 Corinthians 6:12 he says, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” He is saying here that just because he can do something does not mean that he should. Is that thing profitable for the kingdom? If not then should we really be spending out time doing it?

Last night my wife and I spent some time watching the show Intervention. In each case someone has allowed themselves to be mastered by an addictive substance. They fall so deep into it that it messes with their minds to an extent that they can no longer reason. This is what happens when we allow ourselves to be mastered.

Even if it is not drugs or alcohol that we are giving in to, it can still mess with our minds. In order to keep up the habits we have, we must justify them. We have to keep telling ourselves over and over that what we are doing is fine. “I’m so busy, _________ just helps me to relax. I’m allowed one thing.”

Later in 1 Corinthians we are told this: “Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame (1 Corinthians 15:34).” When we allow ourselves to not practice self-control then we become anything but sober-minded. We “veg out” or we “escape.” There are other, more constructive ways to relax from a hard day or week other than giving into sin “just this once.”

Scriptures do not call us to act like Christ “most of the time.” God does not desire for us to practice self-control when we feel like it. This is a fruit, if we are in Christ then we should be producing this fruit! Step back and look at your life, are you producing the fruit of self-control?

Immediately following the fruit of the Spirit we find this verse, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” I am not saying (and neither is Paul) that we cannot have a good time with family and friends eating and enjoying each other’s company this Christmas. Paul is commanding that we do not let these passions and desires rule us. They are not our way of life. Jesus has showed us how to live and we must live that way!

There has been a lot in the last 9 posts for me to digest. I would encourage everyone (I am doing this as well) to take a look at our lives and see which fruit we are producing and which we are not. Then spend a week trying to implement one. Then when that is down, start on the next, until you are producing all the fruit.

It is a wonderful life that God has planned for us. Let’s grab a hold of it and live the way He desires!

What fruit will you start on today?

Be a Champion of Gentleness

December 16, 2011

It feels like every time I turn around I hear about terrible acts being done against one people group or another. I hear about funerals being picketed, murders, thefts, abusive husbands or fathers, mothers doing terrible things to their children. It happens over and over and over.

It breaks my heart to hear about these things. So many times an individual has power and instead of using that power or position for good and to help people, they use it to only further themselves. They no longer care about what they have to do or who they have to hurt as long as they get more power or they feel more powerful at the end of the day.

The problem is, those actions are never satisfying. They lead to more thirst for power and more people being harmed as a result of their actions. One more person has to be taken out, one more act of violence must happen so that these individuals can attempt of find security or a sense of purpose and power.

This is not how God has called us to act. God has a completely different idea in mind. We have now entered into Galatians 5:23 but let’s look at verse 22 as well, just as a refresher. “But the fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness…”

Now there may be some guys who come across this list to find gentleness put in this list and thing “Great! They want me to become some sort of soft, pansy, man. No thank you that is not for me.” That is just not the case.

The opposite of gentleness as we looked at above, is to be driven by selfish ambition or envy. The person cannot get enough. There is always one more thing to achieve, one more person to knock out of the way so that I can be the best. It is completely selfish. There is no concern for any one else but yourself. “I’ve got to watch out for number one.”

This is quite a sad existence. It leaves the person constantly on edge and having to defend themselves. They have to be on the lookout for those who might take their power away. This is even the case in an abusive relationship. The abuser has to continue to abuse to keep the other feeling worthless. The abuser has to keep the abused from going and meeting with others so they will not find out and try to take his power away.

Gentleness on the other hand looks out for others. To be gentle is to consider the needs of others before your personal goals. It is okay to be goal driven and to want to keep climbing some sort of corporate ladder. But once reaching that goal becomes more important than human life, our motivations are wrong.

James 1:27 tells us that pure and undefiled religion is to take care of widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. As Christians we must be reaching out in humility and helping others.

We must not be afraid to roll up our sleeves and reach out the the hurting. We cannot be afraid to get a little dirty along the way. There is no job to small when it comes to helping the needs of others (especially their spiritual need for salvation). We are never to high up in the world to reach out the the most lowly of people.

Being gentle at heart does not mean we run around with flowers and hearts on our shirts and play gently on the acoustic guitar (If you do this that is fine, but it is not for everyone).

Being gentle means our hearts are soft for the hurting and the people we would consider the lowest. That hurt prompts us to action. We must help take care of others. We must help meet their needs.

Do not get so caught up in the busyness of our world that you forget to reach out and help others along the way. Find someone to show gentleness toward. If you know of others who are in harmful situations, show them gentleness instead.

Allow yourself to be like Jesus and reach out to the hurting. Be a champion of gentleness.

When is is most difficult to show gentleness? Why does gentleness often get such a bad name?

Show Me Your Faith

December 15, 2011

I was reading an article the other day on murder and how this author believes that much of the problem is religion. One of his examples was Abraham and Isaac when God asked Abraham to kill his son. Abraham then followed through with the request until the angel of the LORD stopped him.

This man argues that faith in a god blinds mankind. In the comments below there was some discussion. One comment the author left went something like this: “Everyone has the right to believe whatever they want, just not to practice it.”

I have been thinking about that line ever since. It really shook me to my core. Everyone can believe but not practice. How does that work? If I believe something, don’t I then act it out?

Today we are looking at faithfulness. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” we have finally reached the end of Galatians 5:22.

Faith is a little more than some cognitive action. It is not just a nice thought I have every once-in-a-while. It is not something I keep to myself. See here the fruit is faithfulness. It is the act of being faithful. Faith requires action alongside it.

James 2:14-17 says :

14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

James points out that it is necessary to have action behind our faith. If there is no action, then the faith is dead. It is absolutely useless.

What good is it to proclaim to believe in one thing but then never live like it? It should be questioned as to whether or not that is really a conviction you hold to!

I believe that Jesus was born of a virgin in the city of Bethlehem. I believe that He is the Son of God and lived a perfect life. He did not give into temptation and walked in the ways God desired of Him all the days of His life. He then was crucified because the Jewish leaders gave Him up and the Romans carried out the punishment. He died and was buried. Then a few days later, He rose from the dead. He has defeated death and we are now offered salvation from God through Jesus.

That kind of thought changes the way I act. It should change the way we all act, if we truly have faith.

Look at the examples of the Apostles. These men were afraid for their lives when Jesus died. They did not have faith that He would come back to life as He had told them. But then they saw Him and when the Holy Spirit came upon them that changed their entire way of living. They did whatever they could to get the message out about Jesus! All of the Apostles suffered a martyr’s death, except John who was exiled.

These uneducated men were empowered by the Holy Spirit and they proclaimed the gospel wherever they went. They stood up against false teachings, they did not back away timidly. They knew the truth and the needed to share it!

It should be the same with us. The Bible calls us to be different than the world. We are to be lights in the darkness. Stop hiding your light. Go and live out your faith, wherever you are; because as we saw, faith without works, is dead.

How can you live out your faith in your life situations?

What is Right for Me?

December 14, 2011

My wife and I were watching one of the Star Wars movies. It was actually episode III. There is a scene where young Anakin Skywalker is talking one on one with Emperor Palpatine. They get to talking about the good and dark sides of the force and the Emperor utters these words, “Good is a point of view, Anakin. The Sith and the Jedi are similar in almost every way.”

Those are some powerful words to live by. Really! I see it all around me all of the time. I hear about people talking about what is “right for me” or “right for you.” It all depends on our point of view.

How does this thinking make sense? What someone is really saying is “everything is right.” If I view something as right but you do not, it is at least right for me, which makes it right. We can never tell anyone they are in the wrong because it might not be to them. However you would view telling someone they are wrong as a wrong but I would think it is right, but you cannot tell me I’m wrong because it is wrong to you (read that again. I’m sure it makes sense, somehow).

This kind of thinking is nothing more than just babble. There also seem to be exceptions to these rules. Most people would argue that you cannot tell someone something is wrong unless they are drastic moral issues, like murder. But who draws this line? Who is to say at this point in our history we are just too weak to accept murder and one day we will rise above these preconceived lines to a higher mental state and where murder is allowed.

That illustration may seem a bit drastic but my point is, where do we draw the line? What is the standard for right? What is the standard for wrong?

The first part of Galatians 5:22 goes like this, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness…” In order for us to find a proper understanding of goodness there must be a standard. It cannot just be based on each of our individual feelings. For goodness to really exist is must be greater than each of us. There must be a higher standard.

That standard is Jesus. Jesus was good all of the time. I am finding more and more how all of the fruit of the Spirit intertwine. It is hard to talk about one without the other. Each of these other fruit are good. They produce a kind of goodness not offered anywhere else.

You cannot have true goodness a part from love (remember, love is doing what is spiritually best for someone). Jesus did this all of the time. Jesus did not beat around the bush when it came to following God. He made sure others knew what they were getting into. He was honest with them and led them to a closer relationship with the Father. That is goodness.

Jesus was full of joy. Again, He did not spend His time just pleasing the ears of others. He spoke the truth; He lived truth. He was constantly at odds with the religious leaders. They hated Him so much that they put Him to death. However, He knew He lived the life that God desired and He found great joy in it. He offered that joy to others. He never promised rainbows and butterflies. He did say that there would be persecution but he instructed His followers to rejoice when it happened (Matthew 5:11-12). There is great good in rejoicing no matter what circumstances we find ourselves.

In John 16 Jesus tells His disciples He will be leaving. He tells them of hardship that they will face, but then in verse 33 He says He told them this so they will have peace. Most of us would not experience peace when told of hardship to come, but when we find ourselves in Christ then that is what we have. Jesus knew He would die but found peace in following the will of God. Goodness is found in the peace offered to us from God.

Goodness is found in patience. We we are blessed with God’s patience we know that is good. It is also good for us to offer patience to others. It it to be Christ-like when we do this. Jesus showed us patience with His disciples as well as others who had questions. We find ourselves once again in the will of God and that is good.

It is even good to be kind (not tolerant) to others. To offer true kindness by taking care of the needs of others (physical, emotional, spiritual, etc) is good. Jesus fed people, healed them, and also spoke about God’s will and showed others how to be right with God. God’s goodness flows from us when we are kind to others.

We are finding that by following the will of God we find ourselves doing good. The Scriptures give us the example of goodness. God sets the standard for us and gave us the example of Jesus who lived a life in goodness. Before we decide what is “right for me” we need to take a look at the Bible and see what God considers right. God’s plan and His will are the only things that are “right for me” as well as anyone else.

What are ways we see goodness in living out the other fruit of the Spirit?

Kindness = Tolerance?

December 13, 2011

“I heard the bells on Christmas day/The old familiar carols play/And wild and sweet the words repeat/Of peace on Earth goodwill to men.”

I thought since we are coming up on Christmas I would start out with a line from a pretty popular Christmas song. It got me thinking though, about how much we really see the last line happening. How often do we hear about peace on Earth and goodwill to men.

I’m not even referring to all the fighting that happens in third world countries, or making a reference to Iraq or Afghanistan. For just a few minutes I want to focus on the recent events of Black Friday.

I choose to not go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. At least I choose to not go when everyone else goes. I travel out later in the day when I can still find some pretty good deals without running into a whole lot of people.

But there are those who do go out, and all too often it turns into chaos! There are reports of people being trampled by each other. Sometimes fights break out because there is only one item left on sale. Each shopper only cares about themselves and making sure they do whatever is possible to get the best deal. There is no concern for the well-being of others, only ourselves.

When we live with greed or anger in our hearts, goodwill toward men, or kindness does not flow from us. We are only concerned with “looking out for number one.”

This should not be! “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…” That’s right! Kindness is on the list.

So what is kindness? It is includes acting benevolently or for the benefit of others. Kindness is looking after someone else before yourself.

This would mean (I’m going to pick on Black Friday again) sometimes not getting the absolute best deal because it would mean having to spray mace in someone’s face in order to get to it.

It might mean taking someone in because the situation they are currently living would only harm them.

It could mean going up to someone you have been at odds with for years and apologizing and letting them know you will be acting differently now (and sticking to it).

I don’t think I would put kindness in the same boat at tolerance though. Tolerance sounds like a good idea until someone’s soul is on the line. As Christians we wish for everyone to be saved. We want all to come into the faith so they can be freed from sin and walk in newness of life.

We should live like that is what we desire. That means standing up against wrong behavior, especially in the Church. It is not okay for us to act like everything is fine when people are living in sin and claim to be a part of the Church. We need to address that for the sake of their salvation as well as the reputation of the Church.

It is okay, in fact it it good, for us to talk about our convictions with those who believe differently. How else will they hear about beliefs that are not their own? Romans 10:14 raises these questions: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”

See keeping quiet about our beliefs may be the tolerant thing to do but it is not kind. As I mentioned before kindness includes concern for the well-being of others. The ultimate well-being we should concern ourselves with, is the well-being of someone’s soul.

What good is it if we take care of someone’s physical needs but never tell them of Jesus? As we take care of the physical we should be proclaiming Christ.

Do not be afraid to be kind. Let kindness pour freely from your heart. And let that kindness include reaching out to a lost world so that one more may be saved.

How have you been showing kindness to others?

Being Patient Now

December 9, 2011

Part of it is the culture in which we live; part of it comes from being human, but I really like to get what I want pretty immediately. When I know something is coming in the mail, I check for it every single day. If the thing was sent early in the day and the mail comes later that day I will go out to see if it has come yet.

I really like to get what I want as soon as I can get it.

There are those who must have the next big thing as soon as it comes out. Those things that are being desired may not even be all that bad, but when we treat others poorly or all we can think about is getting that thing now, it reflects badly on us.

If you have not guessed it, today’s post is on patience. It is the next fruit of the Spirit in line. (If you missed the posts on love, joy, or peace you may click on them to view each one).

Patience is hard to master in a desire centered world. We are told every single day that we can have whatever we want. Over and over we are told that we are entitled to anything right now. The problem is (and really it’s not a problem) that sometime in life we must wait.

“Patience is a virtue.” How many times have you heard that line? I remember hearing it quite a bit growing up. And you know what? I hated hearing it! I kept thinking “Okay! I get it. But come on, nobody likes to wait!”

I’m finding that as I go through the list found in Galatians 5, these are qualities of God. As I type this I kept thinking about how difficult it is to be patient. It is not always helpful to hear that we need to be patient or that God is working through this waiting period. “We will come out a stronger or better person.”

That may very well be true, but it certainly doesn’t make the actual waiting process any easier. But then when I thought about the ways that God is patient, it really opened up some new thoughts. I am so glad that God has been patient with me. There have been times in my life when I have run from His will. Following after God whole heartily scared me so much that I thought I just might be better off doing things my own way just this once.

And God waited.

There have been times in my life when I have given into sin. Over and over I would commit acts of defiance against our most holy and wonderful God.

And God waited.

As Jesus hung on the cross dying, He called out to His Father. God could have stepped in and saved Jesus from that terrible death. He could have prevented the whole thing from happening.

But God waited.

He knew that the outcome of what was happening with Jesus was worth the temporary suffering. He knew that after Jesus died and had been buried, He would raise from the dead just a few short days later. God knew that as a result, we would be able to call on the name of Jesus and have a part of the salvation that He freely offers.

Sometimes we forget that God can see the big picture. God knows the pain we are experiencing, but He also understands the importance of patience.

I don’t think it is too much for Him to ask of me to be patient with those around me or with the situations I face. He has done it for me, and now I turn around and do it for others.

What reminds you to be patient even when it is difficult? Does remembering God’s patience with you help?

My wife and I were flipping through channels last night and came upon the movie Pearl Harbor. My wife asked “Do you know why they are showing this?” I answered (and I’m a little embarrassed to admit this) “Was that today?” Then she corrected me, saying, “No, it’s tomorrow.”

A movie all about war. We have many of them made all the time. They are made about real wars, mythological wars, Science Fiction wars, and the list goes on. Just a few years ago there was a movie made about our current war.

Throughout our entire history as mankind, war has happened.

There have also been times of great peace. Perhaps we have never experienced an complete peace over the face of the earth, but at one time or another the wars have stopped, even if just for a little while.

The Bible tells us a little bit about peace. In fact, it is listed with some of the fruit we have been going through: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” (If you have missed my previous posts on love and joy you may click on either word.)

For many people peace seems like an idealistic word. It is that cookie on the shelf. When we are children we cannot see it but we know it is there and we want it. No matter how hard we work to get at it we just cannot.

It does not have to be that way. For a moment I am going to take a step back from the idea of global peace or war and talk about the peace that the Bible is offering to us in that verse.

This peace is something that we can once again only get from God through His Son, Jesus as we follow the guiding of the Holy Spirit. Philippians 4:7 says that this peace “surpasses all comprehension,” so forgive me if I do not do it complete justice.

There is something in the verse 6 that does give a little light into how we can produce this peace as a fruit. ” Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”

Stop worrying. Stop fretting. We are told over and over to let hand our lives over to God and let Him take control. Do not be anxious. Jesus told us that God takes care of the flowers and the birds and we are so much better than they are! God said that creation was very good after making man. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to take our place in death so that we could live eternally with Him, starting now.

If we are that important to God; If we can believe the promises found in Scripture (we can) then we do not need to be anxious about anything. We need to trust in Him every single day for everything.

When we have a worry or a concern, then we give it over to Him. We pray about it. If it continues to be a concern then we pray some more, until we have given every part of our life over to Him.

I have mentioned before that we really have no control over the events in our life (If you want to read someone else’s view on this Micheal Hyatt wrote a post about it yesterday). Worrying does not add anything to our lives, in fact it is proven to take away. We miss wonderful opportunities in life when we spend our time worrying. Not to mention it really can take time off the end of our lives. Our health plummets when we spend time worrying.

Why not give it all over to God. Stop being anxious. Do not make excuses for yourself, just stop. Get someone to help you. Surround yourself with encouraging people. And do not forget to pray. Once we let go of these things, we will then be able to experience the peace that surpasses comprehension.

 

What is stopping you from experiencing God’s peace? Have you ever struggled with letting go of worry?

Lately I have noticed how much I hear the phrase “I just want them to be happy.” That phrase spreads faster than a wildfire. I have been hearing it a lot when it comes to parents talking about their children.

The parents say through tears, “I just want them to be happy.” When it is very obvious that the parent does not mean it at all. He/She is trying to convince themselves that is what they want so they can justify standing behind their child’s decision.

I may sound like a jerk when I first say this but hopefully by the end you will understand. I don’t want my son to just be happy. I don’t want anyone in my life to just be happy.

I want more.

Happiness is an emotion. It comes and goes just like the tide. Sometimes we are elated. We are excited about life and all that it has to bring. We feel we are the luckiest people alive and nothing can bring us down.

Then it happens. Some major event (and sometimes not so major) comes along and knocks us down. We feel like we are in a dark cave; can’t even see our hand in front of our face. It is cold and damp there. We have no idea which way leads out to the land of happiness we once inhabited.

Eventually, whether within a few days or it may take years, but most of the time we find our way out and visit Happiness again.

No amount of effort can keep us completely happy for our entire lives. It just will not work. But there is something greater than happiness that can stick with us no matter what.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is…joy…”

Sometime we get the two mixed up. We think that happiness and Joy are the same thing. But they are not. As I already mentioned, happiness is an emotion. Joy on the other hand is an fruit.

Joy is something we produce because of our salvation through Jesus Christ. We express Joy in Christ.

Even when the Apostles were thrown into prison, they sang praises. Why? Because they had Joy in the one who saved them.

When the Apostles were beaten, they rejoiced! What would cause them to do that? Joy!

I’m sure neither one of these situations made the Apostles particularly happy. They were uncomfortable, in a lot of pain, or isolated from others. But they knew that their Savior was alive and had not left them, and that brought them Joy.

It fills every part of us. We can produce the fruit of Joy whether good or bad happens to us. We produce it because we know that even though we are very much a part of this world, we are a part of something so much greater.

God had such a great love for us that He sent Jesus to die in our place. The God of the universe, thought of me! That brings me Joy.

Even when bad things happen, and I am not particularly happy, I have Joy. I can lean on the Word of God and trust that He meant what He said. This gives me hope for a better future, if not soon, at some point. I can trust in Him, and that brings me Joy.

How do you find joy in every circumstance?

Showing Love and What it Is

December 5, 2011

Over the next nine days I will be discussing the fruit of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23. I have been doing some thinking about the topic for a while and I thought that preparing each post would be good for my own growth and hopefully reading with help with yours as well!

I work with Jr. High and Sr. High students ever single week. It is almost never boring. There is always something happening in someone’s life whether good or bad. One thing that has seemed to continually pop up over the years is love.

In their search to define who they are and what they want to do with their lives, students have an overwhelming desire to be loved, especially the girls (or they are more vocal about it). They discuss boys and girls and who they are dating, what they think about this person, all of the time.

It is not just with students though. We have TV shows and movies that capture the hearts of so many people because of the theme of love. The movies may be different for different genders. There are the typical “chick flick” movies where boy meets girl, they fall in love, there is some conflict, but they end up together (or one of them realizes they are really in love with someone else). Then there are movies like Taken, where a father does whatever it takes to get his daughter back because he loves her.

This topic is all over our culture!

Love is the first fruit of the Spirit listed. So we are going to start with that one. What does it really mean to love someone? There are so many forms of it, sometimes it is hard to come up with a definition. Let’s look at different ways to love someone, and then we will define it at the end.

Relationships: It is no doubt that love is a part of relationships. A husband and wife show each other love by encouraging one another, not tearing down. They tell each other they love them. Perhaps little gifts or notes around the house. They take care of each other. The husband protects his wife. The wife does not talk down the husband with her friends.

Before marriage when a man and woman are in the dating stage they show love to each other. They protect each other spiritually. They save each other for their future marriage(s). The point of dating should not be to have the relationship of marriage just without the commitment. It should be to help each other grow to be the people God wants you to be whether that ends up being for each other or for your future spouses.

Parents/Children: Parents show their children love by spending time with them. They play together, talk together, go and do activities together. A parent does not harm their child (I’m talking abuse here, of any kind). A parent prays with their children. They want them to be closer to God at any point in their lives than they were at that age.

A child shows love by obeying their parents. Obviously if a parent asks the child to do something against God’s word, then that is not ok. However, in other things the child listens, and does not argue back. Want to knock your mom or dad on the floor speechless? Listen without arguing next time and they won’t know what to think.

Friends: We show love to our friends by not making them feel dumb because they have different convictions. For adults it may not be wrong to drink, but if a man feels he shouldn’t then we let it go, and we don’t even drink around them. That’s love. We don’t make fun of people because of the social class they are a part of, where they are from, or decisions they make (I am talking about really tearing down, not “making fun” where you both are enjoying it).

We have done a lot of talking about “showing love.” We have found there are many ways to do that to many different people. So what is it then? How do we know how to show that love if we do not know what it is?

Love is doing what is spiritually best for someone. That’s it right there. Thinking about sleeping with your girlfriend? Is that what’s spiritually best for her? Or are you thinking about it to fill your own sinful desire?

When we do not do what is spiritually best for another person then we do not show them love. If we continue to act unloving toward an individual then perhaps we do not love them at all.

Is there someone in your life you claim to love but you have not been doing what is spiritually best for them? How can you best show love to someone in your life? What are other ways to show love and to other people that I left out?