God’s Love Working in Us: The Fruit of a Nourished Heart

baby feet.jpg

I remember when each of my children was born.  Each birth was very different from the others and each one of my children was unique.  But there were common denominators with each newborn experience.

  1. MY LOVE: I felt an intense, overwhelming love for each new baby. I loved each of my children before I laid eyes on them but once they were in my arms, I would have stepped in front of a gun to protect them from harm.  Even by the fourth child, I wasn’t “ho-hum” about my new baby.  I loved and cherished him just as much as the first one – I was just a lot more tired!
  2. THEIR NEED: As newborns, each one of my children needed me. They couldn’t live without me.  I did everything for them from feeding them, changing diapers, soothing them when they were startled, to waking up at every hour of the night to meet their needs.  Their father helped as well, but the lion’s share of the “life support” came from me.  And no matter how tired I was, I was always overjoyed to gaze at that little face looking up at me, needing me, glad that I was there to make them feel safe and happy.
  3. MY DNA: Each one of my children was mine. Even though they each looked different, they were my children. I gave birth to them so they had my DNA running in their veins.  Some look more like me than others, but they are ALL mine!  And that feeling of connectedness has impacted me since the day of their birth.  I have made choices because of them that I would not have made for anyone else on the planet.

In 1 Peter 1 and 2, Peter talks to the church about the new birth that we experience as children of God.  At the end of chapter 1 going into chapter 2, Peter outlines how the Father has made us children of God and because of that, we can expect that our nature will change.  Because His DNA is running through our veins, we can now act and think like him.

 You have been reborn—not from seed that eventually dies but from seed that is eternal—through the word of God that lives and endures forever. (1 Peter 1:23, The Voice)  

The biggest area of change that we should notice after our new birth is in the area of how we love others. Let’s face it, it’s easy to love some people and hard to love others.  But no matter what your experience is with loving people, I am pretty sure that you haven’t fully tapped into the kind of love that is available to us through Jesus Christ.

Peter says in verse 22: Now that you have taken care to purify your souls through your submission to the truth, you can experience real love for each other. So love each other deeply from a [pure] heart.(1 Peter 1:22, The Voice)

He continues the thought in the beginning of Chapter 2 (remember that when Peter wrote this letter, he didn’t write it with chapters and verses so the thoughts just flowed like an email).

So get rid of hatefulness and deception, of insincerity and jealousy and slander. Be like newborn babies, crying out for spiritual milk that will help you grow into salvation if you have tasted and found the Lord to be good. (1 Peter 2:2, The Voice)

Peter is letting us know that to really love others the way that Jesus did, we can get rid of the old ways of coping in this world and allow the amazing love of God that is being spread out in our hearts to take over.  But in order to do that, we have to realize a couple things and act on them.

                          Realization

                               Action

HIS LOVE: We are brand new so we really CAN love others the way that Jesus did.  Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches, so the life that is in the vine is going to flow into us and bear fruit. If we’re not bearing fruit (in this case, loving others with a selfless love) then we need to go to the Lord and find out where the disconnect happened and turn back around.

 

OUR NEED: Like newborn babies, we have to stay completely dependent upon God, our Father, for spiritual food.  We need to hunger with everything that is in us for more of Him and for His love to overwhelm our hearts and minds.

 

Nobody has to teach a newborn how to be hungry. In healthy births, the baby comes out of the womb crying and ready to eat in a very short period of time.

If you don’t see a passion in you that makes you want to be with Jesus and to love people as He does, then it is a good time to ask the Lord to stoke your hunger again. There’s a phrase that says, “If you don’t get hungry, you’ll starve to death.” Don’t let the love of God in your heart shrivel up and die.

HIS DNA: Because we have been made new, we can walk right out of the old ways of hatefulness, insincerity, jealousy and slander. If I had lost 200 pounds of weight, none of my clothes would fit me.  I could pull the old pants up to my waist, but they would drop off.  When we became children of God, the weight of sin and shame fell off of us and we became light and free.  So now, even if we try to pull on the old garments of sinfulness, they should just drop off of us.  We can walk right out of them when we remember that these old clothes don’t fit us anymore.  If you’re struggling with an old habit or thought pattern, remind yourself that this is not who you are anymore!

We must always remember that we are loved with a love that is beyond comprehension.  Even in human terms, the love I had for my children that made me willing to sacrifice everything for them is a drop in the vast ocean of God’s love for each of us.  And now He wants that love to have its outflow through us.  Those who have been remade by His love should be the shining examples and love-magnets to the world around us.

Now you:

  • If the Lord wanted you to share the Good News about Jesus with a colleague, family member or a person at the grocery store, would your love for them be greater than your love for your reputation?
  • If the Lord prompted you to give a large sum of money to someone in need, would you be quick to obey or would you rationalize a more painless way to help?

In the book of Acts, we read how the early church grew, seeing thousands upon thousands of people turn their hearts to Jesus: The church shared ALL that they had with each other and they loved the lost with a passion that often cost them their lives.

In the West, we know little about suffering for Christ or loving others to the point that it costs us anything.  We throw a little money at a need to assuage our consciences, but we rarely give to others to the point that it becomes a sacrifice. And I’m not just talking about money. We are selfish with our time and our resources as well – and I’m talking to myself here, too!  This week, let’s ask the Lord to reconnect us to the life-flow of His love so that we can bear much fruit for Him before He returns!

Lord Jesus, we need You to align our hearts with yours.  Please have mercy on us and stoke the embers of Your love in our hearts to a full flame. Jesus, please stir up a hunger for more of Your presence and from that place of nourishment, let Your love flow from us to those You want to reach. Let us have your heart for others and listen to Your voice as You prompt us to demonstrate Your love in our world. This will be impossible for us to accomplish on our own.  But with You, nothing is impossible! (Mark 10:27) Thank you for being the Author and Finisher of our faith. Amen!

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