The Fruit of the Spirit is Love

April 26, 2009 by Lisa Krempasky  
Filed under faith

There are many ways to judge “success” in the Christian life. But it all boils down to love. One of the greatest reasons we cannot move forward in our Christian walk as individuals, communities and nations is lack of love. Lack of love produces disunity and disunity produces weakness.

We have often heard messages about ourselves as living vessels of God. We need to get right with God so that we can be whole, an uncracked pot, that can be filled to overflowing with the Spirit of God. But as Americans one of our great blindnesses, and our great weaknesses, is that we see the Bible primarily as a book to the individual. It is true that we must absolutely surrender to the Spirit of God individually. However, that is not enough. We are not just individuals whose lives happen to bump into each other. The Bible was written to a community as a whole. Jews did not think in terms of the individual like we do. They thought in terms of community. Our family, our church, our city and our nation are each their own pots which must be an uncracked pot so that the Spirit of God can fill it to overflowing. And love is the glue that hold everything together.

God Himself provides the example of unity of love in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each is a distinct person. Each has a distinct role and mission. Yet they are so unified and One that our simple human minds have great difficulty grasping how three can actually be one. And the great manifestation of this unity is Love. The Father manifested it in giving up His only Son. Jesus manifested it by walking in love daily while on earth and in giving up His very life. The Spirit manifests it in passing it along…filling us with love.

But why is love so critical? Self is man’s great curse. And only in loving others and laying our lives down for them do we counteract and even defeat that curse. Surrender to God is hard enough. He is loving, all-knowing and infinitely concerned with our well being. Surrender to others is just down right scary. They are human. They are selfish. They may take advantage of our surrender and abuse us in it. But as in our surrender to God, our job is to love our brothers and sisters, God’s job is all the rest. The Holy Spirit’s job is conviction. Our job is to walk in love.

But how do we walk in love? As we surrender to God love becomes our nature. Areas where love is hard are areas that are unsurrendered. They are areas where we do not yet fully trust God. It is easy for a lamb to be gentle. Gentleness is its nature. Likewise it is easy for a wolf to be cruel and devour the sheep for that is its nature. Our born nature is self. It is easy for us to look out for ourselves. Our God nature is love and that becomes easy for us as we submit and let God transform our self nature.

“If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” 1 John 4:20 We prove our love to God by loving our brother. We think great thoughts of love toward God. We worship and praise. Those are important. But how God judges our love for Him is against the standard of how we love our brother.

We pray for unity. We cry out for unity. But what we really mean by seeking unity is that we want the others to see the light and follow what we believe. What we really seek is victory. So I challenge you to start taking the other road. Don’t seek victory, seek love. Seek uncomfortable ways to submit to and love your brothers. Seek to do great acts in a hidden way. Seek not the easy road, but the loving road. There is nothing easy about love. There really is nothing easy about the Christian life. It is a life where we must do a 180 from the nature we are born with to the nature we die with. It is a life that is fully our own, but none of our own. Seek love!

This synopsis is taken from Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray.

Part 1 of this series looked at Absolute Surrender to God. Part 3 will explore how to be separated unto God and what that means in the process of surrender.

Absolute Surrender

April 22, 2009 by Lisa Krempasky  
Filed under faith

“My Lord , O king, according to thy saying, I am thine and all that I have” 1 Kings 20:4

The condition of God’s blessing in our lives and in our nation is absolute surrender of all that we are and all that we have into His hands. If our hearts are ready and willing for that, there is no end to what God will do in us and through us.

God Expects Your Surrender

He made all of creation to be surrendered. Stars, trees, flowers, animals all have innately surrendered to God. The objects we use in daily life are all surrendered to the purpose for which they were created. A coat, for instance, is completely given to cover your body. If it tries to cover two bodies at once, it does not cover either. So, too, it is with us. We were created to be surrendered to God. If we are not surrendered or only partially surrendered, we cannot successfully accomplish the purposes for which we were designed. God expects our surrender. He is worthy of our surrender.

God Accomplishes Your Surrender

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13 The funny thing about surrender to God is that we can’t do it. Trying to do it ourselves is non-surrender. Yet the longings and drawings inside of us yearn for it. Our role then is to get on our faces before the living God and ask and seek and cry for this surrender until God accomplishes it in us.

God Accepts Your Surrender

I find in myself the desire to hold back and try to perfect myself. Once I am better or more Christlike then I can be surrendered. But that is not how God works. It is in our weak and feeble gesture of surrender that God is most strong. It is our weak and feeble gesture that is lovely and acceptable to Him. “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 We can never be good enough or surrendered enough in our own strength. We can never be pure and righteous enough on our own. But just as a mother accepts the weeds the child picked for her, so our precious Father accepts us where we are today. And he takes our sincere offer of surrender and grows and matures it into humility He can truly use for greatness.

God Maintains Your Surrender

Do you think it is possible to absolutely surrender to God? Many have found themselves moved and have made committments only to fall away. The answer to that is they did not submit. They made the committment in their own strength and because they did not trust God with their lives they did not surrender, but maintained control. A yielded heart says nothing can separate me from the love of God, not financial ruin, not financial success, not failed relationships, not successful relationships, not anything. What God brings me to, He will see me through. It is my responsibility to yield. Every other thing is His responsibility.

God Blesses When You Surrender

We are a very material society. God may choose to bless you materially when you surrender to Him. He may also choose to bless you with hardship and persecution, with pain and suffering. You ave got to know this. Submission is not the means to becoming a millionaire. But it is the means to the most excellent life. It is the means to a life of absolute joy unspeakable in all circumstances. It is the means to fulfillment and burdenless living like you cannot even imagine. God’s yoke truly is easy and His burden truly is light.

How can that be? Because in our surrender it is He that carries it all. You probably must have a job, but it is not your job to financially provide for yourself. It is your job to do what He sets in front of you and let Him do the rest. It is not your job to bring your wayward child back. That is God’s job. You are to submit and hear what he would have you pray or say or do. God’s job is to convict and draw back. It is not your job to defend your name. Your job is to follow where God leads you. His job is to open the blind eyes that believe wrong about you…or not to to that…as he sees fit for His purposes.

Submit and surrender and in that weakness and humility God will use you in ways you never dreamed possible.

These thoughts are taken from Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray. It’s a most excellent book that everyone should read at least once in their lives.