“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love, give preference to one another, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind but associate with the lowly. If possible, as far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:9-18).
My morning reading included the verses above, followed by a reading from Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest. Today, his writings converged with the passage that I just quoted. Oswald wrote, “When the Holy Spirit comes into a life, the great desire becomes to lay down that life for Jesus, and the thought of sacrifice never touches us because sacrifice is the love language of the Holy Spirit.”
The genuine love of which the apostle Paul speaks, is the agape love of God, that which is the fruit of the Spirit. We are unable to love this way without the Holy Spirit filling our lives, He makes it possible. Believe me when I say, my love, my willingness to sacrifice for others has a limit. But when I yield myself to the power Holy Spirit, my ability to love and sacrifice is as limitless as His. And what flows from my life is called the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To enter this kingdom, it is necessary that one confess their utter poverty, that they are spiritually bankrupt, with no redeeming virtues upon which God would grant us salvation. The work is all His, through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection on our behalf. But there is more to this truth, after being saved, I am just as helpless, unless I daily apprehend the power of the Holy Spirit who now lives within me, through the new birth. Jesus said, “Without Me, you can do nothing!”
By the power of God’s Holy Spirit, I can love, I can sacrifice, I can consider others as more important than myself, I can be kind, and gentle.
G.K. Chesterton wrote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” Difficult because our attempts are made in our own strength, not His. Remember the words of the apostle Paul responded, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”