Fruit of the Spirit: Day 2

Love

by

Today's Text: John 13:34-35, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, 1 John 4:7-19

We love because He first loved us.

- 1 John 4:19, HCSB -

Saturdays were pancake days. Regardless of what activities the day held, it always began with batter and blueberries.

I would come down the stairs mid-morning, always last and always late. Sometimes we had additional guests, phone call interruptions or fluctuating appetites, but the scene was always the same:

I knew my brother would want milk, and seconds.
He knew I wouldn’t be mad if he used all of the syrup.

I knew my dad would request coffee first, pancakes later.
He knew I would eat the most blueberries.

I knew my mom would mention how my Papa used to call them ‘hotcakes.’
She knew I would want to flip the “pancakes, not hotcakes!” myself.

They all knew not to talk to me before 8 am.

One night I sleepily told my mom, “I love you more than blueberry pancakes!,” because in my opinion, there was nothing better. We began using the phrase frequently and, although I  outgrew my small plate, twin-sized bed and eventually my quaint hometown, I would never outgrow this phrase that said I miss you, I love you, I can’t wait to see you again, and I’ll always be there, all in one.

“Love you!”, my mom texted to me on my first night in my college dorm. “Love you more than blueberry pancakes!”, I replied. I knew I was trading pancake Saturdays for dining hall delicacies (I was clearly mislead), but the thought made me look forward to the next time I’d be home with my mom and her mixing bowls. It tasted even better in my mind than in my mouth.

Before you think I’m leading you to measure your love in terms of actual fruit, look again at the end of 1 Corinthians 13, where Paul is also looking forward to something:

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
-1 Corinthians 13:12

Does anyone’s heart LEAP and get crazy excited about heaven when you hear this? Me too, me too!

The type of love we are given as a fruit of the Spirit is agape love, which is a goodwill, benevolent, brotherly kind of affection. In fact, one of the most well-known passages about love—1 Corinthians 13—concludes with Paul’s beckoning description of heaven, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Friends, the love of Christ in us makes us a sisterhood joined by the heart-leaping hope of Heaven. This love—an earthly display of eternal perfection—is the essence of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. And, it is ours as a gift! His love for us fuels our love of others while we await our great going Home.

In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis says that loving others as ourselves “is an image, a foretaste of what we must become to all if Love Himself rules in us without a rival.” Love is the result of God in us. We truly do love because He first loved us. This love is viewing others through a heavenly lens, a God-given tool to fasten our heart strings to the hope of Glory.

We are a family standing in the waiting room of Fully Known, determined to exchange a foretaste of what’s to come. And so, whether it be through words, actions or pancakes, may our love always be a result of Jesus’ love for us—a reminder that we are His.

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  • Jenna Harris

    This is an area where I need work. But He has begun a good work in me!

  • Sarah Stumbo

    Amen and amen! We are His! Good truth for today

  • Alexandria

    Im a very practical person & I guess I have always run away from reading about loving others in the bible. Not because I dont want to love others but because i simply dont know how. This reassured me that love was not a fruit of the flesh but of the spirit, therefore it is a skill that needs cultivating. I am gonna stop beating myself up and rest knowing God has my back.

  • Dana Good

    I never used to loved anybody except myself and at the same time hated myself. Then my dear friend brought me to church and boy did I discover the love of God. It still took me awhile while God slowly shaped and molded me and taught me to love others. Of course those closest to us always seem to get the brunt of our character defects and so it took me a long time to change my selfish unloving habits in the home. Today God has answered our family prayers to bring His Love into our home. Thank you Jesus for your miracles.

  • Sami McDonald

    I have a bit of a rough relationship with my mother and her side of the family, and I know God wants me to forgive them, but I just can’t bring myself to after all the stuff they have done. I love my mother and her family, but I just don’t love the way they behave. I’m hoping that He will show me the way to forgive them wholly.

  • Whitney Moore

    On a night when my marriage is struggling because I fail to show love well and acts of negligence plague my relationship with my sweet husband, I read this with anguish and hope. Anguish because this is the love I want restored so badly and hope because I have this love in Christ.

  • Loving people can be so difficult, but so rewarding! I️ do my best to show love to others, because they may not be receiving it anywhere else. And I️ would rather receive love from others, as opposed to hate. If being happy and loving when interacting with others is all that I️ can do in this lifetime from “seeing the reflection” then I️ can’t wait to KNOW FULLY the joys of Jesus and His love for us!! How sweet!

  • I keep losing my parking spot to a coworker. Sounds a bit trivial I know, but I have a trigger of feeling disregarded. We are supposed to share the spot. Instead of taking my frustration & anger out on her, I’m sitting in my car reading SRT. I am choosing to let it go. Let her have the spot. Thank God I stopped. I already feel lighter. He is Love & I want to reflect that. These are the moments.

    • Katie Wiegert

      “Feeling lighter” !!! Mary, I have been trying to pin point the feeling of relief after having been worked up and angry, then being calmed by the reminder of the love the Lord has for us. Feeling lighter is the perfect phrase! Reflecting His love is such a big goal for my everyday life, and thru it, I feel so much more joy and peace.

  • I’m having a hard time understanding how to love some people in this world. Specifically those who incite violence, such as the protestors in Charlottesville this week. I’m praying that God would show me how to love people who I believe misrepresent Him or commit violence in His name. The human heart is much too small for such a task.

    • Kylee

      Melissa, we can’t be perfect and I struggle with this too. I love all people as God’s creations, while utterly hating their actions – a feeling I believe God understands WELL. The word tells us ALL will fall to their knees on the day of judgement and realize, fully see, the weight of their actions on this earth — that’s a moment I’m *not* looking forward to, but I imagine the Charlottesville antagonists will have a similar moment on the day of judgement! Think of that, how their entire philosophy on earth will crumble in the light of God and the One who sees all hearts and is the Truth. No sin can stand in the light of the Truth! And so my heart is flooded with compassion for evil-doers. May they see the error of their ways before it’s too late! And may they repent, turn from their ways, and give God all the glory, the God who redeems worthless lives. He redeemed mine. He redeemed yours. To know that love is to want it for everyone, even the people doing atrocious things on earth.. To see all people as created by and wholly loved by God – and to want redemption for their lives, too. I hope this helps!

  • I love this- such a great reminder that it’s by HIS love that we are able to love others.

    This love—an earthly display of eternal perfection—is the essence of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. And, it is ours as a gift! His love for us fuels our love of others while we await our great going Home.

  • Love this and so convicting! Loosing a little patience today with my little one and I really want loving my family to be at the forefront of my mind…and loving them with a love bigger then my own!

  • Stevycurbow

    I love the phrase about viewing others through a heavenly lens and how love is the result of God in us. I often wonder if my love of others, even those I love the most, reflects my love of Christ. Sometimes I feel those we truly love the most get the worst of us rather than our tender grace and our eyes that should seem them as Jesus does.

  • Lacey White

    Perfect love casts out fear. This is so profound for me. Love has such depth and is so vast. I am in awe of the love of our father. I’m striving to show love to people like Jesus would have. I have already learn so much and it’s only day 2 I am so excited for the rest!!

  • Kelly Anne

    I hated love, actively pushed it away in every form and from everyone especially my family, until I was saved. I have never felt more affection for others , or love for my family like I do now – striving to be more like Jesus everyday . Love love love this fruit of the spirit and it’s only day 2! Bless you all x

  • Christine

    This is really good and actually seems simple but those verses are saying a lot of complex and wonderful things. I am excited to churn over these verses today and think about it all!

  • “Love is the result of God in us.” Something about that is so powerful and profound. John 3:30 comes to mind. He must become greater; I must become less. I am able to love better when I make God a part of my daily life and boy do I need to do that more often.

  • Christina D

    Jesus, help me relinquish all my negative traits and characteristics that are displeasing to you. Help me to empty myself and be overflowed with your love and grace. Allow me to feel your love so that I can love myself . Give the strength to live outside my flesh and love my neighbor as I love myself. In Jesus name I pray Amen.

  • Lord, I need to focus on less of myself and my wants and more of You. Help me to silence my inner chatter so that I can allow the Holy Spirit to work in me and through me. You have given me grace and limitless love, I want to live more in that space and share it with others. In Jesus name Amen.

  • Taylor Gore

    Lord, please help me to understand that all love differently, but as long as I am loving in a way that reflects your heart I am doing my best. There is no love that compares to yours. I pray that I will be compassionate, respectful, and joyful while spreading your word and attempting to reflect your heart.

  • Elizabeth

    Lord give me your agape love for others and myself. Let me remember how much you love me, and love others the same ways. Give me compassion for the difficult people in my life and help me to see them the way you do and love them.

  • Cecily Gold

    Incredible devotion.

  • Amanda Underwood

    This was such a good devotion. I love the expression “We must love other through a heavely lens”

  • Julie927

    Jesus, help me to empty myself of selfishness! Give me your love. Help me to know it is from Your loving goodness and that I have nothing to do with it. It’s not in my control. Help me tap into your love.

  • Jesus, fill me with your love so I can be more like you!

  • The Lords love damages fear. May love pour out of me through my words and my interactions with those around me.

  • Lord, help me to love as you love…with compassion, grace, unconditional love…

  • Caroline

    Lord, help me to share the love that I have received from You, and to love others the way that you have loved me!

  • Loving others shouldn’t be hard, why is it such a struggle?
    Lord, help me seek out resolution and not conflict.
    Help me strive for perfection and not settle for normal.
    Show me to love is to live, and to live is to thrive.

  • ^^^^ so true

  • If more of us loved others the way Jesus loved, what a transformation of the world would happen.

  • Anne Florence

    God’s love is the only love without an expiration date.

  • Having been through heartbreaking things with those I love the most your heart open no

  • This is a fantastic reminder of the origin of love, and of its importance beyond our own happiness/fulfillment.

  • Thinking about the greatest love I know: my love for my daughter, it’s hard to imagine that The Lord loves even more than that. Wow!

  • Your love is my battlecry.
    I’ve been strangled by fear and lies for too long. Today I choose to love, because heaven is coming.. Thank you Jesus for that promise. Let me love through that promise.

  • What do you think it means when it says ‘there is no fear in love’? What does that look like to have fear in love? Being afraid to love someone?

    • Phylicia

      I think the rest of the verse explains it some: “But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
      I see it as you don’t love someone for fear of punishment. That isn’t love. I love my husband, but because I’m afraid of being alone — that isn’t love. Or I love my dad, but because I’m afraid if I don’t, I won’t go to heaven. Or I love God because if I don’t, he won’t bless me. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but I think it means love is pure. Without intentions or fear of what may happen or punishment if I don’t love. What a relief to know God IS love! Amen to putting my complete faith in Him!

      • Jules

        This is so true and when I read your last line about relief it reminded me that at times I think I am giving love to my boyfriend or my parents but the fear of rejection is holding me back. Studying this word and reading your post helped me to have a better understanding that with the fear (that is actually selfish) I am holding back real love.

        I hope this made sense :)

        • Jules

          The relief that we have in Gods love allows us to relinquish the fear we have in love to others

    • Jules

      Maybe it means fear of rejection, so we are afraid of not extending real open love to others

    • Jules

      Maybe it means fear in rejection or not being loved back. Maybe it means that our love or attempt to love is blocked by our prideful fears, but love through the Holy Spirit is fearless beyond human rejection.

  • Love looks past the behavior and physical aspects
    When I have trouble with that, I try to imagine how Jesus would see this person.
    Then it brings me to compassion

  • The part in 1 Corinthians caught me eye when it said “love lasts forever”. We can try to leave our mark but if we don’t do it in love (the evidence of God in us) then it won’t last. Jesus did everything in love and look how long His mark lasts!

  • I always struggle with “how could He love me? I’ve done (fill in the blank).” This was perfect for how I have been feeling lately and this really spoke to my heart. His timing is perfect!
    He split the sea so I could walk right through it. My fears are drown in perfect love!

  • Morgan Neal

    We are tasked to walk in faith and not by light, to walk in His love. To love those who are not able to love theirselves or others. To love those who are not capable to see His light, His love, and His almighty power. But with all things God is possible. He is life ever laster.

  • Lindsay Schiller

    “Love is a result of God in us.”

  • Amazing reminder of how awesome and amazing the Love of God is. With our own love, it’s impossible to completely love others the way they need to be loved. We are tasked to walk in His Love; we are made complete and capable to love those who we cannot otherwise love on our own. With God, ALL things are possible. Thank you, Father. When you look at me, you don’t see my past transgression; you remember them no more. Heal my heart to love with your love and forgive those who have done me wrong. In Jesus Name!!!

  • Alexandra

    What a great devotional! I am currently struggling with understanding how to “Love” the people that are causing all the strife around the world. This also strongly challenges my views on the refugee crisis. I’m praying that God helps me to see the situation as he would, and that he gives wisdom to the leaders of this country.

  • I feel that we live in perilous times, and that wickedness abounds. Today’s devotional reminds me that I must love those that have given in to wickedness. Only through God can I do this because I know I am too weak on my own. I pray to be an example to my children of a woman who loves even the wicked, and prays for their salvation, rather than turning up my nose.

  • I’m always reminded that love is a verb. I can feel it but most importantly I need to share love through my actions, even when I’m angry or afraid. I don’t think I can feel the love unless my own actions are loving. I think Jesus was the perfect example of this.

    • Cristie

      That’s so good!! I think too many people love based on emotion but really it is a choice to keep going when it’s hard.

  • @brittany can you be more specific on what you mean but trying to do it right?

    I.believe that God doing all the work just means there is nothing merit wise that gets us into heaven. It is SOEELY because of what Jesus did on the cross.

    We will go through trials in life and it’s a great and wonderful thing to pray to God for wisdom and help but we should also be using discernment and seeking council and sometimes just straighten up fleeing from sin if it’s in our midst (aka temptations for example) I hope this helps!

  • Brittany

    Can anyone help me? I always feel like I’m “trying to do it right” (and failing miserably) but I read all the time that God is supposed to do all the work and you just pray for his help but I’m praying and getting nowhere and I’m feeling spiritually stagnant. I should be a lot more mature in my walk but I feel like I’m stuck. What am I doing wrong?

  • Cindy Erickson

    Wow, I just got this. I knew i had to love God first and understood it, but i just GOT IT. If we love him first then his love is so grand and radiant that there is no room for any other type of love. Just perfect love the kind that none of us deserve but he graces us with. This kind of love can forgive and give life to ANYTHING!

  • Bayleigh Carlisle

    keeping in the back of my mind that his love needs to come before others ..

  • Yes, yes, yes! I love because He first loved me and because He is in me! I know my heart loves like it does only because of Him!

  • This encouraged me greatly today! How important it is to remember the reason behind our love is joy feelings but the promise of the the one who loves us the most. With that knowledge we can love fully. Thank you for this!

  • Lauren Snedden

    What a talented writer! And I LOVE the excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ book. Truly encouraged by this devo today.

  • Thanks daisydarling. I’ve been a bit robbed lately ❤️

  • Marianne

    Lord please help me put aside my “goal” of finding true romantic love and please help me focus on your love…

    • DaisydarlingRN

      I too share this struggle sister…I have been reading a book called, “how to be found by the man you’ve been looking for” by Michelle McKinney Hammond and there was a great quote in it yesterday that I’d like to share with you…”I will choose to be grateful for the blessings and good things I have at hand right now and not allow my desire for a different future to rob me of living in the present to the fullest “…I highly recommend this book and pray your anxious heart will be settled with the presence of our Father and the Holy Spirit…hope this helps. -Emily

    • B

      Amen sister.

  • God knows I need to work on loving others the way they want to be loved. It’s so easy to get stuck in the rut of loving the way I feel loved. Lord help me to be attuned to the needs of others and how they need to be loved!

  • Help me Father to love like You do!

  • Love is a fruit that I’ve never felt I’ve needed to work on. I pride myself on my natural tendency to show affection towards anyone, whether I’ve known you for a week or decades. It’s easy, though, to like people; true compassion is hard. How can I love someone who has wronged me so deeply? How do I love someone I’ve never met and probably never will? How do I love someone with a stark contrast in values? That’s what God does for everyone, despite their transgressions, and I ought to do the same. Agape love. Selfless love. Unconditional in every way.

  • Kassidee Blevins

    So thankful for this devotion this evening! Really opened my eyes to why I need to love EVERYONE no matter what! If I don’t love everyone then I am not of God because God is love and if I can’t love my neighbor for some reason and I can see his face how can I love a God who I have not seen face to face yet! So powerful because it is so true. When I am fully consumed in the Lord I don’t find it difficult to love at all! But in my few dry seasons I’ve found thAt I was pushing myself to love because I was blocking the Holy Spirit from using me. If we are fully of God it comes so natural because that is who God is! We are loved! So now we love! ❤️

  • Alyssa, I love you more than pumpkin muffins! I loved today’s part we read. If we can’t get the other stuff, LOVE. I think at least beginning to understand God’s love helps us be able to understand why he gives us laws to not get hurt. And then He gives us sunsets and oceans and friends and all these beautiful things! God truly loves us. And I’m so thankful for it.

  • when I first read 1 Corinthians 13:12 as a teen I loved it. I never knew what it meant but, reading today’s devotion cleared it up for me. I am so excited to see my Savior face to face!! Thank you for sharing.

    • Faith Hunt

      My thought exactly! It also confuse me a lot as a child too and now it seems so clear to me!(:

  • Mariela Valle

    Phileo is the Greek love term for brotherly affection. When jesus asked Peter if he agape loved him. Peter responded in a phileo love. Truth is many of us love in a phileo love. The same spirit that is in jesus. Is in you!!!

  • “We love because He first loved us” was our wedding verse and could be found everywhere on that wonderful day. Today is our 13th anniversary and only the Holy Spirit could have so perfectly designed this reading for me today. I’m so grateful.

  • Kasey Summers

    Love!! “His love for us fuels our love of others while we await our great going Home.” Our purpose is to love God and others! We aren’t given much time on this earth. Each day. Each moment is an opportunity to love. Love! My motto is live to love like Jesus!!

  • Love. What a simple but yet so complex topic. I pray that my heart remains open to this passage. I want to love like He loves us. I know I can be s loving person but sometimes life puts me in situations where I don’t even know what love means. Please lord move in my heart. Make me love like you.

  • Haley Renae

    I needed this more than anything this morning. I work in a very entitled work environment and start to get irritated with other and I believe it can show sometimes. So thank for these word to remind me that if I am a truly devoted follower of Christ I must love others as he so loved us! Who is excited for those pearly gates? I am!!!!

    • Jeanie

      This is something I struggle with and if we are all honest I think everyone does to some point. It’s so hard to truly love people…people that hurt you, people that annoy you, people that are rude, people that are mean, people that have caused harm. But this is a great reminder that what others do is not what matters. What matters is…do we love them in spite of them. Do we love them enough to want to spend eternity with them. If not then We are just as mean, hurtful, rude, annoying and just down right hateful. No one said it would be easy. God just says do it no questions asked no whining just love. Wow that’s hard!!!! Praying God to soften my heart for others and to overflow it with love for others.

  • I pray this truly resonates in my
    soul so that I may begin to understand the vastness of his unending love – that this love may over take my every day. So that I may love like that.

  • Alexandra

    Heaven will be better than eating blueberry pancakes :) loving reading the truth of the love he has for us and the “heart leaping” excitement of heaven!

  • Jeorgianna

    Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes. His love is extravagant.

  • Shurtzgirl

    I pray I can love this way.

  • Tyler Rebekah Scott

    I loveeeee this app so much. So much truth and it always starts my day off right :)

  • Ashley Prendergast

    Today’s reading makes me want blueberry pancakes, and to spread love all over everyone in my life today! so thankful for this little community, the precious authors and for God’s great love, for us and in us.

  • Tramayne

    I want to love this way.

  • Holly Wineinger

    This is perfect!!!

  • I love these verses and your words! Yes my heart does LEAP at the thought heaven where will know Him just as we are fully known. It will be so amazing to know God who is Love Himself as fully as He knows us. Then we “shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). I imagine that we we are in the presence of perfect love we will be radically changed. Thanks for your encouragement today!

  • Kimberly Martinson

    I’m going to go downstairs and have pancakes with my family (I can smell them). Thank you for framing love in terms of glimpse of heaven – it does make my heart leap.

  • I just finished the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. In the book, he talks about 1 Corinthians 13 :1-7 and says, to check that you are giving the same love that God gives you everyday, replace to word ‘Love’ with your name. I.e. [Krystle] is patient and kind; [Krystle] does not envy… This was a huge eye opener for me and made me strive to give the kind of love the God gives me everyday. The kind of love that I do not deserve, yes he gives infinitely.

  • Victoria Kay

    His love for us helps fuel our love for others. Others should be able to see Christ through that love.

  • Angela D

    I know that you are being completely honest, that’s what makes your comment so moving and heartbreaking. I will be praying that you find a way to love God, yourself, and others like He loves us.

  • Antimony

    Love is patient and kind. But I am not. I am cruel and sarcastic and impatient. I want things done my way. And now. I thought I knew how to love before I got married 4 years ago. But I didn’t. And I don’t. And sometimes I just go out of my way to hurt the people I am closest to! I don’t know how to love. I’m too selfish. Miserable excuse of a human, really.

    • Crystal

      Antimony,
      I pray you get to read this. Beautiful, you are not a miserable excuse of a human. You were created in the image of God. You are valued and God’s prized possession; His masterpiece. Your flesh acts in a way that is not of God, but that is your flesh not the Holy Spirit. I used to be impatient and my mouth was cruel more than a blessing, but I sought God to change me. I surrendered to let Him mold me into His likeness. I had to stop and think before I’d speak. I first question myself asking if what I’m about to say will honor God or am I saying something to self-preserve my pride. I’m still working through being patient yet I see that I have changed. God can change you should you choose to let Him. God bless you!

    • Mariela Valle

      Antimony, you and I can only love because Jesus loved first. Our home isn’t here. You were created for eternity. I’m praying for you sister. That you set your mind on eternity and are humbled by the man who sits in his throne. When you do have that mindset. Your life has an eternal purpose!! When you have that mindset you become selfless , loving unselfishly like Jesus does. It’s going to take time. In every season, you have to ask yourself, ” how can I work on my character?” Xoxo

  • Just a bunch of noise without love. Needed that reminder today.

  • I think I struggle most with love. I find it very easy to love strangers or those I don’t know well but very difficult to vulnerably love those closest to me. The greater the risk of being hurt the less I love. It is something that is damaging my marriage and other relationships. It is wonderful to focus on seeing others as God sees them rather than how I see them. Where my love may not be strong, his certainly is!

  • Michaela Willrrsdorf

    amazing. thank you so much for sharing. it is a great reminder to me because I struggle so much to show the love that God has given me. thanks for sharing

  • Leanette

    Reading these verses felt like a HUG from God. ❤️ But I would like to be honest about something and ask for prayer. I am having a hard time loving a person in my life and I feel bad about it. I don’t want to go into great details aside from it is difficult to be around this person because I get exhausted by her negative conversation. I think I have been trying from my own effort to share hope and love and I need prayer for God to help me and show me how to let God’s Love….love her.

    • Tiffany

      Praying for you and for her. I think we all struggle to love some more than others, and your prayer request is a great reminder that our ability to love doesn’t come from us, but comes from Christ dwelling within us. We have to ask God for the strength to love, because we are not capable of doing it on our own.

    • Lea

      Leanette, I too have been having the same problem, with my mother-in-law…Good grief she is hard to love! The type of life she leads and how it has affected her children (I.e. My husband) makes it SO difficult for me to have anything even close to love for her. Sure, I’m nice to her face, but there’s no true kindness behind it. I have been praying that God will help me let go of the bitterness and resentment I have for her and replace it with His love. Each time I start thinking negative thoughts about her and having negative feelings about her I have to remind myself to stop, pray and replace these thoughts with positive ones (I usually think about how much God loves her and try to dwell on that feeling of God’s love). This has not been easy for me, there is a big part of me that doesn’t want to let go of all the negativity I have towards her, but I just keep praying for God to help me love and to heal me. I will pray that for you as well.

  • My heart is full as I read this tonight. Thank you because my heart was hurting before but because you all have made being in His Word so easy and inviting I came here before lying down. ❤️

  • Michelle Trombley

    Becky I love that, putting your name in place of love. Makes it so real and hit home on what I really need to allow God to work on in me!

  • Meg Gorman

    So much love here. Praying for you, Stacy. Lifting you and your family up to Our Father. Rest in His love and lean in Him. He will guide you to peace.

  • I was just wondering what it was about my friend that I loved so much and I realized it’s God in her that I love.

  • churchmouse

    Oh Stacy, I’m so sorry! Praying right now for God to wrap His arms around you and just love on you. I pray your husband will repent and be willing to do whatever it takes to honor God and your marriage vows. I pray that with Christian counseling you will be on the path towards healing and wholeness. Nothing is impossible for our God!

  • thekholtz

    Sometimes when I find myself frustrated with someone or angry at another person, I just say out loud to myself "Remember Katie… Love." I have truly been challenging myself since the start of the year to consciously love on everyone. At first it was difficult – especially with those who have wronged me. But it has gotten so much easier as I continue to pray, read these devotionals, and remind myself when I can feel harsh feelings bubbling up.

  • Shelby McGregor

    Wow!!!!! WE love because HE loved us first! And you know it’s extremely hard to love some people. But with 1 John 4:19, it takes the word love into a whole new outcome in everything, who we are, and way of seeking a relationship with God and building a firm founded relationship with me. It is clear to me, that I do focus on other things, or I say I don’t have time to read my bible. Honestly I do have the time, plenty of time, and for me to know that God loves me. That’s enough for me to pick my bible and read his loving truth word.

  • PH413mama

    We love because He loved us first – there is no fear in love – and whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. I love all this. I had a strong experience with this yesterday, and this resonates clearly with me – that if we truly believe that Jesus is the son of God, how can we not give up everything for love? What is there to fear? What earthly trapping is worth turning away from agape love?

  • In Christ I'm Found

    It is when we love those who don’t love us, or even like us, that we are most like God. Because how could we possibly do so, unless God’s very Spirit was in us. We claim to want to be like God, but when we have to walk through these things we realize just how impossible these teachings are. Apart from Jesus in us, there is no hope for obeying these difficult commands. But! Christ in us! The hope of glory!

  • Kimberly Strunk

    So beautiful! Lord, let me dwell on and receive your love so that it fuels my love for others.

  • Elizabeth Siesel

    Today’s passage really spoke to my heart… God has been helping my heart to redefine what love is lately. It’s been a super painful process, but oh so needful. As much as my head knows that God’s love is not dependent on my performance or approval, it is oh so hard not to think that the love I receive from others, when it reflects Christ is not dependent on this either.

  • Love reading all these wonderful comments, people opening up, encouraging, sharing wisdom… This is the body in action!

  • I’ve never commented on here before, but I could really use some prayers right now. I just learned my husband has been having an emotional affair with someone at work. I am devastated. We have a nine month old daughter. I really want to be able to work through this and put it behind us so we can move on together.

    • Beth

      Stacy, you will all be in my prayers. I’m so sorry to hear this.

    • Kat

      Stacy, I just lifted you, your husband and your precious babe up to our Heavenly Father. May He protect & restore your marriage, may He bring peace and clarity for His will amidst this trial. He is faithful even when we are not. In Jesus name, what God has brought together let no one separate!

    • SheReadsTruth

      Lifting you up in prayer right now, Stacy. Asking The Lord to cover you in His peace and allow you to rest in His guidance. Love to you, friend!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

    • Coren Larsen

      I have been in your shoes. I am praying for Gods leading in your life. I write about my own experience with this on my blog messylifeprayingwife.com. Maybe you can find some comfort in knowing you are not alone. You may email me [email protected] if you would like to talk to another Christrian woman who has been where you are. Remember that God sees you, you are his, and you are loved!

    • BAA

      Stacy, I am praying for you and your family tonight. Please know that you are loved and cared for so deeply by our good God, and he is always near to the broken-hearted. Rest in his arms and I pray that he will bring restoration and trust to your marriage.

    • Jordyn

      Just prayed for your family Stacy! That God would restore your marriage and hearts for one another. God Bless you.

  • It’s been so easy for me, working in mental health, to focus on humor and faith to get me through a hard day or week, but one of the big things that I’m missing is bringing love to my interactions with my students and co-workers. Without love, I say things that are mean and gossipy because I am burnt out and grumpy, which puts sandpaper between my relationships. I often wait to see God, in fear and despair that I won’t make it in through my time on earth. But as it says ” For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known,” it’s not too early for me to find reflections of God’s love here on earth. And it’s never too early to be that reflection of God’s love for someone else. Feeling excited and renewed!

  • Shirley Burkenpas

    …and may we truly realize He lives' within us …My God is Awesome…never leaving His Own…Rejoice!

  • Shirley Burkenpas

    I have struggled all my life in 'performance'…understanding this now has opened an entirely new life with me. Careful as to 'not allow' the earthly views to pollute my heart, these "Living Words" keep me straight. You can not hide, nor truly would you want to hide from Our Truly "All Knowing as you are, Lord God"… as you are…hum…that mean's all of us, as we are..The Master of Love will love us, teach us, and guide us, if only we are real with HIM and ourselves..Thanking and Praising God for His Loving acceptance & Loving Presence with us…May we be Blessed in His Love.

  • Absolutely loved this study. 1 John 4:19 is one of my favourite verses and is currently my lock screen. I've read 1 Corinthians 13:12 many times before, but never took it in, until today. "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." What this means to me is that we see God's love reflected in His Son which is reflected in us to others, and one day (can't wait for that day!) we will see and experience this love face to face with the Lord Himself! That spoke volumes to me and it's so deep. I just thank God for His unfailing love towards us every day, even though we may not always love ourselves or others may not love us. This unconditional love is just so amazing. One text that also comes to mind is Romans 5:8: "BUT GOD demonstrates his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Oh, what a joy to be loved by God!

    Sisters, can you pray for my mom and I? We have been struggling through major financial difficulties with added stress and anxiety and she feels like giving up. She says she doesn't feel God and doesn't know what to pray for anymore :(. It hurts to hear these things because there's only so much I can say.

  • Heather Sandifer

    I am so excited to be studying the fruits of the Spirit with you all!!! Today’s devotional was great and made me think. Here’s my take on love. Humans want to be loved. We are all on the same journey, to find love. It’s good to know that we’re not traveling alone. There are different rest stops along the way, but the only perfect love that we will ever know is the love of God. His love was made tangible. Jesus left His father’s side and the comforts of heaven. He was born as an helpless, as we all were. He lived a sinless life. He was unjustly sentenced to death and crucified. He defeated sin and death when he rose in the third day! He endured all of this to put His father’s plan into action. He is standing to bridge the gap that is keeping us from experiencing God’s love. The gap caused by our sin. He has paid the debt that we owe. We are allowed to enter God’s presence because of His sacrifice! In the end, we will hear Him say, “my child” and be welcomed into His presence forever!! When we are loved like this, there isn’t a reason good enough for us to give for not offering this same love to EVERY human that we come in contact with. We might say, “It’s too hard.” We would not be wrong. It is too hard for any of us to do in our own strength! That’s why this type of love is a GIFT from a perfect God. He is the only one that could do it out of His own strength. This type of love, that all Christian’s are called to, is a fruit that grows from the GIFT of the Holy Spirit that we receive when we accept the GIFT of God’s love for us. Remember gifts are not something we work really hard to get. The same notion applies in this case. We don’t work to receive God’s love! We work to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit when we are faced with the decision to love in the hardest times or to hate, as all selfish human hearts would naturally do, when we’ve been wronged! These are the choices we are faced with. The choices that lead to love are the sun and water that cause the fruit to grow in the soil of our hearts as God is changing it from a heart of stone, full of sinful, selfish desires, to a heart of flesh, fertile soil in which the fruits of the Spirit grow and thrive! I love you all. Let’s not become weary fighting the good fight for the fertility of our hearts! Let’s love each other, every human (image bearer), even during the toughest times, and finish this race strong!

  • Emily Caroline

    Sometimes it's easier to love those who aren't closest to us. The ones that we see battling something. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed that the ones around us all the time are the ones that take the hardest attitude I have. Lord, please help me change that. I think of 1 John 4:19 when I think of my husband because we put that verse on our wedding invitations 5 years ago this month. But, instead of thinking of wedding invitations, I pray God would use this time to reach my heart with that message and really show me how to love him even more with the amazing example of Jesus. Help me to be more like you, Lord. Help me to love those closest to me, and to not overlook those whom I love most. In Jesus' name.

  • Jenny Raymond

    My life verse is 1 Corinthians 14:1a, just the super short little phrase “Pursue love”. 1 John 4:8 says “God is love”. So, to pursue love is to pursue Him. I can’t begin to count the numerous times that this little verse has saved my marriage or given me direction in tough times. It’s never included with the 13th chapter, and while I get that to some degree, I just today noticed something else.
    The chapter 13 on love, a FRUIT, comes in the middle of several chapters on GIFTS. Faith seems to be both a gift and a fruit, hope isn’t listed as either in the few places I looked today (it’s probably somewhere), but love is a characteristic of God. The rest of 14:1 speaks of earnestly desiring the GIFTS, but that the more important thing is that love. The rest of 14 talks about the gifts (specifically tongues and prophecy)
    and contrasts using them with love for the edification of the church and proclamation of the gospel or with selfishness and (what I read as) pride that returns empty.
    I guess that kinda’ rambles, but it really stood out since I’ve been reading here as part of the 365 plan as well. I love when God shows me new depth and angles of His word.

    • Jules

      Yes, this!!!! Jenny, you spoke of what I’m processing without the Spirit this morning. We are called to love ourselves and love others because God first loves us. But, as we all know is deep down, I cannot manufacture love for other by sheer will. I cannot just push through and love past the hurts and wounds no matter how convinced I am that I ought or should. The heart doesn’t work like that.

      So what’s the key to loving genuinely those I cannot naturally love? Pursuing God and growing my love and affection for Him. This is the “abiding in Him” piece of the puzzle. As I proclaim and grow my affection for Him in worship, deepen my relational intimacy with Him in prayer, as I seek His face in His word, my love for Him grows. As my love for Him grows, love for myself and others is conceived in me by His Spirit. He gives me love for others I cannot produce on my own. Love for others is born out of our love and relationship with the Lord. It’s a seed planted by Him and jointly watered by His Spirit and our affection for Him. The miracle gift of love we can then give to ourselves to and others is the fruit, the offspring, of His work in our hearts. We give what we have received from Him through loving Him ardently.

      • Shirley

        Jules, thank you for sharing your insight. It has spoken to me true and deep, inspired and just what I needed. I’m struggling with a co-worker that I’ve not been able to force myself to love as I know God would. I haven’t been able to get answers. You are so right, I cannot by my own determination. By only strengthening my relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit that lives in me and teaches me will such a love for this person ever come about. Praise God for the words He has spoken through you and the Spirit that has made them come alive to me. Bless you!

  • I attended my first drag show with my gay co-worker last Saturday . Talk about a lesson in Loving. God convicted me so deeply as I watched an entire community of His creation struggle to express how difficult it is to find anyone to love him/her/they. People are killing themselves because they do not know how much God loves them, no matter what humans say about them! If I believe that a man with a dress on is not created in God’s image but I am ….then my faith is fake. Lord let me love like you love,let me love ALL of your creation because you first loved them!

    • Kenesha

      Amy, it's interesting that you say this. Last week at church, we were discussing how we as Christians should show love to gays and lesbians. I have gay friends and this is a struggle for me sometimes. We looked at John 8:1-11, the story of the woman caught in adultery. The main concept was not judging others because they "sin differently", but the same concept of love can be applied here. Looking at what you've said, we need to learn to love them just as God does because they are part of His creation and He loves them also.

  • ashleyrose

    This is one of my all-time favorite verses. 1 John 4:19, "We love because he first loved us." It is my life theme. Love first. Yes, we love as a response to his love as we say he loved us first chronologically. I also like to think of it as he loved us first, as in he loved us before he even had a reason to. He loved us before we decided to love him. He loved us before we were born, before we chose him, before we started to live for him. He loved us before there was reason. To apply this to my life, I think of how I should love others in this same way. Christ's love compels us to BE loved and to LOVE without reason. To love without expecting anything in return. To love before someone makes it easy for us to love them. To love when we don't receive love in return. That is truly what it means to love the way Christ loved. And even if there is never a return or a "reason," we keep loving because of the love of Christ in us. Such a beautiful example. Blessings ladies on this beautiful Tuesday morning!

  • You (insert me) must believe God loves you 1 John 4:16. Feelings are fleeting, it is at my very core that I must believe this. When I walk in this truth, this abiding, my trust in God is strengthened…it's part of the glue that will take me to the end — free of fear on the day judgment (v17). And with this belief, I will love others not based on how I feel, but rather as my spiritual act of worship because the love is really coming from God (v7).

    1 John 4:8 is a hard truth and I should be using this as a check and balance daily.

  • Amber_Ps139

    When I look to the law, I see my shortcomings. The checklist of patient, kind, etc. is not what I am. I know striving to do better, work harder, does not produce the fruit of the Spirit. Being filed with the Spirit does. Fruit is not fashioned, it’s not forced, it’s not foraged–it flows.

  • Let us not forget the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The tax collector beats his chest as he feels the weight of his sin. He couldn’t even lift his head to the Father. He declared “I’m not worthy!” And JESUS said this man walked away, forgiven and justified. I think we need to start with feeling the weight of our sin and acknowledge that, we in fact, aren’t worthy of Him. This is what has, over and over again, helped me understand His massive unconditional love for me. His love is not based on how I perform or what I do right or wrong. But knowing His love for me is what has enabled me to love others.

  • Oh how this devotion screamed at me!! I had a pastor one time say to see how well you are loving put you name in the verse instead of love.. Becky is kind becky is patient…I have some work to do.

  • Pam Kirven

    Loved this devotion more than blueberries !!! Great analogy!

  • Sarah_Joy

    I read yesterday's post and today's this morning. Struggling with how I often strive thinking that I'll feel more loved if I perform. I think growing up in a big family I tended to think I needed to DO something to stand out in the crowd (even though I had my parents' love always).

    I know in my head that God loves me, but my heart sometimes doubts. Being an emotional person I often rely on a feeling to know I'm loved. Life is full of distractions, and I don't live in the emotional high every moment (and probably shouldn't). How do I hold onto His love even when I don't feel it?How do I rest in His love when I think I'm unworthy? How do I stay my mind on Christ when I'm thinking about my responsibilities as mom of littles and wife?

    • Maya

      I’m right there with you Sarah_Joy… Anyone with some advice for us?

    • Missy

      I´m with you guys. I think since becoming a wife and mom I´ve begun to cling to God´s promises differently.

      One in particular led me to look at the fruit of the spirit. I picked out 4 that I struggle most with (love, joy, patience, and gentleness), and pray through them each morning. While it´s incredibly frustrating to feel myself writing down confessions of the same sins day after day, I look at the promise in Phillippians 1:6… "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

      It gives me that feeling that Katilin referenced when thinking about heaven, that I just want to jump for joy knowing that I can obey and seek (as we should!), but HE will bring this work in me to completion.

  • Shannon H

    Sweetdes, my heart aches for yours this morning. As I was reading your post, I first wanted to hug you, and then just share with you that, and I know you know this, even in the midst of this hard in you and your husbands lives, God is good and His heart toward you is always good. As a friend said recently who passed away from breast cancer “hard is not the absence of God’s goodness.” So as you carry this heavy burden, I am praying that you will deeply know God’s goodness and grace in your life, that you will be able to know and trust His character and His promises, taking comfort in that he himself is well acquainted with grief and suffering and that you are not alone in your journey, but he is with you and will never leave nor forsake you, even when the “feeling” isn’t there. Praying for your hurting heart this morning!!

    Btw…a phenomenal and encouraging book about suffering is called “the hardest peace” by Kara Tippetts. It speaks to your struggle directly!

    • sweetdes2014

      Thank you for the quote, "Hard is not the absence of God's goodness." That's so good to know! Also thanks for the suggested book. I will check it out.

  • Lately I have struggled to love others. What has come so naturally in the past has become the hardest thing for me to do. I love my family but anyone outside these walls suddenly had become an enemy of sorts. It’s difficult to see your child hurt and that is where it has all stemmed from. My middle school daughter had stuggled with friendships this year. Friends she has had since 2nd grade suddenly changed and thought they were “too cool”. She joined the band, while others joined athletics and the phrase Band Nerd was thrown out. This was so confusing and hurtful to her. Invites to sleep overs were turned down, texts messages went un-replied, and I got to watch my broken hearted girl try to make sense of what was going on. We prayed together for her friends and I told her that she did not have permission to be ugly, she had to be nice and show Jesus no matter what. Even as I said these words, my heart felt ugliness. She was being so nice and sweet but I could barely look at these girls, worse yet, I shut off some of their moms. In my mind they should have known what was going on, should have seen that all of a sudden my daughter wasn’t on the birthday party guest list and asked what was going on! I was being 2 faced! Telling her to be kind, that we had to show Jesus, when I had to bite my tongue to keep my thoughts to myself! How ridiculous of me! Yes, I know this is middle school drama that will pass with maturity but I saw it as plain mean, as an attack. Reading this passage I am convicted and struck by my sin. What I was telling my girl to do, love those girls, was the answer for me as well! God expects her to love but He expects that of me even more because I am her example!! I am praying for an extra dose of love for others today, and a heaping dose of love for those who are unlovable. Will you pray for me too?

    • Michelle

      Carie, I feel your pain. Nothing hurts me deeper than to see my child hurt…I will pray for you and hope your daughter has made even better friends in band! Both of my boys are band geeks and I couldn't ask for a better group of kids! Maybe this was God's plan all along so she could make some true friends and not superficial….sending prayers and hugs…xoxo Michelle

      • Carie

        Michelle, thank you. I hesitated to write out my thoughts, but I have learned that being transparent is the only way to be free and it helps others. She has found new friends in band. They are very sweet girls! The funny thing is that she tried out for and made the cross country team this past week! So I guess she will be a Band Nerd with an athletic side! Haha! She has finally come to the realization this week that those friends may mature and realize that she is still the same girl she was before she played the flute and twirled the flag for colorguard or they may not. But whatever the outcome she will be proud she held her head high and honored the Lord with her actions.

    • Christina D.

      Carie I read your comment and have had tears flowing. I have an 11 month old daughter (my first) and reading your comment I literally felt your feelings. I’ve only been a mom for 11 months but the thought of watching someone cause pain to my sweet daughter is devastating! I read every word and thought “yes! Of course she has a right to be angry! They really are two faced!” But alas, through your experience I have felt the conviction as well. Thank you for courageously sharing your thoughts as it has been a lesson for me and I truly believe one that has been indelibly marked on my heart. I know without doubt there will be difficult times ahead when I have to see my child experience hurts but I pray that your words will come to mind and remind me to set an example by loving first and encouraging my daughter to do the same.

  • As I blunder through what love looks like here and how to do it well, I am so grateful for the reminder that know we only know in part, but will one day know fully, and we will see His face! Great reminders of what love is/is not in that most popular of chapters, and that we do not do it on our own strength, but out of the strength of Him who gave us the free gift of love which cost Him everything. That is what helps me to fight to love my family/friends/others well.

  • Rae Lynn

    I love these verses so much. Without love, everything I do is pointless. Love is the center of it, of my life. It comes to me from God, expressed through Jesus. He loves me fully even when I act bad, make wrong choices, am self centered and impatient. Because of his love I can give that same love to others. I can use my “heavenly lens” to be patient and show love. Loving Jesus has made such a difference in my life, in the way I treat others, in my complaining and dwelling on negativity, and in my ability to be patient. Oh, I still do those things just not as often and not without regret. The root of my change is LOVE!

  • sweetdes2014

    I appreciate Kelly's question of how do we love Him more. I really love the Lord and I try through obedience and sacrifice to show Him. My question is how do I continue to believe He loves me as I go through this trial, this heavy load I'm going through. I know He sacrificed His son for me and oh how I'm grateful for salvation. But seeing my husband go through this sickness day after day, crisis after crisis, I want to scream, "Hey, don't you still love us!" I'm in the Word of God trying to stay encouraged. But this one is hard. My head says I know He loves us….but my heart is hurting.

    • Shannon H

      Sweetdes, I replied to you in a separate post, I meant to do it here….sorry about that!

    • ~ B ~

      Oh, I will be prayerful over you today. The head and heart sometimes seem to be so conflicting of one another, which just leaves me thankful for the Holy Spirit in us. I don't have the answers for you. I know that God doesn't want you left feeling He isn't with you, that He doesn't grieve this process with you because He absolutely does. I know that I lack adequate words for you this morning, but I will tell you I thought immediately of Tina today. Her comment for this reading is a few above yours and let me tell you, she would be a great person to connect with in this and I am sure can share with you how she felt God in her daughter's illness. Sweetdess, I will be praying that God bring you closer to Him than ever in this. That you know with your every ounce that He IS with you holding your hand and your husband's as you walk this path. That He absolutely does still love you and that He doesn't wish this for you. He knows your heart and He knows your words and feelings before you even utter them. He didn't want sickness or pain in this world, it wasn't His design. He, without a doubt, aches for and with you in this. ~ B

      • sweetdes2014

        Thank you so much for your prayers and your encouraging words.

    • tina

      Sweetdes,
      I am sorry for your hurting…my heart aches with your aching….it has never been easy to watch a loved one in pain…suffering…we break, our hearts break and hurt for them as you have said….
      Can I say, my dear Sister, God absolutely loves you and your husband…PLEASE believe that…He has not forgotten you, He has not forsaken you,,and He for sure, without a doubt, walks with you through this trial…Praying for His presence to be known and felt by you…for His peace to rest over you, and His love to surround you both…this is not a great season to be in, But God IS in it with you…remember Shadrach, Meshach, and A bed-Nego in the furnace….they were not alone…God was with them, pacing around the furnace…God paces now with you Sweetdes….hold out your hand to Him, hold fast to Him…rest in Him, know His peace…
      Sending you a hug and love, dear heart, and will continue to hold you both up in prayer….xxxx

      • sweetdes2014

        Thank you for the reminder, that even in the fire God will be with you!

    • tina

      Sweetdes, as I prayed this song came to mind…
      All who are thirsty
      All who are weak
      Just come to the fountain
      Dip your heart in the stream of life
      Let the pain and the sorrow
      Be washed away
      In the waves of His mercy
      As the deep cries out to deep, we sing…

      Come, Lord Jesus come
      Come, Lord Jesus come
      Come, Lord Jesus come
      Come, Lord Jesus come
      Yes, Lord Jesus come, come and be with Sweetdes and her family….take away their fears, and replace it with your love, your light in this otherwise dark place…come Lord Jesus come…Amen..xxxx

  • God is love. Love never fails.
    These words encompass everything. Yet God is so good to give us a whole book on His relentless love for us.
    Lord, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for your perfect, gracious love.

    • ~ B ~

      God is love and love never fails! THAT brings about so much peace! God is so good, it IS overwhelming! ~ B

  • Praying “to know him and love him more” everyday changed my life. The more you know him, the more you love him and can in return love others. Press on- read his word, pray, meditate on him, expect and intentionally seek ways to be his hands and feet. Let him allow you to be heavenly focused, filled with HOPE and not consumed with the battles of the world -that have already been won –
    Trusting him- even with the small things that we feel are too little to mention for his care.
    His love for us is perfect- I’m sure in my human mind, I can’t comprehend exactly just how perfect.
    Thankful for SRT!

  • Kendall_S

    praying this morning that His love will rule and reign

    without a rival

    in my life, words, actions and thoughts

    thank you Father for reminding us what true love is. amen.

  • Can’t wait for this love to be fully realized – and it will be! Beautiful, Kaitlin – as usual! Thanks, Sister!

  • Kelly_Smith

    "The type of love we are given…" The wording here took my breath. Yesterday I confessed my struggle with trying to DO the fruit instead of simply ABIDING. Did you notice the word abiding sprinkled through our reading today? This perfect, sacrificial love that we are to show to others is not something we can manufacture on our own. It is *given* to us.

    Jesus said, "A new command I give you, to love one another." This command itself was not new. What is new about this command is the way we are to love (sacrificially, as Christ loved us) and how we love (through the power of the Holy Spirit). You can see the fingerprints of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 13. You certainly see the sacrificial love there. There is nothing said here of reciprocal love or merited love. It is pure, unearned, sacrifical, Spirit-filled, God-given love. It is contrary to our selfish human nature to love like this. That is where the abiding comes in (1 John 4:12-16). It is not achieved through more work, through a checklist of "if you love me you will…" Conditional love is full of demands and consequences (1 John 4:18). Perfect love casts out all fear. It is a resting, snuggle in close, just be with me kind of love. It is the love I have been given and the love I desire to give to others.

  • This passage in 1 Corinthians has been a huge help to me over the years. In a season when I was struggling with so much around me, especially one person in particular in my life …. I was told to memorize this verse and replace the word love with my own name so it would read, "Betsy is patient and kind; Betsy does not envy or boast; she is not arrogant or rude; she does not insist on her own way; she is not irritable or resentful"…. You get the idea. Moving forward, when I would face a challenging situation I would recite this in my head. I would receive strength immediately from and be reminded of God's amazing love of me, as well as, being reminded of how I am to treat others, in ALL things. It was, and still is, a fantastic way to center myself in love. To draw closer to what God has for me as I move in Him….not my own accord. I, too, look forward to the "face to face", our great going home. The kind of love that would gift us this has me overwhelmed daily. ~ B

    • sloane

      That's awesome. I will totally use this. Thank you for sharing!!

    • MNmomma (heather)

      I just read an article about subbing your name in – and loved it. It also included a part about relationships – and I shared with my boys – can they substitute their girl's name in (and their own)? It is truly awesome!

      • ~ B ~

        That is an awesome way to use this. I need to share the approach with my kiddos. It had never occurred to me. Thanks Heather! ~ B

    • Elisha

      Our pastor suggested we do that exercise just this Sunday. I'm sure that it is no accident that it comes up again. I should use it as a mantra and pray that it would be my epitaph.

      • ~ B ~

        I love how God intertwines messages He really wants to drive home. It should be a mantra for all of us! ~ B

    • Kimberly

      Thank you so much for sharing this ,B! I really needed to hear it today. I have a couple relationships that I feel like I take one step forward then 5 steps back. Like I gain ground then get set back to square one. Its hurtful but also good for growing. I needed this scripture and devo today.

      • ~ B ~

        Kimberly do I understand what you speak. It's so hard to always feel like you're moving backwards with someone. I hope this helps you in that process, I know it really did/does for me! ~B

    • Candacejo

      LOVE!! I have done that with other verses and it is powerful. Thanks for the reminder B. ♥

  • We love because He first loved us…
    I could speak on, and argue for, Love for ages….It is one of my favourite words ….side by side with Hope

    When I was younger, much much younger than I am now, I love to read love stories, ah, give me a book on romance, and I was lost for days….dreaming, imagining, planning…my heart would be racing, my fingers eager to turn the page to be closer to what I hoped would be a happy ending…I was lost in Love…., as they say….literally….
    Happy days, or is it 'daze' for my young, carefree and inexperienced mind….cos let's face it…I had to grow up, and love came in all shapes and sizes…it wasn't as straightforward as I had read, or imagined, there was, it seemed always to be a price….you do for me…I give to you -mentality…….I have travelled a long and rocky road, to get to here and to the Love I NOW understand, to be LOVE…this Love allows me to be who I am, without wondering …what are they after, it allows me to show Love,…to all, NOT always easy, But,.. because I have known the Love of the Father, who first loved me, who formed me in my mother's womb, …through Whom I am fearfully and wonderfully made…no matter how I feel or look, who chose me to be His daughter…….but here's the thing…I do not take this LOVE for granted, though I receive it, I must give it out, share, if you like, to have such a love and keep to one's self…I believe, would be a tragedy…a wrong doing…a mistake…
    1Corinthians 13….is beautiful…it is a great guideline for how to love and honour God…verse 11-12 puts it into perspective for me…'when I was a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became man ( when I grew up, when I began my walk with God, when I gave my life to Jesus), I put away, childish things…..Now I know in part, but THEN I shall know, just as I also am known…'
    I am known, have been known and continue to be known by One who has loved, continues to love, and will love me for always…Amen…For that my heart sings…Thank you Lord God, thank you…x

    Kaitlin, Thank you…beautifully written, in a language I understand…Love you…

    Happy Tuesday!!!!! Sending out a whole heap of love to ALL corners of the globe…wherever you are my sister, receive…God bless you..

  • Kelly Lynn

    Also, I wanted to say I LOVE the line about pancakes. Growing up we never said “I love you” in my house, which was always super weird to me. I love reading stories about people who do. It warms my heart!

    • ~ B ~

      You may have just uncovered a bit of your heart issue Kelly Lynn. My father, although we were close, never said those words until I was an adult. I'm not sure why and I know he loved me, but I believed that it subconsciously caused me to strive, to accept less in relationship with others. I know it was not intentional and he had his own burdens to slay … but that generation, my father, was a private man….and I know that changed me. Maybe it's a bit the same for you….maybe you fear, because of any lack of hearing love. It is a phrase so miss-used in this world, but when left out completely, it too can change us and mold us. ~ B

    • SteppingHeavenward

      Kelly, I LOVED that line too! We never said those three simple yet powerful words growing up in my house. My youngest sibling (many years younger than myself) is now growing up in the similar way, but God has used what I feel like I was missing to spur me to NOT let it happen to my brother. There is still, every now and then, an aching and longing for what wasn't said. But as I look back and look at my current state in life, I see that God has so lovingly been pursuing me by keeping me in His grace and through His Word He tells me over and over that HE loves me and no one/nothing can separate me from His perfect love! And the same is true for all of us!
      I think that maybe God is using this ability to see how imperfect our life is here on earth to then yearn for His glory in heaven where we will finally see Him fully, see His love for us perfectly. And so, dear sister, I pray God continues to suffice our hearts with His love so much that it begins spilling out to those around us and it compels us to utter those 3 words which we have longed for…I love you!

    • crownoflaurels2014

      Kelly Lynn, what you said reminded me SO much of my mom. I just wanted you to know that I prayed for you this morning – that the Holy Spirit would surround you, your heart and your mind, because he is our Comforter and our Advocate! He is Jesus' representative, and Jesus knows you fully. He is interceding for you, and I fully believe that God will honor your desire to love Him more, for fear to be cast out, and for your heart to leap when you think of Home. Those are His desires, too!

      Praise God you have the SRT community, but I also prayed that you would find a Gospel-centered community you can meet with regularly in person, if you haven't already. There is nothing else like being in fellowship with other followers of Christ, because when we are, love is shown to us and love is spoken over us because we are his body, which is so full of HIS love! (Remember also the text reference to 1 John 4. Verse 12 says that when we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.)

      I also really, really encourage you to read Hebrews 10:19-25!

      And thank you so much for your vulnerability in revealing your heart and asking that question. I'm sure you brought comfort to others who are going through the same or similar kind of struggle, and made them aware that they're not alone.

      We love you so much, Kelly Lynn!

  • Kelly Lynn

    This might be an insane question, but how can we love God more? I struggle with the concept of love. I truly feel like I don’t love him enough. You talk about your heart leaping out of your chest when you think of Heaven and I don’t have that… but I WANT that. I think a lot of it has to do with my anxiety. I try to picture God and Heaven but I’m so fearful that I don’t find it comforting. I feel like because of this I don’t love God enough. Almost like I need to have these big feelings inside of me in order to get into Heaven and I’m coming up short.

    That might not make a lot of sense.. basically, how can I show God I love him more and fear him less?

    • Elise

      Kelly, first of all: God’s love is unconditional. Nothing you could ever do would make Him love you more or less. His love is perfect. God is love! That sounds crazy and it is, but that is the truth about our awesome God. Knowing and believing this is the first step for us to love Him back. Because if I cannot accept His love and sacrifice for me, it will make me feel guilty that He had to go through all that pain for me. But that is the point! God wanted to give His only Son. God wanted to pay the ultimate price. Why? Because He “so loved the world,” He loves us so so much! It is so simple and yet we try to make it complicated. That’s humanity for you ;) But you can ask God for more revelation of what this means for you. Read God’s Word and dig deeper to understand what God has done for you. Because once you realize that you won’t even know what to do with all the love and praise you have for God! :) there’s no striving…all you have to do is believe.

    • ~ B ~

      Morning Kelly Lynn….. just like everything else, there are so many levels in our faith. Knowing that you want to feel "your heart leap" and be moved in a bigger way is a huge place to start. You are saying to God "I want more of you". Keep your heart in this place and He will reveal Himself to you. I know it doesn't feel like much, but this has you headed in a great direction to connect with God. ~ B

    • Laura

      Morning Kelly! First off, I just want to say that my story includes lots of anxiety as well (with lots of confusion about performance to earn love as well). Your heart to love God more is so beautiful, but you definitely don’t need to worry about feeling huge feelings as a prerequisite of heaven. I agree with Elise that love Him just begins with knowing Him. Opening up your heart and mind to the INSANE, illogical (to us) unconditional love that He for you. Fixing your eyes on all of His character through the lens of His crazy love for you: He is holy, almighty, sovereign, just, GOOD (may I suggest seriously dwelling on that one over and over and over). Bottom line? Our love for Him is only EVER a response to His love for us. It’s not something we drum up or produce from within ourselves. There’s this Piper quote I’ll always remember (though I don’t remember where it’s from exactly) and I believe he was talking about spiritual discipline but he basically said, “do whatever it takes to get your heart happy in God.” Is there a song that helps you EXPERIENCE God’s love for you? Listen to it. Dance to it! Does nature help you feel how intricately you are made and intimately you are loved? Go out and bask in it. Scripture is full of these amazing statements about God delighting in us and His heart to do us good – dwell on these. I grew up thinking that God’s love for us was somehow secondary to other things, but His love for us is so central. And when we abide in His love, when we know Him as our dear friend/lover/father/mother/brother/shepherd/shelter/living water/etc THEN we love Him and delight to live for His will to be done and His name and renown (because He’s so darn good, we know others need His love so desperately too). Have fun being loved, dear sister!

      • Beverly

        Our love is a response to His love. Yes! Thanks for these thoughts, Laura!

      • MNmomma (heather)

        Thank you for this Laura…..this really hit me this morning!

      • Sarah_Joy

        Need to find ways to connect to God. Definitely going to try using something out of your list. Thanks!

      • Angela

        Laura, your thoughts here became part of my prayer this morning, that I will be able to know, truly know, the Father's love for me. Thank you so much for allowing the Spirit to speak through you.

      • Debbie

        Laura your words are an incredible blessing for me in this day! and Kelly Lynn, may God bless you. Your question is what has been on my heart for so long.

    • sloane

      Kelly Lynn-
      I have felt this. A quote from Tim Keller really helped me understand that amazing concept that you can't EARN your way into Heaven. He said " "Christians are not saved by obeying God. And yet true salvation will lead to obeying God, out of gratitude". I have so many doubts and questions in my faith and I try to meet them head on, learn from them, allow them to deepen my faith, and move on to the next one:) I think the verse from Corinthians is so telling too… YOU are already fully known. The good, bad, and ugly. God knows all of that and loves you despite them (such a hard thing to accept because human beings are terrible at this!) It is us who must spend time (forever probably) learning to know HIM. It's a journey. You're doing great.

    • Beverly

      Meet with Him. Talk with Him. Whether casting your anxieties on Him or being reminded of Him and praising Him for a beautiful sunset. From a long lament to a simple “Thank you, Lord.” Both are expressions of love – trusting Him with your cares or thanking Him for His creation.
      I love how the first verse about love is that it is patient. God is love and knowing firstly that He is patient warms my heart. He patiently waits for us to turn to Him. None of us is perfect so don’t feel like you need to compare. God wants your heart and He is patient as you bring it to Him.
      Love drives out fear. This is a promise.
      Saying a prayer for you, Kelly Lynn. God is SO much bigger than our anxieties and fears. Praying you find rest in who He is and His great love for you.

      • Angela

        Beverly, you just gave me such insight! I have spent my whole life saying "God loves me, God is love," but not truly believing it. In fact, the list in 1 Corinthians which tells us what love is? I always read this as my to do list. If I am a good, loving Christian, I will do these things, of my own power, and if I fail (which I always do), I'm clearly not good enough, and God is disappointed…he knew I would fall again. But what you said, Beverly, about God being those things on the Love list? Patient, kind, long suffering? I literally never saw that before. If He is Love, then He is patient with me. He is kind to me. He rejoices in my choosing the right. He is NOT impatient, angry, holding grudges. He cannot be, because that's the opposite of Love. I've been seeing God in reverse my whole life! Huge, huge shift today. Thank you!

        • Kimberly

          Angela, I praised God when I read your post, because you got it! And Kelly Lynn as you continue to seek His Word, and the Holy Spirit takes The Word of God and imparts that understanding to your heart, you will get it too! It is God's desire for you to get how he truly loves you just as your are. Keep asking, seeking and knocking beloved. It is your Heavenly Father's great desire for you to be secure in His love for you because it is from that place that we are free to love others as He has loved us. It is from that place that our love for Him overflows back to Him.

    • Laura

      Kelly,
      An amazing truth that God in his mercy has graciously impressed upon my heart more and more over the past year is this….
      We who are in Christ, are wrapped up in HIS perfect righteousness. Everything we fail at, Christ did perfectly for us! When God our father looks upon us, he sees his son Jesus! His perfect submission and sinless perfection. He's crazy in love with his son, and that makes him crazy in love with YOU!!! Now doesn't that just give you reason to love and praise him! And to give you perfect peace and joy!
      And one more thing, Romans 12:3 tells us that God is sovereign over the measure of faith that he has given to each one of us. REST in that knowledge Kelly. Don't compare your faith to others, you are exactly where God has you now. Never lose heart, because "He who began a good work in you, WILL see it to completion." And that's a promise!!!

    • Rebecca

      We have not because we ask not. Sk the Lord to grow your love for him. He will answer that prayer yes, but be warned that it will come through trials and pain. I was in your shoes a few years ago and asked the Lord to grow my faith and love for Him, and he did, but it's been a painful road. Our hearts leap at the thought of heaven when we are sin-sick and weary of the world.

  • Daliacristina

    It’s so hard for me to view my husband through this “heavenly lens” right now. It’s so hard not to be mad and angry.

    • ~ B ~

      I've been there so many times in the past, just try to remember who the enemy really is and I assure you, despite all things, it's not your husband. Prayerful, Daliacristina, that God's peace washes over you today. ~ B

    • churchmouse

      Isn’t this where the rubber hits the road?! Trying to love the difficult ones in our life is a challenge, even if they are only temporarily difficult. And the chronically difficult… Sometimes I don’t think I can do it! Then I realize I have the Holy Spirit within me and He is powerful! I’m able to love because He helps me do so. Daily I pray for Him to take over my words and actions so at least outwardly I’m loving. The emotions and feelings come later. And that’s ok. I’m called to obediently love. Not easy for sure. I’m praying for you today. Praying that you tap into the Holy Spirit for strength and resolve. And I pray that God would move in your husband’s heart, that you two would be of one heart and mind in your marriage.

    • Jessi

      Praying that love, peace, and patience would flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit and that He would help you see and love your husband with Christ’s love when it’s hard (impossible) to do it in your own strength!

    • MNmomma (heather)

      prayers lifted this morning!

    • Frances

      Dear Daliacristina, we do not know the details of your situation. You may have good reason to be mad and angry. There is such a thing as righteous indignation, anger towards that which is evil. IF you are being abused by your husband, please seek some help and keep praying. God is love and therefore does not want either your husband to be abusive or you to be abused. Love and blessings. Take care.

    • Amy

      It’s so hard when people we love hurt us and give us a reason to feel like we can’t love them. Jesus has clothed us in the Holy Spirit and given us His eyes. I pray you are able to see your husband as God does and Jesus would mend the broken places. Nothing is too far gone that He can’t repair it. Hold tight to His love ❤️

  • carlybenson

    I love these descriptions of love- "an earthly display of eternal perfection" and "viewing others through a heavenly lens." I guess it's seeing ourselves as God sees us and understanding the love God has for us, and if we truly get that it overflows into love for others and frees us up to love them however they respond. It also strikes me from reading the list in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 that if we love we're also developing peace, patience, kindness etc.

  • Candacejo

    "His love for us fuels our love of others while we await our great going Home." <–I loved this! That truly is what it is all about. He loved me, I love Him back, receive HIS love as the Holy Spirit abiding in me every day and then I EXTEND that love to others unselfishly and abundantly. It is truly the reason we live.

    The Gospel, The Good News, living it out every day for all the world to see and be able to know this Jesus, to be fully known and someday we will no longer just "know in part"….all things will be revealed in that heavenly home.

    Wow. I mumbled and stumbled to get to that but it made sense to me. :) So thankful for the HOPE that abides within us for a fulfilled life HERE and a future one with Jesus Christ our Savior.

    Be blessed all my dear friends around the world. ♥

  • Hannah, I am right there with you. Lately I have been feeling a lack of love and understanding from those that I love the most. The verse that he knows us so well and loves us and that we can love others because his love is so powerful. It will give me fuel to be patient and gentle with others, with the thought that I am receiving that love back. I will love the way I want to be loved because I am already perfectly loved by God. Wow.

  • I was just thinking about this verse from I Cor. 13 today…I felt so misunderstood most of my life, and the assurance that I'm fully known fueled my journey for years. Honestly that's what kept me going. God fully knows me, and He's teaching me to know Him, know myself and know the people He's placed in my life. Now helping other people know Him better is one if my greatest delights.

    • Beverly

      Being fully known by God. This has been rooting in my heart, as well. Any shame or guilt I might feel just doesn’t matter when God fully knows me and loves me still. Thanks for sharing, Hannah!

      • Destinique Brown

        That was exactly what hit me like a ton of bricks too! It is a very simple but powerful realization!

    • jennifer

      wow, this is beautiful and so life changing. what a fantastic and beautiful truth! thank you!

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