In Galatians 5: 19-23 we read, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Everywhere we turn we find evidence of the "works of the flesh" found in verses 19-20. However, I am convinced what we need most in our world today, in our churches, in our homes and in our personal lives is a great outpouring of "Agape" love. It is not an accident that God put love at the top of the list of the "fruit of the Spirit" in verse 22-23, because when this love is present, everything else has the greatest potential to fall into place.
How can we get this love in our lives? By finding out how much God really loves us. In 1 John 4:8-10 we read, "… for God is love. (9) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his SON to be the propitiation for our sins." And in verse 19 we read, "We love him, because he first loved us." Then in Jeremiah 31:3 we read, "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee."
When the Scottish teenager George Matheson learned he was losing his eyesight, he determined to finish his studies at the University of Glasgow as quickly as possible. His blindness overtook him while he pursued graduate studies for the Christian ministry, but his family rallied to his side. His sisters even learned Greek and Hebrew to help him with his assignments. The real blow came later. Upon hearing of his impending total blindness, his fiancée informed him, "I do not wish to be the wife of a blind preacher." George Matheson was devastated. Years later when he was a beloved pastor in Scotland, his sister became engaged, and the news opened old wounds in his heart. It is very possible the lingering memory of rejection from an earthly lover prompted George Matheson on the evening of June 6, 1882 to write the beautiful hymn, "O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go."
O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul on Thee;
I give Thee back the life love, that in Thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to Thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain that morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from Thee; I lay in dust life's glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red, life that shall endless be.
May God's blessing be upon you this week as you read and meditate on the first message from I Peter 3:15 “An Answer to Every Man.”
In His Amazing Grace,
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