I find a war inside myself that is much like the war that Paul describes in Romans 7. There is this ongoing constant war between my flesh and my Spirit. You see I long to be self-less. I want to be humble and think of others above myself. I want to love others more than I love myself. I want to be "dead and my life hid in Christ" (Colossians 3:3) I want to put to "death my earthly desires" (Col. 3:5) and "put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created Him" (Col. 3:10) and what I REALLY REALLY want to do is "above all things put on love, which is the bond of perfection" (Col. 3:14)
As much as I yearn and desire to be a living sacrifice, completely dead to self awareness and "Jessika desires", there is a war with my flesh. It's those thoughts that come that say, "but what about me?", "but I feel this way", "but I think this would be best", "but you don't understand how much I have worked for that", "but I prayed for that", "but I asked for that", "but I'm too tired for that", "but I really need that".... etc.
In 1 Cor. 13 we see this beautiful picture of what love is. It suffers long, it's patient, it's kind, it doesn't envy, it's not puffed up, it's not jealous, it's not easily provoked, it rejoices in truth, it thinks no evil... Wow do I love like that? It says before that verse that I can give all to the poor, I can be a martyr, but if I don't love, it profits NOTHING. In 1 Cor. 3 it says that man's deeds not built on a firm foundation will burn up. Any works not done on the firm foundation of the love of Jesus Christ will burn up and we will "suffer loss" of or as 1 Cor. 13 says "will profit nothing".
I'm reflecting on my love today. I do truly love and care about people, we all do, but do I love them with the love of God or with my own natural love? Love done in and of myself without the Holy Spirit is limited. Man's love has boundaries, it takes offense, it grows bitter, it can callous, it disappoints, in reality it's often selfish and manipulative. That is why we see so many marriages ending in divorce, because they are done in man's love and not the love of God.
The love of God is perfect, it is 1 Cor. 13 love. The love of man is what I can do in my own natural strength. I can care enough to do some good deeds, say some kind words, encourage you, help you out in a difficult situation, shell out a few bucks if you're struggling, give you some clothes, but if I do all of that without love, His love, it profits nothing. I think on that day that 1 Cor. 3:13 talks about when "the work of each one will become known" there will be a lot of good deeds "burned by fire" as the Bible says, "because each man's work will be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is". How often do I do works not out of love, but perhaps out of a sense of duty or selfish gain? Though those works may look good, and may even help some people, when tested by fire, they'll burn.
Real love KILLS selfishness. True love sent a perfect man to the cross for the sake of others, that's ultimate humility and ultimate self-lessness. That is our picture of real love. Most of you have read my blog, "Get Lower Still" and this morning I'm wondering, how low am I willing to go? How deep am I willing to love?
Deep, self-less, God love, will leave you vulnerable with man, but in sweet harmony with the Spirit.
To love "bearing all things", to love "seeking not your own", to love "suffering long", to love "envying not", to love "hoping all thing", to love "enduring all things".
This type of love only comes from knowing the Father. It comes from time spent with Him in fellowship, time in His Word, and a renewed mind. The renewed mind sees things the way God sees them rather than how our flesh sees them. The renewed mind knows it is better to love others than to love oneself. The renewed mind is directed by the Spirit and not the flesh, that's why the Word says, "do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the rewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God". Let me connect one thing for you to wrap up.
The renewed mind let's you prove what the perfect will of God is and the Word says in Col. 3:14 "put on love because it is the bond of perfection". Jesus said the greatest two commandments is to love God... and love others. So as you become renewed in your mind what do you think it's going to do? The renewed mind with the help of the Holy Spirit is going to teach you how to... love.
You're welcome to join me in a prayer that I've been praying as of late. Father I thank you that with the help of the Holy Spirit I present myself as a living sacrifice, that I am not conformed to this world, but I am transformed by the renewing of my mind, I thank you that I hear the Holy Spirit immediately as He guides me in all of my thoughts, speech, and actions. Please make my love for other believers and all people to grow and overflow as you make my heart strong, blameless, and holy. References Romans 12:1,2 ; John 14:26; 1 Thess. 3:12,13