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A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love…
This is love: not that we loved God but that He loved us…
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another,
God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”
--1 John 4:7-12

          There are ways that seem right to men, because men are flawed, and sinful.  These ways, especially religious ways, are completely off the mark, and lead people into all sorts of dangerous wastelands where they lose themselves in useless religious activity, or so-called good deeds that don’t come from God at all.
          But we have Christ, the love of God in human form, and He has become for us righteousness and holiness, and He makes us complete as we die to self and live to Him in greater and greater measure.
          This new life of Christ in us is marked by its abundance of love.  The first fruit of the Spirit of Christ in us is love.  Love for God, and love for others, which was the New Commandment given us by Jesus before His crucifixion.  There can be no other fruit without this first fruit. 
          If you have patience, but it is only the patience of dogged enduring stubbornness, and it isn’t the patience of loving, willing obedience to God’s will in difficult circumstances, then it isn’t Christ’s patience.  If you do kind things, but only to escape the wrath of God and earn other’s favor, then it isn’t the lovingkindness of God exhibited in the life of Christ.
          Our own fruits are the fruits of our own wills and decisions.  Our self can bear fruit that appears to some—especially those who don’t know us well—as worthy and admirable.  These are the religious fruits that impress the world, yet may have absolutely no worth in the Kingdom of Heaven because they don’t flow from love.
          You and I must die to even our own works of goodness.  The work God requires is to believe in the Son of God, and that true belief results in obedience, not out of obligation or religious fortitude, but out of deep love for God, and if we love the Father, we love the Son, and if we love the Father and Son, then we love the children of God.  This is the whole message of the John’s first letter.  This incredible stream of love is the Father’s character.  It isn’t some message that we must obey.  It is the actual life that flows from Him, and from Jesus Christ, His Son, and therefore, if we have the life of Christ in us, into and through us to those around us.
          If we say we are in Christ, then we must be full of the love of God.
          Read the passage from John’s letter again and again.
          There is no love apart from God.  God loved us, and so He sent Christ to love us.  Since God loved us, then we must love one another if we are in Christ.  If we don’t have love, we are not of God, and are not walking in the light.  The entire letter is this Truth, and is reiterated again in the second letter, as if God knows we won’t get it unless it’s repeated over and over.
          But we still don’t listen.  We choose to ignore Jesus’ Word, and His life, and live as if our own ways are the best.  Our busy and frantic lives, full of activity, and so barren of the fruit of God’s Spirit.


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