August 3: The Love Of God Constrains Us

All of Us and I mean ALL OF US, at one time or another, maybe even in the last few minutes before you read this, have felt like “If you don’t get out of my face, I’m going to pop you one.” Be it a partner, a friend, a child, or even a parent You have felt like losing your temper and lashing out.

In many cases you may have done just that; lashed out. In most of those cases you have almost immediately regretted doing it; you’ve either been angry at yourself,  or you may have allowed it to fester deep inside of you. For many it is the source of their depression and in the case of a Christian it may have caused you to ‘feel’ like your relationship with God has been hampered.

heart with angel wingsIn contrast, you may have felt under enormous pressure to take the same action. But, for some reason, certainly in the early stages, you don’t know what it was. But, there was something down on the inside of you that just kept you from fulfilling that basic human desire to stop, what you perceived as an attack, or an annoyance, by force.

The Force that rose up within you is called “Self-Control” andI refer to it as a force because it is far more than simply an emotive response and it is certainly not an autonomic response; it requires effort in its application.

Every human being has some measure of self-control naturally. Some appear to have more in certain areas of their life, yet others succumb and even develop addictions that put their body’s specific desires above anything else happening in their lives. Food, Alcohol, Drugs (both legal and otherwise), sex, TV and other forms of mental and emotional stimulation are common in the western world.

Christians, once they become aware of it, have an added advantage over their ‘natural’ counterparts, because if you have been “Born Again” you have invited The Holy Spirit, also referred to as The Holy Ghost, or The Spirit of God throughout the New Testament, the third person of the divine Trinity, to reside on the inside of you. Yes, you have The Holy Spirit of God living right in you.This is the reason the New Testament refers to our bodies as the “Temple of God.” Or, the church is referred to as a building of “Living Stones.”

We read in 1John Chapter 4 that “we know that we have received this great salvation, because we Love the brethren (the other members of the church). But, as we read on we also discover why this Love is so important. We find that God Himself is referred to as LOVE; that “God is LOVE.” Jesus is often referred to as pomegranates 1the “express image of the Love of God” and that his life and actions are an  example of the way LOVE responds.

So, if that is the case, then we can safely say, that if God, through The Holy Ghost, or The Holy Spirit, has come to live in us. then we can also say that effectively LOVE has come to live in us. As we further study the scriptures we also learn about the God quality of Love and what it is as well as what it is not (1Cor 13:4-8a)

I stress that, it is once the Christian becomes aware of this, because there are many who have said the prayer of salvation (sincerely and from the heart) and have actually been saved; they’ve been “Born Again.” But, sadly, as a result of a lack of teaching. Or, in reality, a lack of quality teaching about all that the New Birth entails, they have been robbed of the ability and the right to experience the fulness of what that changed state of being has done for them.

When a Christian does begin to learn all of what that experience has done for them they have the opportunity to walk in the light of what they’ve learned and to develop their faith further. Additionally, they will find that as they spend more time developing their personal relationship with God and in particular “practicing their personal prayer language” given by the Holy Ghost, they will also witness a change in the way they react and respond to different things that happen in their lives.

Jesus referred to this way of living as the “Fruit of the Vine.” he taught us that He is the Vine and we are the branches. Now, the thing with fruit is that it is usually found on the branches. So, our life will either produce the pleasant fruit of the effect of The Holy Spirit in our lives, or we may allow the sad, bitter fruit of our bodily (referred to as carnal) nature to be what people experience. Remember, pomegranates 2The Holy Spirit will never force his will on you. That is why Paul teaches us that we need to “Yield to The Spirit of God.” To allow his nature to flow through us.

In Paul’s letter to the Galatian Christians he talks about the Fruit of the Spirit and if we compare it to his description of Love, as we have previously seen, we will find that it is almost one and the same. I like to say that “The Fruit of the Spirit; the fruit produced by allowing The Holy Spirit of God to develop in us is LOVE.”

Now, I’m not going out on a limb here, because there are other prominent teachers of the Word of God who agree with me on this.  I’ve held this position for about Thirty plus years and it is only recently I’ve heard other ministers saying something similar. I believe that The Fruit, LOVE is made up of all the other components as listed in Galatians chapter 5 and that they are all held in place by the final component being “Self-Control.”

So, the next time you have the urge to “Pop someone in the nose” and you find it becoming easier not to do it. You’ll probably find that it’s because the Fruit of The Holy Spirit, LOVE, acting on your recreated human spirit, is constraining you, helping you to develop a greater sense of “Self-Control.”

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The Love Of God Constrains Us

Images: 1. heart-with-angel-wings  2. Pomegranates 3. Pomegranate