The Main Thing... Faith That Works by Love
“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Galatians 5:6
One of the greatest needs for humans is to be loved. We need to know we are important to somebody; that somebody cares about us, wants us and accepts us. If we doubt we are loved, we may develop unacceptable behavior patterns to compensate for it. The good news is that God loves us with an unconditional love, not based on feelings, emotions or performance; it is limitless, changeless.
Scripture explains the characteristics of unconditional love as patient, kind, rejoicing in truth and righteousness, not proud or boastful, is not rude, is not selfish, is not resentful and does not keep track of wrongs. Unconditional love is quick to believe the best, it loves justice and love never fails (I Corinthians 13:4-8). Without the revelation of love, attempting to be obedient to God’s Word is deceiving, causing others to feel unimportant, rejected and it is unprofitable. We are to accept His unconditional love by faith and then release the same principle of love toward others (Galatians 6:2). Unconditional love wants the best for others. As we express God’s unconditional love, it returns to us multiplied.
The world’s love is shallow, temporal and conditional. We love based on feelings and emotions that can change from one moment to the next. Conditional love is based on what we do; it is often selfish and demanding. We hesitate to do anything for others that will cost us too much or inconvenience us too greatly.
The work of the Holy Spirit transforms and changes our will and desires to give and receive love. By the empowering design of the New Covenant, we follow the urge to express love. To the degree that we continue to be mixed with human love and little unconditional love is the degree of struggle and strain we have in life. We can know about unconditional love, but if our emotions are still held in fear, emotions will take over. The expression of faith that works by unconditional love gives us the answers to life and makes us a channel for God’s riches to flow to others.
“For in Jesus Christ” refers to those who believe and receive Jesus as Savior; they are in Christ and Christ is in them (John 14:20). Paul explained to the Galatians how they had spiritually regressed by allowing certain brethren to convince them that the rite of circumcision is required for salvation (Galatians 3:1-9). On the contrary, Paul argues we are justified by faith which is imparted by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God cleanses us from all sin because we believe in Christ as our personal Savior. There is a fine line in the human mind between living in the Spirit by the hearing of faith or doing something to feel close to God. Any attitude of legalism or self-righteousness slowly destroys us.
Faith that Works by Love
1. Do not try to have faith or love, but spend time releasing the Holy Spirit to do what you cannot do or cannot be; He is your faith and love (Galatians 5:22).
2. Faith that works by love requires admitting that we cannot love ourselves or others on our own. (John 14:15, John 13:34, John 14:16).
3. Be interested in people; love, value and give respect for their sake, not Jesus’ sake. Interest, love, value and respect for others is greater than the need to complain or correct them. Allow unconditional love to replace the idea that we know what’s best for others. If we expect people to do what we think is best, we are sowing in the flesh, not the Spirit.
4. Release the Holy Spirit to transform any part of your self-consciousness that is based on fear. Ridding yourself of fear based self-consciousness becomes an open door for unconditional love.
5. Forgive people. Forgiveness opens the door to love (Matthew 6:14-15).
6. Be a good listener (Galatians 6:2). Respect, appreciate and validate what others are saying.
7. Be fair to others (Galatians 18:19). Many times we unfairly judge others based on their behavior or their opinion. We don’t show them the respect they deserve (Luke 6:38, Romans 14:13, Matthew 7:1-2). The urge to judge or criticize others will turn to discernment with the revelation and practice of unconditional love. If you think it is your business, pray for them. If it is not your business, leave it alone.
8. Be an encourager. Say words of affirmation to others. Be quick to give compliments and offer encouraging words. Refrain from giving unwanted advice. When we value and affirm people, we are releasing a powerful force of God’s highest and best into their lives (Proverbs 12:14).
9. Give the gift of time and service. Spending time with a person is love expressed. Love in action is the art of service which focuses on what a person really needs. As you give, you receive (Luke 6:28).
10. Give acceptance to others and focus on their strengths. Acceptance allows freedom for others to be themselves. Always bless and not curse (Romans 12:14).
Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me for trying to love others on my own which only results in frustration, annoyance and judgment. Holy Spirit, You are my love to myself and others. By You, I can calmly be a channel for God’s riches to flow to others and not even know it. In Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.