Apr 10, 2012
Sunday my wife and I were having some friends over for dinner — and my wife needed help getting ready.
But I didn’t want to help.
After all, I was tired from a busy Sunday morning. And Google News was much more interesting than moving chairs and setting tables.
So what can I do?
What can we do when we don’t feel like loving and serving?
It’s easy to think we should just love and serve anyway.
Just get out there and help her, lazybones!
But is that what Jesus wants? Paul said that if we have actions without love — those actions gain nothing (1Cor 13:3).
So it’s not enough for me to DO helpful actions. Jesus calls me to WANT to help — to DESIRE to help.
But that was my problem — I didn’t have that want or desire.
So what could I do?
Here’s what I learned about how to be more loving.
What produces love?
In Galatians 5:6 Paul tells us —
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
Faith works through love. What does that mean?
It means faith in Jesus Christ produces love for others.
Just as an automobile assembly line produces cars — so faith in Christ produces love.
But how does that work?
It’s like what happened in my heart years ago when I was–
Excited about Disneyland
One evening, when I was growing up, my parents told us four kids that the next day we were going to Disneyland.
When I heard that — I immediately started thinking about —
- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- The Matterhorn
- Tom Sawyer’s Island
Those thoughts of Disneyland started filling my heart with joy.
My heart filled more and more until — honestly — I just had to overflow with love to someone.
Right in front of me was my mom — doing the dishes.
So I did something that shocked everyone.
I told her I wanted to dry the dishes for her. Whoa.
Why did my heart want to dry the dishes for her?
It’s because my heart was so full of the joy of Disneyland that I had to pour out with love to someone.
My FAITH in the promises of Disneyland filled me with such joy that I overflowed with LOVE.
Back to Sunday afternoon
Sunday afternoon my heart was not so filled with joy that I had to overflow with love.
So why wasn’t I filled with joy? Was the problem that I was tired — or that I had not yet found something on the internet to satisfy me?
No. The problem was my faith — I was not trusting all that Jesus promises to be to me.
Sure, I believed that He died for my sins. I believed I was going to heaven.
But I was not trusting that He Himself would fully satisfy me (John 6:35).
At that moment I was trusting rest, Google News, Surfline.com, and Gregory Beale’s “A New Testament Biblical Theology” to satisfy me.
So what did I do?
I need to be honest. I did end up helping Jan.
I did ask Jesus to change my heart — and I did set my heart on Jesus and His promises.
Sort of. A little. Vaguely.
And in great mercy He took my mustard seed of faith and changed my heart so I wanted to help her.
But my fight of faith could have been stronger. More focused. More intentional.
So here’s —
What I should have done
Prayer — I should have turned immediately to the Father and asked Him in Jesus’ name to change my heart.
Confession — I should have admitted to Him that I was not trusting Jesus to satisfy me and asked Him to forgive me.
Promises — I should have turned my mind to specific and relevant promises in God’s Word — like Psalm 16:11, John 6:35, Acts 20:35.
Faith — As I started helping Jan I should have prayed over those promises, asking God to strengthen my faith until I really feel that there’s more fulness of joy in Him than Google News.
Love — then that fulness of joy in Him would have caused me to overflow so I was even more glad and willing to help Jan.
That’s how I could have become more loving.
Below I list some of God’s promises. Try praying over these promises — and see if you don’t feel the Holy Spirit start to fill your heart. See if you don’t start to feel that you just have to overflow in love to someone.
Try it right now. Pray over how God promises —
- to forgive all your sin through Jesus Christ (Rom 4:7-8)
- to guide you in every decision (James 1:5)
- to strengthen you to do everything He calls you to do (Phil 4:13)
- to provide all the money you need (Mat 6:33)
- to satisfy every heart hunger and thirst in Jesus Christ (John 6:35)
- to cause every trial to bring you even more joy in Christ (2Cor 4:17-18)
- to keep you from stumbling so you enter heaven (Jude 1:24-25)
- to bring you to heaven where you will have ever-increasing joy in Him (Rev 21:3-4).
If you really took time to pray over these promises, your heart would start to fill with joy.
It would fill so much that you would have to overflow in love to someone.
That’s how faith works through love.
And that’s what I have learned about how to be more loving.
Comments? Feedback? Thoughts?
I’d love to hear them. Feel free to leave a reply below. Thanks.
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Here’s some related resources you might find helpful —
- What is Faith?
- How Jesus Changed My Heart About a Christmas Party.
- How Can We Obey the Golden Rule?
- The Faith-Joy Connection.
(Picture by ewen and donabel on everystockphoto.)