Living By Faith Blog


Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

What I Learned About How To Be More Loving

How to be more loving

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,, 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.

Try this

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.

Do you know someone who would be helped by reading this?  Email it to them using the “share” button below — or use the other buttons to share on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

If you would like to receive a Saturday email summarizing the week’s posts — subscribe here.  (I will only use your email address for Living By Faith Blog communications — and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.)

Here’s some related resources you might find helpful —


(Picture by ewen and donabel on everystockphoto.)

Category: Anger, Love, and Forgiveness, Stories from My Life


8 Responses

  1. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    Hi Steve,

    Although I’m commenting only now, after more than three weeks once again, I have nevertheless read the most of your previous posts and I deeply appreciate all what you are writing.

    I think we are all somehow similar as human beings as for our desire to be constantly happy, full of joy, love and peace. I suppose that God designed us purposefully in this way that we keep on seeking Him who alone can give us what we need. However, alas, this life on earth is a constant up and down, not only as for our circumstances, but for our affections and emotions as well. Our moods can change within seconds without us having any influence on them. This is very discouraging sometimes, isn’t it?
    The reason for our inner hodgepodge seems to me lying in the fact that we are not yet fully enlightened by the Light of Christ, but have more or less inner darkness and unknown abysses of our souls. I’d like to copy from one of your previous posts (“Does God ordain every trial?”) from last week that insinuates for me why God alone is living in constant joy:

    ‘The biblical portrait shows that God is pure light and holy love. In him there is no darkness, nothing other than light and love.’

    By God’s grace we grow spiritually and thus our experience of love, joy and peace will increase. But I think that every step forward in this heavenly direction will take an effort and will cost something, that is to say we will lose something what we love here on earth. Peter once asked Jesus about our reward for following Him, and Jesus told Peter that we will receive a hundredfold of what we have left for Jesus’ sake (Mt 19:29).
    Now I’m going to take a crack at this 😉
    I believe that God takes things, affections, emotions, and even people we love from us to really set us free and to prove that we NEVER lose anything material or earthly that He soon wouldn’t give us “back” through His Spirit. In His Spirit we (will) have life abundantly (Jn 10:10). Though it is a life of hope as long as we are here on earth, yet He wants to let us taste more and more the unspeakable pleasures of Heaven.
    Jesus said,

    “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt 10:39)

    I have to take my cross and follow Him, be that with joy or with grief, with love or without. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t pour His love into my heart (Rom 5:5), I will be “empty” and I won’t feel love for others until God changes my heart again. What I can do is praying, hoping, and waiting for Him, whenever He’ll desire to come. Here’s another quote from your post I just copied:

    ‘The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away’; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. (Job 1:21-22)

    Job was certainly full of sorrow and pain, but he was a man of great inner strength and faith. So, as for me, I know times, often weeks of great inner joy, love and peace, but I also know about deep suffering with Him. Honestly, I have ceased to beg God for joy. I decided to accept everything He gives, for I know He only lets me suffer to my good. I just can learn to be patient and continue with praying.

    “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Rom 12:12)

    And it’s real astonishing for me to see that there are situations I don’t like and things I don’t want to do for they are boring, but as soon as I look unto Him in my prayers, I really forget about my negative feelings and I do what I have to do somehow unconsciously about what I’m actually doing. Having done my duties – Whoosh! – I can hardly remember them. I guess God is drawing my attention off from things unto Him, as you showed in this one of your above Scriptures:

    “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor 4:17-18)

    Every blessing to you and your wife,

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Great to hear from you again, Susanne.

      Thank you for sharing the thought that every increase of joy in Christ comes from letting go of some earthly joy. I believe that’s true — although now that I think about it — it’s also true that earthly joys can display to us more of Christ.

      So maybe when God gives earthly joys — and when He takes them — in either case it’s to give us even more joy in Him.

      I appreciate your honest sharing, your love for God’s Word, and your passion for Christ.

      Press on, sister,


  2. willie easley says:

    You encourage me to turn to prayer when I do not want to do what I should – very helpful. Thanks

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Great to hear from you again, Willie. You put it so well — I need to turn to prayer when I do not want to do what I should. Me, too!

  3. Terrie says:

    We have been so blessed, grace upon grace. All the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ Jesus. A good reminder that the joy of the Lord is our strength!

    Great post. Loved the Disneyland example!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thanks for visiting and for the encouragment, Terrie. And I love how you put it — that we have been so blessed, grace upon grace. So powerfully and gloriously true!

  4. mathapelo says:

    hi steve,

    I found this blog or rather it found me @ the right time in my life (indeed God’s timing is the best). I thank the Lord for people like you in our lives, God is using you to get to us and to break down his ways and his word. I love the way u simpify the God’s word, u make it easy for me to understand, remember and apply. Thank you.

    I’ve been struggling with the fact that my husband is not a born-again, he doesnt go to church and most of all that he drinks almost every weekend. A part of me tells me to accept him as he is but everytime when i see or even hear him drunk, my mood change for the worst.

    This kills me inside because he feels im judging him and he tells me straight to my eyes that i can’t change him. I know only God is able change a person bcuz he’s the one who created him. This issue is also affecting me especially when it come to submission, i know i have to submit uner my husband but i lose and end not doing what i know i have to do.

    Sometimes i feel like im the one who’s delaying God to move because of the person i become due to his drinking.

    Thank you for the steps bec i struggle with that a lot. Sometimes i want to do what is right but a part just say no don’t. Atleast now i know how to go about this. Victory is all mine.

    May God bless you abundantly and exceedingly.

Leave a Reply

Join 3,436 people who receive Living by Faith updates —

More Help for Your Faith

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube


"I just found your blog recently, and I've NEVER found such clarity, understanding and comfort before." (Sarah)

"AWESOME. Going to mangle this sin tonight with the Promises of God." (Alec)

"If I could subscribe to only one blog, yours would be it." (Lyn)

"I think you are really on to something with this blog. I don’t know of anything else like it." (Doug)

"Excellent comment. Really well put and wisdom that is strangely lacking in much evangelical thinking." (John)

"Thank you -- I needed to hear this. So clear and concise yet captivating." (Stacey)

"Such a helpful post. I’ve bookmarked it and reread it two or three mornings just this week." (Doug)