October 15, 2012
- By Ed Powell
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"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
The various gifts which were evident among the believers in the early church were intended to focus attention on the truths Paul was teaching them and confirm the faith which they embraced. Many fixed their eyes on the "gifts," and exercised them for vainglory and selfish ends, rather than using them only for the edification of the church.
Paul says, you have trampled on the principle of Christian love which is of greater value than all the powers either men or angels could possess. LOVE is of more value than all the gifts! Sadly, many Christians today are more interested in manifesting their "gifts" than an intimate relationship with the Giver...JESUS CHRIST.
Gifts may edify others, but love benefits ourselves and others for eternity. When God's love possesses our lives, it flows freely through us and penetrates the lives of all we encounter. Christian love is initiated by God, and is the result of our faith in Christ. Love finds expression as we are receptive and responsive to the Holy Spirit, and produces virtues that glorify God.
Love must take precedent over all other virtues that adorn a believer. It must be the motivating factor from which all spiritual virtues proceed. No part of true Christian love can be understood any further than it is "practiced in our heart, and reflected in our walk." If this does not take place, then our profession is but a pretense, insincere, and without merit. The lack of Christian love displayed in our practical every-day life, only reveals how defective our views are of its true meaning, the extent of its purpose, and our obligation in responding to it. It is of greatest importance to get a thorough understanding into the requirements of His Word, then set ourselves with all diligence to the performance of it.
When God's love penetrates our hearts and finds free expression in our life, the old nature that ruled our life will be overcome as we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit that abides within our life. Many today are more prominent in their own eyes...who have sought power, prestige, wealth or fame at a fearful price. They are terribly deceived by their own soul. They measure their success and approval by the standards of man. Their ego is appeased by applause, and their reward is temporal and superficial in the light of eternity. How wise they would be to judge their life by the standards of God, seek His approval and blessing, and in all things seek to magnify His Name.
Paul addresses the believers and says that regardless of your gifts, talent, attainment or liberality in giving...if LOVE is not the foundation of it all you are "as a sounding brass, or tinkling cymbal." GOD'S LOVE is of more value, and of greater eternal importance, than all of man's gifts and abilities.
One day the many who have touted their gifts, abilities, wealth, and power, will stand before God to be asked one question..."What did you do with JESUS, who is called the Christ, the Son of God?" This will be the determining factor of how they will spend eternity.
May we look at our lives to see if "gifts" are of more value or do we cherish HIS LOVE to motivate and embrace our hearts? The penetrating question is...HOW THEN SHALL WE LIVE? The answer rests with you!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?row=289&date=2012-10-15
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