God's Love Through Us Is Effectual

by Wayne Barber

We have been looking in Galatians 5:22,23 at God's marvelous love that His Spirit produces in the lives of those who live surrendered to Him. We have seen it's inward effectiveness in the one who is yielded to Christ. The inner ability to rejoice comes with the sense of wellbeing that one now enjoys in Christ. We have also seen the outward sufficiency of this love as we interact with difficult people in the Body of Christ. God's love disarms those unlovable ones as we patiently tolerate their irritating ways and allow God to tenderize our hearts towards them. God produces His patience and His kindness and goodness in us. This causes those who are mean spirited in the Body to be disarmed as they seek to do us harm. But we still have three characteristics remaining to examine. They will reveal the upward excellency of God's love.

The final three things Paul mentions in this passage are extremely important to the whole cluster of eight characteristics of God's love in us. Gal. 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (niv)" The word rendered "faithfulness" in the niv is pstis, which actually signifies a firm persuasion, which radically effects one's behavior, to the point of obedience.

There are several views as to what Paul is saying here, but I believe that he is showing us how God's love in us, manifested through us, causes us to believe without faltering that it is having it's effect on others, no matter what their reaction is to us.

If you have studied Galatians, you will have already seen that the hope of faith is righteousness. We believe that when we said "yes" to Christ, then righteousness just took place. When we walk by the Spirit we are enabled to discern our brother' needs. We also feel a deep inner resolve to meet that need. In doing so, we are filled with joy because we know that God is in control, and we have a deep peace in knowing that we are joining God in His work.

We are filled with patience when the brother is obnoxious and our hearts have become so tender that we disarm his abuse. God's love is manifested in the goodness revealed in the things we do or say to our brother that meets his need. Whether he responds or not, we are assured in our hearts that it has had its eternal effect.

Christ's faith comforts us. This faith, His faith produced in us, is such a wonderful thing! It works in us to assure our hearts that righteousness has taken place-even though the reaction has been tough. This kind of love points only to Christ in us. We cannot produce this kind of love. Only God's Spirit living in us can produce the very character of Christ through us!

Oh, how this love is needed in our day. Christianity has been so watered down that you would hardly recognize it in God's Word. Churches are full of people who say that they love God, but turn right around and treat one another like trash. We need to come back to the understanding that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship. As we learn to relate to Christ through daily surrender to Him and to His Word, then His character will be manifest in and through us and He will love those with whom we come in contact. It won't be us but it will be Him.

 Several years ago, my wife and I went to Switzerland, where I was speaking for the military through the mission organization called Cadence International. We were high in the Alps above Interlocken, in Beatenberg. The theme song that week was an old hymn called "O, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus." We sang that song at the opening of each session. I could hardly sing the words as they sank deep into my heart and tears flowed down my cheeks just thinking of His deep, deep love for me. I looked around and there wasn't a dry eye in the group. All week long this song just permeated our very being with the truth that it conveyed. As we individually got in touch with the One who produces that love, the sweetness of Christ touched every life there. I thought to myself, Oh how I wish the church today could realize that not until we are in love with Christ will we ever experience His loving others through us.

Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church

in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad