Love

By contrast, the action of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

What wondrous love is this, o my soul?

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. I Corinthinans 13:8

It ends with love, and love never ends. Agape in Greek. The agape kind of love is a choice and a way of living with God and neighbor in this world…

Love that is a fruit/action of the Spirit is meaning good things for others and working toward those good things. It involves sacrifice – dedicating time, talent, and resources to foster someone else’s life. This love is freely given, not the result of coercion or oppression. It enlarges the spirit and leads to a better sense of self. This love is a choice, not something forced. This kind of love is possible for us because we have been loved this way since we came into this world. This is how God loves us, and it’s how we are meant to love one another.

Often, we don’t love each other or God this way because we are afraid of loss and death. To avoid loss of self we strike out against love, hurting ourselves and our neighbor. We put Jesus on the cross because we fear the divine love revealed in his words and actions.

My mother talked to me about this years ago. She believed that many rejected the life of faith because they were afraid that God would ask them to die. Just like Peter, we denyJesus because we don’t want to die. We love life and are afraid to lose it. This is true.

But there is another truth at work here: we run away from Jesus because we know he’ll ask us to live. Living for Jesus is loving our neighbor and ourself, seeking and finding God in all people and things. I don’t know what we are more afraid of: losing life or loving life so much that death is just the doorway to the love of Christ. The love without end, Amen.

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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