ODJ: in our hearts

February 15, 2014 

READ: Galatians 5:1-22 

The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love (v.22).

After observing the warm fellowship of believers in Jesus, this was the reaction of the unbelieving Greek writer Lucian (AD 120-200): “It is incredible to see the fervour with which the people of that religion help each other in their wants. They spare nothing. Their first legislator [Jesus] has put it in their heads that they are brethren”. Near the same time that Lucian wrote, Tertullian affirmed: “It is our care for the helpless, our practice of lovingkindness, that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents. ‘Only look!’ they say. ‘Look how they love one another! Look how they are prepared to die for one another.’ ”

According to the apostle Paul, this type of love isn’t conjured up by human activity and effort. The Holy Spirit supernaturally produces, develops and energises it. Paul listed love first because it was the most important characteristic from which every other attribute should flow (Galatians 5:22).

We can’t love one another, the way that Jesus has loved us, through mere human effort (John 13:34); we need the Holy Spirit to empower and enable us to do so (14:15-17). When we walk in step with the Spirit, He enables us to serve one another (Galatians 5:13), fulfil the law of love (vv.14-16), demonstrate love in tangible ways and make one another the priority.

When the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives He creates the capacity in us to discern more and more that we are brothers and sisters (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10). As we keep in step with Him, He will put God’s love in our hearts. We will be obliged to care for the helpless, to meet the practical needs of our neighbour, and to be one in heart and mind with other believers (Acts 4:31-35).
—Marvin Williams

Read Ephesians 3:16-19. Who strengthens the believer in Jesus? In what ways does He strengthen us and for what purpose? 
What’s difficult about loving others the way Jesus loved? How will you submit to the Holy Spirit this week so He can help you love like Jesus?