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9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit (9) Fruit of Gentleness
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쏝ut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23 ...

The Kind of Love That God Desires_ Spiritual Love (1)

Manmin News   No. 625
January 13, 2019

Rev. Jaerock Lee, Senior Pastor of Manmin Central Church

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Love can be categorized into 2 kinds: spiritual love that never changes and fleshly love that does change and corrupts. 1 Corinthians chapter 13 puts an emphasis on the importance of love before delving into spiritual love in detail.

We can become God's true children who resemble Him only when our hearts are filled with spiritual love. Now, let us delve into the importance of spiritual love, which is the kind of love that God desires.

1. Love That Gives Life

Verse 1 says, "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." The "tongues of men" refers to all kinds of languages of the mankind. "Tongues of Angels" are beautiful words. This verse means even eloquent speech of men or beautiful words like those of angels are just like a noisy gong or the clanging of a cymbal if there is no love.

On the contrary, words that contain love have the amazing power to save lives. One day Jesus was teaching at the Temple, and the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman before him. She was caught in the act of committing adultery. They said to Jesus, "Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?" (John 8:5)

If Jesus told them to do to her according to the Law, He was overturning what He had taught saying, "Love your enemies," and if He told them to forgive her, it means He was in direct violation of the Law. Knowing the intent of those people Jesus quietly stooped down and began to write something on the ground with His fingers. Then, He said, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. They began to go out one by one, and finally, He was left alone with the woman (John 8:6-9).

Jesus saved the woman's life without violating the Law. On the surface, the words of the scribes and the Pharisees were not wrong, because they were merely reiterating the Law of God, but their intention was very different from that of Jesus. They wanted to harm others whereas Jesus wanted to save them.

If we have this heart of Jesus, we would always try to give life to others with our words with a prayerful mind to give them strength and to lead them to the truth. Some people try to forcefully persuade others with the Word of God or try to correct other people's behaviors that they don't like or agree with. Even though their words are absolutely correct, those words cannot change them nor give life to them as long as they did not originate from love. We have to just look back on ourselves to check whether we are speaking out of our own self-righteousness or we are trying to give life to them with our love.

One word that has love for the other person will quench the thirst of their soul and give joy and comfort to them.

2. Love with which One Sacrifices Himself

Verse 2 says, "If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."

The gift of prophecy here is not a gift of the Holy Spirit that is given to a particular kind of people. It just means all those who are believers in Jesus Christ know and talk about what the future holds for us. As written in the Bible, the Lord will come back in the air. Those who are saved will be caught up into the air and enter the 7-Year Wedding Banquet whereas those who are not saved will remain on Earth and suffer during the 7-Year Tribulation. In this way, if we know about the future and have the gift of prophecy, without love, it is nothing because we might change any time according to our own benefit.

Next, "Mysteries" refers to the secret hidden since before the ages, namely the "Message of Cross" (1 Cor. 1:18). It is the providence of human salvation, which had been hidden by God until it was fulfilled (1 Cor. 2:6-8). The enemy devil and Satan thought that by killing Jesus they would forever keep the authority that they received due to Adam's sin. However, by crucifying innocent Jesus, the way of salvation was opened. Even though we know this great mystery in the way of the cross, it is meaningless if we preach it without love.

It is the same with knowledge. "All knowledge" is not knowledge of the world but the knowledge of the truth contained in the 66 books of the Bible. If we come to know God through the words of the Bible, we should meet and experience Him and believe Him with our heart. If we just know about Him in our heads, that knowledge will only become the measures by which judgment is passed on others. Therefore, knowledge without spiritual love is useless.

"All faith, so as to remove mountains" is great faith. Our faith can increase by seeing signs and wonders and by experiencing other works of God. However, having great faith does not necessarily translate into having great love. Spiritual love can be given to us only when we show our sacrifice for others and our effort and devotion to cast away sins. Therefore, if we have the gift of prophecy, know all knowledge, and have great faith so as to remove mountains, it is all nothing if we do not have love.

3. Love That Becomes Heavenly Rewards

Verse 3 says, "And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing."

Jesus said helping the poor just to receive glory from people will not earn us any heavenly rewards. If God blesses such people, they will stop circumcising their heart thinking they are righteous. The more they are praised by the people, the more they will lift themselves up, and it profits them nothing. On the contrary, if you help others out of love, earning the recognition does not matter. You'd believe that God, who sees all things, in secret will give you back blessings and rewards according to your deeds (Matt. 6:2-4).

Charitable work should be done with the purpose of winning the souls, according to the urging of the Holy Spirit, in a way that befits each one who receives the help. If you help somebody in a wrong way, it might cause them to depart from God or go the way of death. However, if you help others out of love and in the will of God, your soul will prosper and all things will go well with you, as in the case of Cornelius (Acts 10).

It's the same with the offerings given to God. The widow in Mark chapter 12 gave only 2 copper coins, but it was all her living expenses and Jesus commended her. If we give feeling coerced or just to be recognized by others, God is not pleased and it profits us nothing.

It's the same with sacrificial work. "If I surrender my body to be burned," means you sacrifice yourself completely. Sacrifice is basically based on love, but you can sacrifice yourself even without love. However, if you don't get people's acknowledgment for your sacrifice, you'd get disappointed or resent it, or seeing others who are not diligent in their duties, you might pass judgment on them. For this type of persons, they have the desire to be lifted up as well as the arrogance, thinking that they are faithful in God's kingdom. Such a mindset will cause hardships on themselves. It lets them break peace with others and breaks God's heart. Therefore, it profits them nothing.

Even though they don't openly complain, their zeal might cool down when nobody recognizes them. If others point out anything in their work, they lose strength, or they criticize those who point out their mistakes. Also, if there are other people who are recognized and loved more than they are, they become jealous. Thus, although they seem to work faithfully for God's kingdom, they don't have true joy in them, and they might even just give up their duties.

Some people work hard only when their superiors or other people are watching them. If nobody is around, they become lazy or just pretend to be working. They'd rather do the kind of work that is noticed by others than the work that is not easily noticed. It's because their focus is earning the recognition of their superiors or other people.

Now, what is the reason that they make sacrifice without love even though they have spiritual faith? It's because they don't have spiritual love. They don't have the sense of ownership thinking that what is God's is theirs and what is theirs is God's.

In order for us to be able to make true sacrifices, we must cultivate spiritual love. Those who are full of love in their heart will quietly dedicate themselves whether or not others recognize them or watch them. Countless souls are saved through the sacrifice of Jesus because His sacrifice had true love in it.

Jesus fulfilled the will of God until death, because He loved God. He prayed for the souls even while He was on the cross (Luke 23:34). For this true sacrifice, God lifted Him up high and gave Him the most glorious position in the kingdom of heaven (Phil. 2:9-11).

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Even if you have no worries in life and live in abundance, you can't have the hope or will to live if you have no love. Love is the most important factor in our lives. May you cultivate spiritual love that God desires and dwell in joy and glory with God forever, I pray this in the name of the Lord! Amen.




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