THE SIMPLEST, MOST SUCCESSFUL WAY TO LIVE

March 26, 2024

THE SIMPLEST, MOST SUCCESSFUL WAY TO LIVE

 

Years ago, I decided to do a multi-week preaching series through 1 Corinthians 13, the great chapter on love. What I thought would be a simple, short, warm-and-fuzzy series turned into 20 challenging and life-changing messages.

THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE IS …

If asked before this series, I would have said the opposite of love is hate. But I discovered that is not true. The opposite of love is selfishness. Love is that “God-quality that always responds in self-sacrifice.” One of the words translated as “love” in the Greek language is the word “eros,” which means self-seeking love. “I will love you if you love me. I will love you for what I get.” But the word used in 1 Corinthians 13 and Romans 13 is “agape.” It is used only of God’s love.

HIS LOVE IN ME

Man’s natural quality apart from God is eros. But if I am a true believer, this “agape” love is in me because Christ is in me. When I defer to His leadership and follow Him, this quality flows out. “The love (agape) of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,” Paul says in Romans 5:5, and the “fruit of the Spirit is love” (Galatians 5:22).

The list of love’s qualities in 1 Corinthians 13 proves agape’s nature.

Love is patient; love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4–7)

Study these qualities deeply, and you will discover they all flow from a desire to serve others. Nothing in this is about self; it is always about caring for the other individual more than yourself. This is what God is like. This is agape love.

THE EASIEST WAY TO LIVE

Why is living by the love of God—living from the inside out as a believer—so easy?

First, because we don’t have to produce this, but simply follow Christ. When He is in charge, His love fills and flows through us. We just follow. The question is not, “Can I love right now?” but, “Will I follow Christ and simply trust Him to flow His love through me? Will I yield to Him and do what He asks, empowered by His love?” If I surrender to Him, He has all the love I need … even to love the unlovable; even to love my enemies.

Secondly, it’s an easy way to live because love will naturally fulfill all the commandments. It will always do the right thing.

Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:10)

The moral laws of God are simply an expression of His nature. He does not lie, covet, steal, etc. We are made in His image, and He wants us to be like Him. He gives us these laws, but the only way to fulfill them is to follow Him and depend upon His life in us. His life is summed up in one primary characteristic: LOVE.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)

MY FIRST TEST

The first time I learned this deeply was when I was about to encounter a person who had hurt me more deeply than anyone in my life. I had forgiven them but had no love for them and didn’t want to see them. I didn’t know what to do but there was no way to avoid the encounter.

In prayer, the Lord reminded me that He lived in me and had all the love I needed. If I surrendered to Him and depended upon Him, He would flow through me and love the individual. I asked Him to flood me with His love and told Him I would do whatever love prompted me to do. When I saw them, I was overwhelmed with love for them! I could hardly believe it, but I knew that only God could receive glory. It was His love.

I've relied on this process many times, and God always proves true to His promise. He will love through me if I let Him.

Want to live an uncomplicated life? Get in the right posture every day (dependence upon God and a humble willingness to follow the promptings of His Spirit and the illumination of His Word). Follow His leadership. God (and His love) will flow through you, and you will fulfill everything He desires. You will be astounded by His love … and so will a watching world.





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