Holy Spirit Filled Love

We don’t seem to love others to the fullest measure the Bible commands us to love others (John 15:13-14). I have wondered, since God has poured out His love into our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit, then there should be no lack of love for others in our hearts (Rom. 5:5).

Often, our expression of love towards others lack emotion because it is done for the sake of duty. This is true toward our love for God because often we worship and serve out of duty and not out of love for Him.

In our walk with God, we assume that as long as we do our daily devotions and pray we deserve to receive blessings from God. This can become a habitual syndrome that tightly grips us from encountering God in a fresh way that revives our hearts.

Our lack of love for others can be observed in our tendency to judge and speak critically of others so easily. We commit the sin of self-sufficiency like the Pharisee, thanking God for not being like the other men and justifying himself by the performance of his duty to fast twice a week and giving of tithe (Luke 18:11-12).

We become numb to the love that God has poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit when we measure the deficient performances of others as means of approving our religious performance. Hence, we grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30).

Some of us grew up in an Asian culture with parents who did not express affectionate love towards us. We felt a sense of emptiness due to our parents’ inadequacies in showing affection. The only way we were able to satisfy them was through achieving academic excellence and worldly success. Some friends I knew could never measure up to the standards of their parents, unless they went to Harvard and became doctors.

Thus, spiritually, we have become duty-bound people, and by performance we work out our salvation without much affections towards God. How can we break out of self-sufficiency to Christ dependency?

I am suggesting that we embody the inadequate affections of our parents and repent on their behalf. Just as Christ embodied our sin on the cross, we must want to be a sin offering on behalf of others, even at the cost of being eternally condemned. Moses cried out to God when Israelites sinned against God, “Please forgive their sin-but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written” (Exodus 32:32).

In my rebellious youth, I hated my parents because I saw them to be inadequate in providing for my needs. Thus, I never wanted to express any affection towards them; instead, I wanted to hurt them simply because they didn’t measure up to my American friends’ parents who showed so much affection towards their children.

Once we embody the sins of others with willingness to even pay for it with our own lives, there will arise in our hearts a flood of tears in repentance that will lead us into a passionate prayer life. This was true for Nehemiah as he sought after the Lord, “Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you” (Neh. 1:6).

Just as a child can hate his/her parents, a married couple can profess to love each other but end in divorce with hatred in their hearts. My concern is how can we win nations for the Lord if we cannot even win our own families over for the Lord?

When you embody the sin of others and repentant for their sin, you will not only find healing for your soul but also become filled with love towards those whom you thought were inadequate. Thus, most naturally, the filling of sacred love in your heart will spill over to those who have wronged you or sinned against you (1 Peter 4:8).

Hearts filled with love will not only cover the lack of affection from our parents, but we in turn will be able to love them unconditionally. I believe if we pour out our love towards our parents they will finally break away from their habitual syndrome of inability to show affection and will find freedom to express love. Perhaps, our parents do not express emotional love towards us because no one has poured love into them.

When our loved ones die, we will look back and realize we have not loved them as much as we should or could have loved them. Paul wanted to go so far as to be eternally cut off from Christ for the sake of his people (Rom 9:2-4a). Let not the lack of love for others become our greatest regret in life. Love others as much as Christ enables us to love. Be willing to risk your life for the love of others.

P. Tae

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