FAITH WORKS BY LOVE

LOVE by Stuart Miles

Happy Valentine’s Day to you! Since this is the day we express love to those most important to us, I thought this would be a great time to talk about love. Today I want to focus on love and how it’s connected to our faith. The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 5:6 that “faith works by love.” What does that mean? In other words, without love as a motive for all we do, our faith will not work for us. If love is not our “default mode,” our faith is hindered, and we will not operate effectively in the Kingdom. Therefore, to make sure our faith stays strong, we need to allow love to rule in reign in our lives in the following ways:

  1. Receive God’s love. If you believe that God loves you, when you pray, you will have more confidence to believe that your prayers will be answered. Furthermore, the Bible says perfect love casts out fear (I John 4:18). Since faith and fear cannot coexist, when fear is cast out by love, your faith will operate at a higher level so that you can believe God to accomplish His purpose and plan for your life.
  2. Love God. When you love God, you will keep his commandments (John 14:15). When you are keeping the commandments, your confidence that your prayers will be answered skyrockets. When we have not obeyed God, we have a tendency to believe that He won’t help us, and our faith fails. To avoid that feeling, we simply need to trust and obey.
  3. Love your neighbor. When you love those God puts in your path (Matthew 22:39), you want the best for them. You want to help others. Therefore, your burning desire to make a difference in people’s lives will motivate you to believe God for the miraculous and take risks that you need to take. Since faith and risk-taking go hand in hand, love will cause you to focus on the highest good of others and take the risk of forgetting yourself.
  4. Love yourself. Self-love is a byproduct of knowing that God loves you. When you love yourself (Matthew 22:39), the devil will not be able to deceive you with feelings of unworthiness and condemnation. When you know you are worthy only because of what Christ has done, you will trust that God will move on your behalf when you call on Him, and your faith will be enhanced.

As you can see beloved, faith truly does work by love, and I Corinthians 13:8 states that love never fails. We need love to be working in our lives in all four ways at all times if our faith is going to operate effectively. When our faith works at an optimal level, we will experience more peace and be more willing to take risks. And God loves it when we step out in faith and take the risks He wants us to take. Spirit-led risk-taking allows us to do great exploits for God and bring glory to Him. Therefore, let’s make sure that we speak God’s love language of obedience, receive His love, and walk in love so that we can please God with a faith that works (Hebrews 11:6).

What area above impacts your faith the most? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

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HOW TO HANDLE RUDE PEOPLE

polite-rudeswitchbystuartmiles

We all have encountered rude people along the way, right? However, God requires us to love them anyway. The other day, I went to a store and made a purchase. When I looked at my receipt, I had been overcharged by $7.50! I went to the store manager to complain. He saw that there apparently was a computer glitch, and said he would refund the money. We went to the register and after the transaction was made and I signed the required paperwork, he handed me my merchandise and said, “Have a nice night.” That was it. No apology. Nothing. I was hot. I thought to myself, “How Rude!”

The next week in Bible study we talked about I Corinthians 13, the part where it says, “Love thinketh no evil.” After that, the Lord brought back to my remembrance the incident at the store. I definitely had not walked in love internally, or in my thoughts. I calmly told the gentleman how I felt about the way he treated me, I didn’t yell, scream, curse, or called him names, However, I thought evil of him. Externally, I was OK, but internally I was not. I am a customer service person myself, and I have to admit that I judged him severely for his blunder. Wrong.

I asked the Lord, how could I have handled it better internally? These were the tips I gleaned from the Bible Study to apply to this situation:

  1. FOCUS ON THE “WHY?” When someone is rude, I need to shift the focus from the what, the behavior I see, to the why behind the behavior. I should have immediately thought, “He’s not a bad person, he just has not been taught good customer service skills. He can’t do better than his training allows.” Or, “He’s tired and not thinking properly. When I’m tired, I may not be at my best either.” Or, “He has no idea who he is in Christ and to admit his wrong and experience the condemnation that comes with it is probably too painful for him to handle.” If I can come up with a feasible explanation in my mind, then my tolerance level increases.
  2. RESPOND IN LOVE. Even when they are rude, we should always respond in love. A soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1), even if it’s just, “God bless you.” The Bible says we should love, bless, pray for and do good to them that treat us poorly (Matthew 5:44). We can respond by communicating and empathizing with them, then give a loving response of a non-judgmental attitude. Remember, if it weren’t for the help of Holy Spirit we’d probably be acting like them.
  3. PRAY. Actually, prayer should be done from beginning to end. Pray that God will show you a word of knowledge about why that person is acting the way they are. If you get an understanding, you will feel more compassionate, and your feelings and behavior will be in line with God’s will. Pray for the grace to respond correctly and act like the Christian you profess to be. Finally, pray for the person to grow and change the way the Lord desires.

This is a tall order, isn’t it? We can’t do this alone. We must depend on the Holy Spirit to help us make this transition. God is calling us to come up higher, Saints, He is calling us to maturity. So the next time someone is rude to you and your flesh rises up wanting to respond in kind, remember to shift your focus to the why behind the what. Walk in love, and pray fervently in your mind for the help of the Holy Spirit. Your thoughts must line up with the Word which says, “Love thinketh no evil.” When you take the focus off yourself, your feelings, your ego, and your self-interests and focus on the needs and best interest of those around you, then you will truly be loving your neighbor.
What have you learned in your travels about handling rude people? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

Find me on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/TraceyLMoore2012

Follow me on Twitter:  @TraceyLMoore1