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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Love in Our Hearts MAY 7


A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. John 13:34.

Without love we may increase the externals of religion but not spirituality. Without love we may impress others with the financial growth in tithes and offerings, but not win men to Christ.

God's standard is that we love one another "as I have loved you." But to love as Christ loved is quite beyond our power and ability to perform. Love comes from being loved. Christ's love for us is the source of our love. "We love him because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). To the degree that we believe the love God has for us and let Him truly love us, to that degree we have the capacity to love others. "The love of Christ constraineth us" (2 Cor. 5:14).

For the natural, unconverted man, the best he can do is to love the lovable. He cannot love the depraved, the emotionally sick, the unlikable personality. This is quite beyond his powers. But Christ's command is to love our enemies. Of ourselves and by our own efforts we can conform outwardly to the rules and standards of the church. We really do not necessarily need help from God to wear the right kind of clothes, to eat the right kind of food. By actual personal discipline, it is amazing what we can do in keeping the rules. There are many professed Christians who would not think of violating the rules and regulations of the church, particularly in dress and diet. Yet for some of these people, it is of little importance that they are easily jealous, hostile, envious, critical, impatient, selfish, and overbearing. What kind of religion is that? These inner problems require a complete change of heart and motivation. This change we cannot bring about ourselves.

How do we become loving and lovable Christians? "The fruit of the Spirit is love." Love is a gift of God. It is a spiritual fruit. It belongs to us only when the Holy Spirit dwells within. It is not a matter of how good we are. We cannot even tell that. The Spirit loves in us and through us. It simply is not possible to let Christ down anymore, or anyone else, for that matter.

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