Growing in Love
Some things are not taught but caught, and love is one of them. We can never learn love by just reading books or going to a Bible college. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge psychologists and counselors have; they cannot teach people to love.
A problem cannot produce an answer for itself; only the Answer can provide an answer. The Bible says that “God is love” (I John 4:8b); therefore, it is only He who can truly impart love into our hearts.
1. Fruit of the Spirit
Love is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22); it is the natural result of the inhabitation of the Holy Spirit in a person’s heart. In other words, if Love(God) is not dwelling in our spirit, it is impossible to attain the “God-kind-of-love.”
Because love comes from the Holy Spirit, the first step in growing our love for other people is to be born of the Spirit. We cannot grow something that is not yet born in us. It is illogical to expect growth, or even a tree itself, without a sown seed.
2. Walk in the Spirit
Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the way through which God sows the seeds of His nature into our human spirit. When God is finished sowing these seeds, He expects them to grow in us; otherwise, the seeds will die.
Being filled with the Spirit is entirely different from walking in the Spirit. To walk in the Spirit – through prayer and the Word of God – is the only means for us to grow what was sown into our hearts.
The more we pray and read His Word, the more we get closer to Him. The more we get closer to Him, the more we hear the Lord’s heartbeat for other people.
Let us consider John as an example. Compared with Peter, he didn’t leave the Lord’s side even at the very moment of His death. While Peter was following Jesus afar off, John strived to get closer to Him. His desire to be near to his Master has a remarkable result.
Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; who also leaned back on his breast at the supper (John 21:20a, ASV).
John became known as the “Beloved Apostle” – the disciple whom Jesus loved. Moreover, he was also described as the disciple who leaned on Jesus’ chest, hearing the Saviour’s very heartbeat – His love for humanity.
3. Have a fresh view of the Calvary
It is unexplainable yet an undeniable fact that we feel something special whenever we take part in the Lord’s Supper or Communion. Like how a Footwashing Service renews the spirit of humility in us, Communion refreshes our memory and renews our understanding of God’s love for humankind.
If we truly understand the significance of Calvary, and how Christ’s love compelled Him to die for our sins, it would persuade us to love other people as well.
For the love of Christ constraineth us . . . (2 Corinthians 5:14).
Calvary, as the emblem of the love of Christ, has the power to compel us to love other people.
4. Be exposed
To be a part of the Associates In Missions (AIM) program of the Global Missions Division of the United Pentecostal Church, International is a life-changing experience. I haven’t experienced going to other countries as an “AIMer” yet, but the mission trips I experienced in the Philippines undeniably made an impact in my life. Moreover, I had the privilege of meeting young people who had gone to different countries through AIM, and I can attest that the program, indeed, changed their perspectives.
Being involved in the evangelistic thrusts of the church is an effective way to “catch” the spirit of love for other people. Something happens in us when we pray with the unbelievers at the altar, teach home Bible studies or a Sunday school class and knock doors to invite people to church. The more we expose ourselves to such activities, the better we develop our burden for souls.
The mark of a true Christian is not the cross hanging somewhere in our churches nor a religious affiliation; Jesus said that others would know that we are His disciples if we have love for one another. The world is hurting, and we do not heal a broken heart with logic; we heal a broken heart with love. It is time to realize that this world still has hope, and this hope can only be found in the heart of a loving God and a loving church.
Raymart was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. As a third-generation apostolic believer, his exposure to the things of God developed a burning desire to be involved in the ministry. Three years ago, his desire moved him to Canada to become an international Bible college student at Northeast Christian College. He is a licensed minister with the Atlantic District of UPCI, the section 2 youth representative of the district, youth pastor of Ripples United Pentecostal Church, and a graduate school student at Urshan Graduate School of Theology pursuing Master of Arts in Christian Ministries (Intercultural Studies).