Can I share something with you?
There are times when my flesh (my selfish, sinful nature) tries to take over my heart, and I don’t want to do the things I know I should be willing to do. Things such as: patiently waiting waiting for the lady in front of me to get through the check-out line when I’m in a hurry; being gentle with my words when I’m angry; keeping the peace with my argumentive family member; kindly helping my neighbor when I have a long list of things to do; using self-control to say no to that extra piece of cake, or choosing to find joy in my circumstances when nothing is going the way I want it to.
In those moments—when my flesh tries to take over—the truth gets a little hazy, and I forget that it’s not always about what I want. It’s about having a heart that’s willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus, helping those who are in need and sharing the love of Christ.
I know I should be ready to extend the love of Christ with everyone in my path, but I struggle to walk this out in my everyday life.
Maybe you struggle with this too?
As Christ followers we are called to bring the hope of Jesus—and be the salt and light—to a hurting world (Matthew 5:13). But we can’t be the salt and light if we allow our flesh (our sinful, selfish desires) to rule our hearts. To overcome our selfish desires, we’ll need to cling to the truth in God’s word, seek His help and rely on His strength.
Cling to God’s Word
God’s word helps put things back in perspective so that we can remember to love like Jesus. —Tweet this!
When I’m struggling to love like Jesus, I remember what it says in John 3:16: God loves us, and because He loves us, He sent His son, Jesus (who willingly took our place on the cross [1 John 3:16]), to die for our sins so that all who believe in Him can have eternal life. Reminding myself of God’s divine love and goodness helps put things back into perspective. With the truth fresh on my mind, I’m compelled to set aside what I want so that I can love like Jesus.
Lean on God’s Strength
Leaning on God helps us win the battle against our flesh. —Tweet this!
Being the strong-willed, independent sort of girl that I am, I have a hard time asking for help. But I’ve learned that I can’t do everything in my own strength. When I’m weak, I need to lean on God for strength—especially when it comes to fighting my selfishness (James 4:7; 1 Corinth. 10:13).
“As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.” Psalm 138:3 NLT
When we need the strength to overcome our flesh all we have to do is ask. And because God is faithful, we can trust Him to provide us with the strength to put aside what we want so that we can faithfully do what we’re called to do and share the love of Christ with others.
Seek God Through Prayer
Prayer helps us cultivate a heart that’s willing to love like Jesus. —Tweet this!
As with any relationship, the more time we spend with someone, the better we will know them. And the better we know them, the more likely we are to be influenced by them. It’s the same with prayer.
Only God has the power to change the desires of our heart. When we spend time in prayer it does a few things: it keeps us connected to God, helps us to create and maintain an intimate relationship with Him, and helps to align our hearts with His will. The more we spend time with God in prayer, the more our desires will line up His desires.
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity…”
Jeremiah 29:12-14 NIV
Here is a prayer for when we need help cultivating a heart that loves like Jesus:
Lord, I praise you for your perfect love! Please forgive me when my selfishness prevents me from sharing the love of Christ with others. Lord, I ask that you supply me with your wisdom, strength, and power so that I can stand against temptation and win the battle against my flesh. Help me to cultivate a heart that is willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Lord, please give me the strength to set aside what I want, so that I can willingly share your love with those around me. Thank you for your grace and for sending your son, Jesus, who was willing to take my place on the cross, so that I could be forgiven and have eternal life. In Jesus name, I pray Amen!
When we abide in the Love of the Cross, that same love will pour out into everything we do. —Tweet this!
Loving others isn’t always easy. When I’m struggling to walk in love—or any of the other fruits of the spirit—it’s because I’m not abiding in Christ. But when I remember to cling to the truth in God’s word, seek Him through prayer and rely on his strength, I can joyfully do what I know He’s calling me to do.
This post is a part of my current series, Sweet Smelling Fruit—Cultivating a Heart that Lives by the Spirit. Currently, we have been taking a look at the Fruit of Love. If you would like to read past articles from this series click here.
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Thank you for joining me today. ~Kelly
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