- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2001 6 Aug
Here are some ways you can strive to be loving:
- Seek to fall in love with Christ by devoting yourself wholeheartedly to Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to transform every aspect of your life to draw you closer to Christ.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit will enable you to love all the people you encounter - not just the ones you naturally like. Try to see everyone as one of God's children, made in His image.
- Think of specific ways you can serve people you know, such as by helping someone with errands or writing someone an encouraging note. Schedule a time soon to act on each of your ideas.
- Consider the mercy and grace God has extended to you when you've made mistakes, confessed them and asked for His forgiveness. Know that, if you're not willing to forgive others for how they've hurt you, you're blocking God's power in your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you begin and work through the forgiveness process so you can love as God intends. God will bless your decision to forgive, and will enable you to do so. He will also heal your wounds, even if they're deep.
- Notice the powerful affect your words can have on people, and strive to use your words to bless people rather than to hurt them. Try to set a positive tone in all your interactions with people by speaking kindly. When speaking, make it your goal to build closer relationships. Take the time to think before speaking any words that could harm your relationships.
- Seek out the best for others in every situation, working to achieve results that will benefit all concerned instead of just yourself.
- Trust God to work in your life, and maintain hope, knowing that He has your best interests at heart. Don't be afraid to freely receive the gifts with which He might choose to bless you.
- Regularly thank God for His work in your life. Let your gratitude be a loving response to His love for you.
- Stop trying to prove yourself to other people. Instead, live only to please God, since His opinion is the only one that ultimately matters. Rest in His unconditional love for you and let your service to Him be motivated by your love for Him.
- Allow the Holy Spirit to break your heart when you encounter human need, to instill a greater sense of compassion within you. Continually ask God how He would like you to respond to needs you encounter. But be sure that God is calling you to invest in an effort before you undertake it. There are many good pursuits, but only some of them are the best for you. Remember that Jesus accomplished just what God wanted Him to on earth - no more, and no less.
Adapted from Love: Building Healthy Relationships from the Fruit of the Spirit Bible Studies, copyright 2001 by Peter Scazzero. Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.BibleStudyGuides.com, 1-800-727-3480.
Peter Scazzero is founder and senior pastor of New Life Fellowship in Queens, New York.