All you need is LOVE

Heart treeAnd thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)

Life has been so busy, I fully intended to write this post soon after and as a follow up to my post, Idol Talk, which I just realized I posted a month ago!

I’m sure you all can identify.

So, going back to my post of a month ago – remember I said that to me, it seems that all sin is a form of idolatry? Because, idolatry is when we turn to anything else but God through His Son Jesus Christ for fulfillment or satisfaction in this life.

So, what is the answer to this “sin which does so easily beset us”? The answer is the next verse in Hebrews 12:2 – “Looking unto Jesus”! When we look to Jesus for fulfillment or satisfaction in this life, we allow His Holy Spirit to guide and control us, and when we “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16), we will not fulfil the lust of the flesh. A little later in that chapter 5 of Galatians, Paul lists the works of the flesh, most of which we talked about in my previous post, and then he lists the fruit of the Spirit in verses 22 & 23.

Fruit”, like grapes, is what grows on a branch that is connected to a vine. That vine, through the branch, sends the nourishment, water, and the genetic makeup to that fruit in order to determine what kind of fruit it will be. If the branch does it’s job, and stays connected to the vine, it will produce good fruit. Spiritual “fruit” is what grows when we are abiding in Christ, the True Vine, we are the branches that will bear much good fruit if we stay connected and yielded to Christ through His Holy Spirit Who dwells in us once we are saved or born again (John 15).

So, let’s look briefly at those sins we talked about last time, and see how if we love God and walk in His Spirit, we can show forth the fruit of the Spirit which is the opposite of those sins – or, the antidote.

Remember: Greed, envy, lust, sloth, gluttony, anger, and pride?

The Spirit-filled opposite of Greed would be Love, self-sacrificing, agape love. Being content with what you have, and generously sharing it with others. “…It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

The antidote for envy is gentleness (kindness) and joy with thankfulness, helping others and putting their needs above your own, receiving the joy that you can only have from giving of yourself, and being thankful and content with what God has given you. Philippians 2:2 & puts it this way, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves”.

Goodness is the spiritual answer to Lust, Control your passion to desire more for yourself and use it to serve and help others. Let God’s goodness fill you as you yield more and more of yourself to His Holy Spirit. Renew your mind with His Word, meditating on it constantly and His goodness will fill you and flow out from you. Romans 12:2 saysAnd be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

If you feel slothful, ask the Lord to fill you with patience and faith to see the end results that come after putting in much hard work, and also with zeal and diligence to do a good job. Many times our hard work is not rewarded with instant gratification, but God encourages us in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Overcome Gluttony with temperance, letting God control your desires so you can do what pleases Him, and not feed your flesh. Be healthy in body so that you are fit to serve God and others, so you are not limited by being overweight and out of shape. “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things…But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:25,27).

Anger is eradicated with longsuffering, faith, gentleness, and peace. Take time to understand the needs and desires of others before acting and speaking. Forgive as you have been forgiven. A soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1), so keep a soft answer on your lips to keep you from angry words. Be patient and wait on the Lord for His timing and working in situations.

And of course, Pride is overthrown by humility or meekness. Get rid of that inflated ego, after all, everything we have and are was given to us by God (1 Corinthians 4:7). Replace it with a servant’s heart like Jesus’ (Matthew 20:28). Glory in God not yourself, edifying others, not yourself. Galatians 6:14,But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

So, fellow Christians, let’s yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit who lives inside us, so that He increases and we decrease (John 3:30).

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

The root determines the fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

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Idol Talk

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” (1 John 5:21) idol

Dear Readers,

My daughter just came home from a summer internship /missions trip to Guam, and as a joke to her brother who is just finishing seminary, she brought him back this little idol. Of course, it’s not a problem to him, he’s not going to bow down to it or worship it, that would make him an idolater.

Do you think of yourself as an idolater?

I don’t like to think of myself as one, I know I don’t bow down and worship statues, but, let’s talk about idols. I have been studying sins and virtues these last few weeks, and have come to a very convicting conclusion:

All sin is a form of idolatry.

So (talking of idols) idolatry is turning to anything other than God for our happiness, satisfaction and contentment. Now, I can’t speak for you, but I know myself and I know we humans all fight the same battles, and I know that my biggest idol is “ME”- what makes ME happy!

Think about the following sins:

Greed – If only I had more money, material things, could go shopping and buy whatever I want, then I would be happy!

Envy – If only I had the house, husband, money, lifestyle, children, or body that so-and-so has, then I would be happy!

Lust – If only I had my sexual or physical desires satisfied, then I would be happy!

Sloth -If only I could relax and watch TV, play video games, read, or sleep all day, then I’d be happy!

Gluttony – If I could just get my fill of that delicious food, then I’d be happy!

Anger – If people would just do what I want them to do, the way I want it done, then I’d be happy!

Pride – If people would just give me the respect, admiration, and attention I want, then I’d be happy!

Do you see how all of these sins make it “all about ME” instead of all about Him? THAT’S idolatry! They are all works of the flesh. This is what happens when we let the flesh rule us, the flesh takes a natural need or passion and takes it to excessive, abusive levels. When I turn to anything else but God through His Son Jesus Christ for fulfillment or satisfaction in this life, it is sin- IDOLATRY! God’s Word tells us to “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16).

And the sad thing is that all these things don’t satisfy us, oh they may for a short time, but it’s never enough, we always want MORE! Jesus is the only One who satisfies our longings because what we all are really longing for is Him! Wow! That went full circle, didn’t it? It’s no wonder John ended his epistle of 1 John with a warning about idols! (See 1 John 5:21 above)

So, how do I overcome this idolatry that is rampant inside me?

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin”. Romans 7:24-25

By Turning to Jesus, being close to Him, and allowing myself to be complete in Him, letting Him be my portion, and the fulfillment of my needs; and then allowing His Holy Spirit to work in and through me to serve and minister to others.

As the songwriter so aptly put it:

Complete in Thee—each want supplied, And no good thing to me denied;

Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be, I ask no more, complete in Thee.”

Next time I’ll talk about some Christ-like virtues and how, by walking in the Spirit, He will be manifested in us and these are the antidotes to that sin that so easily besets us (Hebrews 12:1).

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

When we talk about idols, our biggest idol is ourSELF