Written by: Stephanie Petska
“ But the fruit of the Spirit is love…” Galatians 5:22 NIV
What is love? Is it a feeling? Is it an expression? Is it easy to give? Or do we hold back because of past experiences? Should it be connected to experience at all?
I have shown love and I have received love. I have experienced love that feels easy and love that is entangled with brokenness and loss. But the greatest love I have experience, the best love I have produced, comes from the Holy Spirit inside me.
After the loss of my son, I developed a deep sense of understanding. I wanted to be kind to everyone not knowing what burdens they are carrying. But becoming a Christian in my time of healing gave me an even greater perspective of loving beyond my circle.
You see, it’s easy to love those we hold near and dear, the ones we trust and who love us back. But how do we love those who have hurt us, betrayed us, or inflicted pain in our lives? How does one show love to a stranger?
Navigating our hearts to love through brokenness and hardship seem like an impossible task. And it is, in our own strength. But when our flesh wants to do anything but love, the spirit can intercede and allow a supernatural shift to occur.
That deep love inside our soul feels like an overwhelming rush of peace that can only be explained as spirit-led. A small voice inside our hearts whispers, “This feels right, this is the love of Jesus pouring out of me.”
“Love means giving up-yielding my preferences, comfort, goals, security, money, energy, or time for the benefit of someone else.” -Rick Warren.
Recently, my heart had become bitter, hard, and distant towards someone close to me. Betrayal had put a wall up. I felt a nudge, a prompting – something pressing into me to love this person where they were at and accept their new life, but my flesh just didn’t want to.
Prayer and surrender were the only antidotes against the bitterness that had settled within. Once I did, I felt a peaceful warmth wash over me and tears filled my eyes. It was a much needed divine intervention. It was grace, forgiveness, and love all wrapped into one.
“If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit” John 15:5 NIV
I long to be more Christ-like and yet I find I fail miserably at times. I am human and I get in my own way. Don’t we all?
I am grateful we have a forgiving, loving God who extends a hand of grace. I am grateful that He has placed His spirit in us, allowing us to produce love that is out of this world.
I pray next time I get it “right” with the help of God’s spirit inside me so that all who I encounter, even strangers at a grocery store, can see Christ’s light shine and feel His big and life-changing love.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV