2 Corinthians 12:15 How Much Will You Give Of Yourself For Others?

So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? 2 Corinthians 12:15

Normally people give of themselves in order to get something in return. They are more than willing to go the extra mile when there is a huge benefit for themselves in the end.

Sometimes that benefit may be physical benefits, such as money, while other times it is social/emotional benefits, such as accolades from others. Either way it is often for personal reasons that a person gives of themselves to another.

Paul reveals his concern for the Corinthians. He tells them that he is very willing to give completely of himself and everything he has for their benefit.

Jesus gave one hundred percent of Himself, when He died upon the cross, for each and every person to save them. He did not hold anything back that might be needed. And this was done while the people still hated Him and wanted nothing to do with Him.

Believers need to have the same attitude when being a witness for Jesus. However, many in the church are being just like those in the world, wanting the self praises of people. They will do ministry and reaching out to people, but they do the absolute minimum possible.

Some will hold back their best, because they are more concerned about themselves, than they are of others. As this is done, the world sees and understands that the believer really does not care for them.

When a believer gives of all he has, both physically and emotionally, the world will see it. They will see the love of God through that believer. In seeing that selfless love, people will choose to follow Christ.

As a believer God will always open doors for you to give of yourself and what you have in order to be a witness to others. You have a choice as to how much you are willing to give.

Be willing to give one hundred percent of yourself and what you have to reach the lost. As you give of yourself, God will pour back into you everything that you need and more.

Just as Jesus gave of Himself, and then God restored Him and exalted Him above all, so God will also restore you and raise you up. Do it with a willing and joyful heart.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; that you will love as God loves; that you will give of yourself to reach others for Jesus; that God will meet all of your needs; and that God’s kingdom will grow through you.

Fruit Of The Spirit: Love

Love on a fence

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 

In the book of Galatians, Paul is talking to the church in Corinth. He is looking at a church that is being divided in what it means to be a believer in Christ. Some were stuck on the old way of doing things, such as circumcision and what is ate. Others were saying that there was freedom in Christ.

Paul points out that there are two ways to walk in this life. One is in the flesh, which is living in sin and sinful ways. The other is living by the Spirit, God’s Holy Spirit, which is living in righteousness and holiness.

Man at two paths

The challenge now comes in as to what does it look like to be holy before God. What does it look like to live a holy life or to walk by the Spirit?

Actions that occur in life have results. These results show the true nature of the action. Driving too fast around a corner will result in a crash. Telling lies will result in being untrustworthy.

Plants grow up and bear some type of fruit. It is a result of the plant growing and maturing and doing what it is supposed to do. Each plant bears fruit in accordance to what type of plant it is. An apple tree cannot bear oranges, but only apples. A pear tree cannot bear apples, but only pears. It has to keep within its own nature and what it is supposed to do.

Apple tree

Just as there a signs of what something is by its fruit or results, there are signs and results in those who are believers in Jesus Christ. Every believer will want (or should want) to live and walk as Jesus did. He was always led by the Holy Spirit in everything that He did.

Believers who are walking as Jesus did by the Holy Spirit will bear the fruit of the Spirit. There are results that will show when one is walking with God.

The first fruit that I will be looking at is love.

Couple on a bench

Love is something that people talk about a lot. They fall in love, they fall out of love. They love something. They love someone. They love to do certain things. And the list goes on. Yet, what is love? Is this the love Paul was talking about as a fruit of the Spirit.

To find out what love is we must look to the bible and see what its definition is. The greatest short definition of love is found in 1 John:

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:8-10 

God is love and Jesus is the exact representation of God–love. God does not just tell us that He loves us, but He shows His love for us.

It is easy to say that you love someone or something, but it is harder to prove it. It takes effort on your part to show it.

Showing effort is easy sometimes. When things that are going well for you or people are treating you well, it is easy to say that you love that something or someone.

Running stairs

The real test of your love comes when things are not going well and others are not treating you correctly. You may love your car when it is running correctly, but it is easy to begin to hate and despise it when it keeps breaking down or has faults in it. How you react to the situation or person determines if you are showing love, if you really love the person.

Most often when someone treats a person badly, the reaction is anger and striking back, retaliation. People want to get back at the person or get even with him. Does this show love?

No, it shows selfishness and hatred.

Selfish me

Selfishness is the exact opposite of love. Love is all about the other person, whereas selfishness is all about self.

Look back at the verse John wrote. God showed His love by sending His Son as a sacrifice for your sins. Love is action, not just words. It is self-sacrificing action for others. Love is putting others above yourself, your needs, wants and desires.

This is the very opposite of what the world wants and displays. The majority of the world is all about self. This even occurs when large donations are given. The donations are given for a tax break or to look good to others, not out of true love. Often the donations are given out of the abundance, not out of the limited and need, or sacrificially.

Giving blood

Sadly many in the church have fallen into the same way of thinking as the world. People do various ministries in order to look good to God or to other people. They want to be seen as holy and righteous, when in reality they are very selfish.

Showing the love God shows will often be difficult and painful. The one who shows true love will often get hurt by the ones they are showing love to. Yet, this is what God wants of the believer.

We, as believers and followers of Jesus, are to be just like God–love. We should be the embodiment of love, love incarnate.

As you are led and walking by the Holy Spirit, you will begin to show that perfect love. It may not be perfect, but it is striving towards the perfect love of God each and every day. Love will govern every thought, action and word each and every moment of every day. It will never take a day off from loving. It will never set love aside for selfish reasons or to get out of the struggle to love.

Love tiles on bible

The other benefit of showing true love is that you will not sin when showing that love. You will love God, so you will not do anything against God. You will love people, so you will never try to hurt them in any way on purpose. You will make the right choices every time, because they are motivated by love and by God’s love for you.

Seek God to reveal to you how your love life is. Is it an example of the temporary, selfish love that the world shows? Or is it the love that God has for you and this world, perfect, unselfish and self-sacrificing?

Allow God’s Holy Spirit to fill you up with His love. Allow His love to govern your every thought, action and word. Let the fruit of love be evident to every person who sees you.

Thank you for stopping by and reading. Next week I will be looking at the next fruit–joy.

Ephesians 5:25 For The Husbands

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” Ephesians 5:25

Many people, especially the men, love to remind people of Ephesians 5:22, that wives are to submit to their husbands. Many women do not like that verse. People like to forget about today’s verse just a few verses further. It is a command to the husband.

Yes, husbands are supposed to be the head of the household. They are over their wife. Alongside that, however, they are supposed to do that with the same love that Jesus had for the church.

What kind of love did Jesus have? It was a self-sacrificing love. When people hated Him and wanted to kill Him, He showed His love by dying for them. Even as the people killed Jesus on the cross, He was asking God the Father to forgive them. Jesus was willing to do whatever it took to save people from their sins.

Husbands, you are supposed to have this same type of love for your wife. Are you willing to sacrifice your time, money, work, pleasures, relaxation and anything else for your wife?

There are many husbands who come home from a hard day at work demanding a meal on the table when they walk in the door. Immediately after the meal they are sitting down watching the latest sports game on television, or they are taking off to go do some fishing, or be with other men. They are not willing to do something for their wife or what she desires.

As the husband you are supposed to be looking out for the best interest of your wife. You are supposed to be building her up in Jesus. If you are taking the time to please yourself, will you build her up? If you are demanding that she does everything as you sit and relax, will that build her up?

Spend some time on your wife today. Take notice of what she needs. Give her a break from cleaning, taking care of the children, cooking, or what ever other things she does. Pamper her with love, the same love Jesus had for you. Be the real man Jesus was, not a demanding, greedy, tyrant the men of the world are.

I pray today that you will know how to show love to your wife as Jesus did; that you will be sacrifice yourself for your wife; that you will know the love Jesus has shown you; and that your marriage will be strong with Jesus at the center of it.