What is Love?

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We’ve heard it said that “All we need is love.”
Countless songs have been written about it.
Everything from “Love is a battlefield” to “What’s love got to do with it?
Meatloaf would “Do anything for love” except that one thing.
Huey Lewis asked “Do you believe in love?
Whitney and Dolly both claimed that they would “Always love you.”
Stevie Wonder, always romantic, would “just call to say I love you.”
Barry White never could seem to get enough of it.
And the list goes on and on about this crazy little thing called love.
But what is love?
Can you define it?
Let’s see what Dictionary.com says:
noun
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
6. a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
7. sexual intercourse; copulation.
verb (used with object), loved, loving.
15. to have love or affection for: All her pupils love her.
16. to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person).
17. to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in: to love music.
18. to need or require; benefit greatly from: Plants love sunlight.
19. to embrace and kiss (someone), as a lover.
20. to have sexual intercourse with.
I suppose that definition does fit what our modern culture thinks. That’s what the songs seem to think it is. A strong feeling about another person, that will likely result in sex- hence “Making Love” – because, after all, is there any greater expression of that feeling?
And what’s more, is that buried in that definition is also the implication that this is something you cannot control. It is an emotion, a passion, a desire. Hence “Falling in Love”. A quick Google search will reveal that popular opinion is that you can’t help who you fall in love with – and if you feel that kind of love for someone the only logical conclusion that it find it’s culmination in copulation as soon as possible – before the feeling passes.
But how does that concept gel with the place in scripture where John says:
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
If we go by what our culture says – that means that God is the personification of a “profoundly tender, passionate affection” or  a “feeling of warm personal attachment” or perhaps even a “sexual passion.”
 
And not only that, but he is an uncontrollable emotion.
Is that what God is? Is that what love is?
And when Jesus said: “A new command I give you, that you love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Was he commanding us to feel affection for each other, to desire each other sexually? And how can he even command us to have an uncontrollable emotion?
If we go with the current official and popular definition of love – then what other option does it leave us with?
 
If this is all we have to go on, what other conclusion can we come to?
 
Hence the world that we see around us…
This is why we must be diligent. This world is owned, for the time being, by the father of liesand the lies are so deep and so subtle and so easy to believe because they feel good – that we can easily go our whole life never even noticing.
Which is why Christ gave us the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Ephesians 4
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
If you were with us this summer as we launched the new Reality 2.0, or if you recently went through our membership course, this passage should be familiar to you. It is saying that my job as your pastor is to equip you and build you up, to teach you the truth so that you will not be influenced when the world tries to trick you with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
And my friends, we have been lied to for a LONG time about LOVE.
We all know that the Bible, and especially the New Testament, and Jesus himself are all about LOVE. Even the non-believers point that out and shove it in our faces when we try to suggest that something they are doing might be wrong – because LOVE today means that you agree with everything I say and do, but it doesn’t mean I do the same for you.
The concept of LOVE today bears almost NO resemblance to what the LOVE found in the Bible is all about
which means that as you read your Bible, not knowing this, and assuming that when it says LOVE that it’s referring to what the movies portray, then you can come away with a completely erroneous understanding of God’s Word.
Which, at the least will lead to some serious confusion, and at the worst, cause you to live a lifestyle that shames the name of Jesus, all while believing He told you to do it, or is at least OK with it.
And that, my friends, is what I am called by God to help prevent. So, for today and the next few weeks, try to empty your mind of what you think you know about LOVE, and let’s look into God’s Word to see what it really is and how it can totally change your life!!
In order to understand what kind of love the Bible refers to, we need to go to the original language – which is Koine Greek.
In English, we only have one word for all forms of “Love” – but in Greek, they have four: agapephileostorge, and eros.
Eros (ἔρως) is sexual/romantic love – this is an emotion. It’s where we get our word “erotic.”
  • This is the “falling in love” kind of love.
  • This is the love of “lovers.”
  • This is NOT “friend” love or “family” love.
  • This is the primary kind of love that “love” stories are about, and is the focus of the holiday coming up next week: Valentine’s Day.
  • This is the love of hearts and chocolates and cupid and the marital bed.
  • The meaning of this word, EROS, is the predominant concept of LOVE in the modern world.
  • AND this word is found NOWHERE in the Bible.
  • Not a single “love” in the New Testament is referring to this kind of love.
  • So, that “LOVE WINS” movement…which is clearly referring to this kind of love…is anything but biblical.
Storge (στοργή) is a familial love, the feeling of that connection and affection between family members – whether blood or otherwise – this is the kind of love that a church family can feel for each other. This is found one place in Scripture:
Romans 12
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
In verse 10 – Be devoted to one another in love. This is actually two words that are conjugates and combinations of the Greek words Storge and Phileo.
One is philostorgos – which is the “devoted” part – it is a familial, brotherly, bond that brings us together. The other word in this sentence is philadelphia, often translated as “brotherly love” because it’s root is the other Greek word for love:
Philia  φιλία is brotherly/friendship love, affection for a friend – this is an emotion. This word is found in several places in the Bible. It can be used in reference to a person or a thing. Just like how we can love our best friend, but also love chocolate.
One example is in a statement where Jesus is criticizing the Pharisees:
Matthew 23:6
they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;
It is also sometimes translated as a kiss, such as when Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss:
Matthew 26:48
Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.”
But it’s more common use is the feeling of love for a friend. One notable occurrence of this is at the end of John. Jesus had come back from the dead and had appeared to Peter and a few of the disciples as they were fishing. As he was eating breakfast with them he had this conversation with Peter.
John 21
15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
Now, with just the English, this seems like an odd repetition. But look at it in the Greek:
John 21
Jesus: Simon…do you love (agape) me more than these?
Peter: Yes, Lord; you know that I love (phileo) you.
Jesus: Simon…do you…love (agape) me?
Peter: Yes, Lord, you know that I love (phileo) you.
Jesus: Simon…do you love (phileo) me?
Peter: [Grieved] “Lord…you know that I love (phileo) you.”
Turns out Jesus kept asking because Peter never really answered the question. Then Peter was hurt when Jesus asked him what he’d been answering all along.  I won’t get into the meaning of that exchange today, perhaps another time. But isn’t it interesting how that passage makes more sense when you know the real words?
Anyway, I think you get it. We have one word for “love” and now I’ve covered three from the Greek: EROS, STORGE, and PHILEO
Notice that our English definition tracks pretty well with these three Greek words for love. They are all emotions of affection, caring, tenderness, devotion – and even sexual (though that one is never in the Bible).
But STORGE is only used once,
and PHILEO about 25 times
out of the 280 or so times “love” is mentioned in the New Testament. All other references to “love” are the Greek word AGAPE
When John says “God is LOVE” – he says “God is AGAPE”
So, what is “Agape”? I’ll tell you this much – you won’t find it in our modern definition of “Love”. So, we have to look in Scripture to find out what it is. And fortunately for us – Paul did a good job of spelling it out in the famous “love” chapter – 1 Corinthians 13
Let’s read it.
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
It’s a beautiful passage. Often used at weddings. It can certainly bring up those emotions we’ve been talking about as we think about those we love and those that love us. As you read briefly through those attributes of love – who wouldn’t want that? But on closer inspection – is that the love we find on Dictionary.com – or displayed in the world all around us? Is it even the love we ourselves express or feel?
Let’s take a closer look:

Love is…

  • Patient –
    • μακροθυμέω (makrothumeó)
    • long suffering
    • This is not just calmly waiting in traffic or a waiting room or while your wife get’s dressed…again. Love’s patience is the ability to be inconvenienced or taken advantage of by a person over and over again and yet not be upset or angry.
    • Chrysostom, the early church Father, said, “It is a word which is used of the man who is wronged and who has it easily in his power to avenge himself but will never do it.”
    • Patience never retaliates. (MacArthur)
  • Kind –
    • χρηστός (christos)
    • “Sweet to All” – Barclay/Origen
    • Active Goodwill – MacArthur
    • It’s that POSITIVE love I’ve spoken on before, where you actively seek out ways to do good to others.

Love is NOT…

  • Jealous
    • ζηλόω (zéloó)  – can be positive or negative depending on context
    • not that you want what they have, but you want them to lose what they have if you don’t have it – mean spirited – Barclay
    • Jealousy is supremely selfish, either wanting for yourself what others have or wanting them not to have what you don’t have
    • “If I can’t be happy, no one can”
 
 
  • Boastful
    • περπερεύομαι (perpereuomai) a show off
    •  a “show off” wanting all the attention
    • Bragging puts ourselves first. Everyone else, including God, must therefore be of less importance to us.
    • It is impossible to build ourselves up without putting others down.
    •  Proverbs 27:2 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.  
  • Proud –
    • φυσιόω (phusioó) – puffed up, arrogant
    • Acting as if your good station in life is of your own doing, rather than a gift from God
    • This can take on two forms:
      • Self-Righteous – I follow all the rules. I’m a good person. I’m better than you.
      • Free License – I have such a strong faith that I can do anything I want and know that I’m forgiven. You people with your week consciences feel like you have to follow all these rules, but my conscience is strong so I can even do things that might seem like sin because me and God are tight!
  • Rude –
    • ἀσχημονέω (aschémoneó)irritable – graceless (Barclay) – being offensive because you can
    • It does not care enough for those it is around to act becomingly or politely. It cares nothing for their feelings or sensitivities. The loveless person is careless, overbearing, and often crude.
    • “Just deal with it” kind of attitude
    • The bad kind of “keeping it real”
  • Self – Seeking
    • ζητεῖ τὰ ἑαυτῆς zéteó (seek) ta (the) heautes (self)
    • Demand its own way
    • insist upon it’s rights at the expense of other’s
  • Easily provoked
    • παροξύνω (paroxunó) – easily angered, easily offended
    • The loveless person has no problem offending others, but cannot tolerate being offended him/herself
    • This does not rule out righteous indignation. To be angered by the mistreatment of the unfortunate or by the maligning and contradiction of God’s Word is righteous indignation. But when it is truly righteous, indignation will never be provoked by something done against us personally. When Jesus cleansed the Temple, He was angered at the profaning of His Father’s house of worship. But on the many occasions when He was personally vilified or abused, He did not once become angry or defensive.
    • 1 Peter 2:23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

Love does NOT…

  • Keep a record of wrongs
    • λογίζομαι (logizomai) – literally an accounting term – where we get “logic” from
    • Someone once suggested that love does not forgive and forget, but rather remembers and still forgives.
    • It’s no longer holding it against the person.
    • Love FORGIVES
  • Delight in Evil –
    • χαίρει ἐπὶ τῇ ἀδικίᾳ (adikia) – rejoice in unrighteousness
    • To rejoice in unrighteousness is to justify it. It is making wrong appear to be right. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil,” Isaiah warns, “who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness”. That is turning God’s truth upside down.
    • This one aspect of true AGAPE LOVE rules out the false notion that is so prevalent that to love someone means you are approving and condoning of everything and anything they do, good or evil. God’s love does NOT delight in evil, does not condone evil, does not tolerate evil. Yes, God loves you just as you are. But He loves you too much to leave you that way.
    • It is also rejoicing when another falls into sin, or messes up, or gets in trouble.
    • Gossip is a form of this. Whispering about the bad things another has done – taking glee in another’s downfall

Love does…

  • Rejoice with the Truth
    • συνχαίρει δὲ τῇ ἀληθείᾳ (alétheia) – not just factual truth, but God’s truth, absolute truth
    • Caring that another knows the truth
    • Not being ok with a loved one believing a lie
    • Not pointing out another’s faults – but pointing them toward the Truth by how you live and love
    • We stand for truth and abhor evil – not at the detriment of others so as to lift myself up, but at the benefit of others even at the detriment of myself.
    • Truth is so important that it is the reason Jesus came to earth:
    • John 18:37 For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.

Love ALWAYS…

  • Protects
    • στέγω (stegó) – bears all things, covers over another’s faults
    • basically means to cover or to support and therefore to protect. Love bears all things by protecting others from exposure, ridicule, or harm. Genuine love does not gossip or listen to gossip.
    • Even when a sin is certain, love tries to correct it with the least possible hurt and harm to the guilty person.
    • Love never protects sin but is anxious to protect the sinner.
    • This does NOT equal approving of another’s sin, but hoping to bring them to repentance with the least amount of public ridicule.
 
  • Believes
    • πιστεύω (pisteuó) – the best in others
    • benefit of the doubt
    • innocent until proven guilty
    • Even if guilty, assume good motive
  • Hopes
    • ἐλπίζω (elpizó) – for the best for others
    • Even when belief in a loved one’s goodness or repentance is shattered, love still hopes.
    • When it runs out of faith it holds on to hope.
    • As long as God’s grace is operative, human failure is never final.
    • If God can save a wretch like me – then there must still be hope for them.
  • Endures
    • ὑπομένω (hupomenó) – like a military last stand
    • After love bears it believes.
    • After it believes it hopes.
    • After it hopes it endures.
    • There is no “after” for endurance, for endurance is the unending climax of love.
    • Hence – Love never fails.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always believes, always hopes, always perseveres.
That is what REAL LOVE is. It’s not an uncontrollable feeling.
 
It is a conscious choice. Intentional behavior that above all else, seeks the ultimate good for the object of love – even to the detriment of self.
This is the love of God. This is the love spoken of in almost all of the New Testament. This is the love that God is.
John 3:16
For God so loved the world…
John 15:13
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The ultimate expression of love is Jesus himself. While we were in the midst of rejecting him – he laid down his life for us.
We see movies and hear songs where the hero is willing to die for the person he loves – but you don’t see him willing to die for someone who hates him back. Or die for an enemy.
Jesus died for us when only a handful of people actually even liked him. The rest were shouting “crucify him”.
That is love.  It’s wonderful. It’s amazing. I’m so glad that God loves me like that.
But how in the world can he ask me to do the same thing?
 
John 13:34-35
A new command I give you, that you love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
 
That’s AGAPE love he’s talking about. 1 Corinthians 13 love. We are commanded to treat each other that way.
 
I can barely hold on to one of those attributes at a time – and that’s only until I have to sit in traffic.
How am I supposed to do all those things for every person I come in contact with? Does Jesus really expect us to behave this way?
Can’t we just stick with the touchy feely warm and fuzzy kind of love?
It’s no wonder that this definition of love has been removed from our modern dictionary, because I honestly don’t think ANYONE can pull this AGAPE kind of love off!
And the truth is that we really can’t. 
But that doesn’t excuse us.
Not only is it a command (not a suggestion) but it is the means by which the world will know Jesus! By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
If we don’t love each other this way, then they won’t really know who Jesus is because we will look no different from them. This Love that Jesus commanded us to show is not just so we can all feel good about each other, but so that we can show the world that is lost what they are missing in Jesus.
They won’t only KNOW we are Christians by our love.
 
They will want to BE Christians like us BECAUSE of our love.
When we claim the name of Christ but do not love this way, it is the best way to turn someone off of Christ forever. It’s that important.
So, how do we do it?
The great thing about God, one of them, is that
He never asks us to do something that he is not prepared and willing to equip us to do.
He does not command us to Love this way without also supernaturally giving us the ability to do so. But as you’ve probably realized, this ability is not automatically activated – so to speak. As with all things of God, He is a gentleman. He never forces himself or his ways upon us.
As with most things, how much of God’s power we have in our life simply comes down to a choice.
Follow me on this:
In another letter written by Paul that is often quoted, he lists what he calls the “Fruit of the Flesh” and the “Fruit of the Spirit”.  Let’s read it in Galatians 5
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Notice this list is basically what we see in the world today – and much of it we see in ourselves. You could say that list is effectively the OPPOSITE of what LOVE DOES.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Notice what the first one is: Love.
And if you take a hard look, you will find that this list of Spirit Fruit marries well with the attributes of love in 1 Corinthians. Patience and Kindness are even the same Greek words.
But do you know what this means?
It means, like the other fruit of the Spirit, Love is not something you can do on your own. It’s something that the Holy Spirit does through you when you let Him.
It’s not something you can self-will yourself into doing except maybe in very short spurts. I mean, look at that list. The kind of love that Jesus is demanding from us has nothing to do with how we feel about people, but in how we treat them. With every single person we come in contact with, we are to
  • be PATIENT with them
  • be KIND to them
  • Not be Jealous of them
  • Not be Boastful around them
  • Not be Prideful around them
  • Not be Rude to them
  • Not be Self-Seeking with regard to them
  • Not be Easily Angered by them
  • Keep no record of their wrongs against me
  • Not be OK with their wrongdoing, and not be happy when they get in trouble,
  • But be ever seeking for them to know the truth and rejoice when they do
  • Always protective of their reputation
  • Always believing the best in them
  • Always hoping for the best in them
  • And never giving up on them.
Even our enemies. Jesus tells us to AGAPE love our enemies.
Clearly this is impossible for us, but it is expected nonetheless, therefore we DESPERATELY need the help of the Holy Spirit, because without Him, we default to the fruit of the flesh – which includes anything but this kind of love.
So, how do we let the Spirit do these things?
For that, let’s look at another letter of Paul – the one he wrote to the Romans. This passage, more than any other, illustrates the human situation and what we are to do about it. I’ve read it before, and I’ll read it again. We all would do well to memorize it.
In Romans 7, Paul lays out the dilemma that we all find ourselves in:
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Romans 8
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
The Human Predicament
Our default state from the day we are born is that we are slaves to the flesh, to sin. Our sin nature that we inherited from Adam resides in our flesh, our human body. 
Jesus came along and freed us from that slavery to sin, to the flesh, with his death on the cross.
And in doing so, he also gave us a new nature. When you make Jesus Christ your Lord, and you believe in Him for the forgiveness of your sins. You become a new creation with a new spirit inside of you. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ – living inside of you.
But you still live in this sinful body, so the FLESH is still there.
Which means you are presented with a choice.
Paul spells it out. Inside of every Christian there are effectively three people.
  • There is the FLESH/SIN NATURE.
  • There is the SPIRIT.
  • And there is YOU.
Your mind is stuck in the middle and must choose which one to follow.  Because as I’ve explained in a previous talk, your mind cannot operate independently. All it can do is choose which master to serve. 
And so, here we are. Before Christ, you are a slave to sin. You don’t have a choice. He breaks the chain, and now you can choose. As Paul says, you are no longer obligated to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.
But, what do we often do? We pick that chain up and choose to let the flesh control us. And you can see what it leads to. And as Paul said, the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
So, as long as you voluntarily hold onto the chain that once bound you, you will NEVER be able to please God.
You will NEVER be able to LOVE the way God has commanded you to love.
AND you will never EXPERIENCE that love either.
Sure, it will be given to you. God’s love is always on you, and you can even be given the love of others, but as long as you remain a slave to your flesh – that love will never penetrate to your heart, and you will spend your days longing for love and looking for it in all the wrong places.
You will chase after PHILEO and STORGE and especially EROS love but will always find it lacking, because what you really need is AGAPE love. But AGAPE love does not force it’s own way, thus YOU have to choose to let it in.
Ultimately THAT is the choice to let Jesus in. 
But once He is in and you have your new nature, you must also CHOOSE to stop letting it drag you around and INSTEAD choose to follow the SPIRIT. Choose to LIVE IN the SPIRIT.
And actually, it really is that simple. It’s simply a choice. A choice you make in your mind and in your heart.
In fact, a practice I learned from a good friend and mentor that I now practice regularly is this.
Each day, in the morning and throughout the day, I say or think or write this:
I choose to live in the spirit. And choosing it makes it so.
And that’s our KEY CONCEPT today:

I AM COMMANDED TO LOVE.

LOVE IS A FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.

TO LOVE, I MUST CHOOSE TO LIVE IN THE SPIRIT.

AND CHOOSING IT MAKES IT SO.

And what that really means is that I am choosing to trust in God and do what He says throughout the day as I feel Him leading me.
And when you do that, and reinforce it by filling your head with the things of God so that HIS voice will be the loudest in your head. You can go through your day literally living IN the Spirit. And the SPIRIT living through you will make you a person of
JOY
PEACE
PATIENCE
KINDNESS
GOODNESS
GENTLENESS
FAITHFULNESS
SELF CONTROL
a person of
LOVE
AGAPE LOVE
GOD’S LOVE
AND THE WORLD WILL KNOW THAT WE ARE CHRISTIANS BY OUR LOVE.
BETTER YET.
THEY WILL COME TO KNOW CHRIST HIMSELF BY HOW WE LOVE.
AND THAT IS HOW LOVE WINS.
Let’s Pray