In chapters two and four of Acts we read that the disciples were of one heart and of one soul. But when we look back at the three years they walked with Jesus; that was not their spirit at all! They were showered in Jesus teachings for three years and yet that did not make them of one heart and one soul. But when the Holy Spirit came from Heaven and filled their hearts with the love of Jesus, they were of one heart and one soul.
Friends, that same Holy Spirit that brought the love of Heaven to the early disciples, longs to fill our hearts with that same love and unity. Literally nothing else will do that! We can listen to the best sermons and read the best teachings of love possible; as the disciples did. But that will not teach us to love unless the power of the Holy Spirit fills our lives and brings the love of Heaven into our hearts.
When we think of the church as a whole, we see so many divisions! And honestly, differences of opinion do not bother me in the least. It is a blessing that we have different temperaments and minds. The danger is that we allow hatred, bitterness, contempt and meanness to rear its ugly head over truths in God's word. On occasion we get caught up in what we think is right and it becomes more important than love. There is the danger that while we feel justified because we believe we are standing up for righteousness; we forget God's command to always speak the truth in love. We saw this during the Reformation between two great men of God in Luther and Calvin. They were mean and un-Christlike over the communion of all things! It was meant to be a bond of unity among believers and caused separation and division. All to often as Christians we allow dear and precious truths that are supposed to unify us to become mountains that separate us.
If we want to have great power in prayer. And if we want to have the Holy Spirit transforming our lives by Jesus living His life in us; then we must enter into a covenant with Jesus to fill us with love for one another.
Are you ready for that? Only the love that wants the very best for those that are hard to love and puts our enemies before ourselves is the love of Jesus. And friends, this love comes only from absolute surrender to God!
That absolute surrender is what allows the Holy Spirit to do His work in our lives. Unfortunately we have often degraded the Holy Spirit into a mere power to help us in our work! May God forgive us! I pray the Holy Spirit for you and me will be a power to fill us with the very life and nature of Jesus!
If you took the Gospel Challenge for 2020 and you started in Matthew you should be reading the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitude today. If you have the time I encourage you to read chapter 31 in the Desire of Ages as well. And remember that we are reading these chapters with the simple desire to get to know Jesus as a friend!
I love you!