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Chapter 7 - Love - Emptied of Self, Filled with God
Truth can keep us from harmful entanglements, but love can overcome that within us that would harm us.
We start from a position of alienation from God. That which is from our 'natural' man is harmful and ultimately self-destructive.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. - Romans 7:18
For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. - Proverbs 1_29-31
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: - Ephesians 2:12
It is when we become Christian by trusting in Jesus that we receive regeneration. That which died in Adam and Eve (their spiritual nature and connection to God) is reformed in us. It is here that God comes to dwell in us. We now have within us two elements in opposition to each other.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; - Titus 3:5
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. - Galatians 5:16-17
This dual nature of a Christians like riding in a car with two engines and two gas tanks, but one set configured to take us only forward and the other to take us only backward. If we try to fill both gas tanks, the car will tear itself apart. One 'tank is filled with 'self' (the one that feeds the engine that takes us backward). The other tank is filled with love (selflessness) and takes us only forward.
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. - Romans 8:13
The Christian life is not achieved by only letting the fleshly 'gas tank' run empty. We need to fill the other tank as well. It is difficult to think of how something is 'filled' with selflessness. However, it is by emptying of self that a filling from God can occur. In fact, as self is emptied, it is to be replaced with God himself.
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, - Galatians 4:19
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. - Ephesians 3:19
Much of the Christian life is supposed to be about being 'filled'.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; - Ephesians 5:18
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; - Colossians 1:9
This gets to the heart of why many people see Christianity as a sort of fairy tale, because it seems to describe things that few who claim Christ ever experience or demonstrate. It is the purpose of this book to offer a way to 'cash in' on the promises of the bible and actually live according to what is described. The first step is to understand what is possible for the Christian. The next step is to understand why this is so often not achieved. The last section of the book describes how some of the obstacles can be navigated so that the goal of Christianity can be achieved.
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: - Colossians 1:27
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