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Chapter 3 - Perfect Harmony
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. - Matthew 22:37
God would have us live a holy life. The commandment to 'love' God is more than a suggestion that we make a brief expression of affection. Love in the biblical sense is selflessness. One might think of it as the complete surrender of any self-interest.
Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Resisting this command to love God is every inclination of our old nature to serve self. Paul describes clearly the frustration of dealing with this inclination;
For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not. For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practise. But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me. - Romans 7:18-20
Paul also tells us the solution;
Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? - Romans 7:24
Here we see that the solution to our sinful nature is no so much a 'how' or a 'what', but a 'who'. The solution is a new nature that comes through the regeneration of our spirit by the work of the Holy Spirit as a result of our faith in Jesus.
And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: - Ephesians 4:11-13
Here we see the plan of our salvation and regeneration, that we mature to the 'fullness of Christ'.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. - James 3:17-18
There is a process of Christian growth and maturity that we are supposed to follow as we mature in Christ. Similar to planting a crop, the Christian is to grow to produce a harvest accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. - Galatians 5:22-23
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