Choosing Joy in Love

John 3:16, 1 John 4:18, Romans 5:1-5

We are living in a time of great fear. But what is fear? And what does fear have to do with Christmas? Well, first, fear is defined by The Merriam Webster Dictionary as, “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” 

Also, understand that fear is a highly contagious emotion especially in the face of uncertainty; and the days we live in are undoubtedly uncertain… And behind it all stands the enemy stirring our emotions and using the headlines to stir up anxiety and fuel fear.

Fear does not discriminate between young and old. My grandchildren are afraid of the dark, the unknown, what can’t be seen. And I know of many adults that are also living in fear of the unknown and what can’t be seen. But behind those fears I believe is the overall fear of death.

The love of God, His love for us, is for all the world, but it resides only in those who are justified by grace through faith. The love that has been poured into our hearts is His; God’s love is unselfish, compassionate, and unconditional. God loves you just as you are. Your condition and circumstances are irrelevant to His love for you. God’s love picks you up right where you are in life and carries you further than you could ever go on your own.

He gives those that are justified by faith His love so that we can give it away, no strings attached, no conditions, no restrictions. The love that has, and is, being poured into us, is to flow through us into those around us. When we love our neighbor with that love, it distinguishes us as His disciples, His Church, as Christians (see John 13:35).

Your actions reveal the fact of God’s love for you, and in you, as you choose to offer His love to those lost, hurting, and fearful. Sure, there are situations where it is hard to extend that love, but that is when you ask him to pour a little more into your heart so that you can pour out through your words and actions. That, brothers and sisters, is grace; the unmerited divine assistance of God which we have as Christians with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 

For God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment

2 Timothy 1:7

It was the power of the Spirit that launched the Church at Pentecost (Acts 1:8), it was the power of the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11). And that same power is now living in each and every Christian to help us overcome, to be strong, to be Christlike! 

This is the Spirit of Love! The Spirit of Christmas is the very love of God (God is Love). His love, God’s love resides in you and that perfect love drives out fear; there is no fear in God’s love.

So if you are afraid or anxious, you need to know the love of God, “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).

This is the love of God! That little baby’s birth that we celebrate, is God’s love. Jesus, born to die for you and me, born to die as a sacrifice for our sin, so that we could be justified, so that the penalty for your sin and mine and that of all mankind could be atoned for. The very son of God was beaten for you, bled for you, died for you, and was raised up for our justification (Romans 4:25). All because God loves and wants a relationship with you.

Remember Galatians 5:6, “What matters is faith working through Love,” that is your faith in the fact that God loves you as his Child, God loves you as His own possession, God loves you enough that He Sent his Spirit to enable us to live the new life we have in Christ. How did 1 John 4:16 read, “And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. The NIV And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” Do you believe? Do you rely on the love of God and act accordingly?

The Word of God tells us that,If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:1). This is the eternal life we have and God’s spirit is the down payment, “The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:14).

Is it any wonder that one of the definitions of sin is the failure to love?

Digging Deeper

  • Do you know God’s love?
  • Are you allowing that love to overcome the fear and anxiousness that the world is pushing?
  • Are you allowing God’s love to move you to love as He does?

Further Reading: Psalm 100:1-5, Psalm 118:1-4, 29, Lamentations 3:31-33, Ephesians 1:13-14, 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 3:1, 1 John 4:16-21 (18), 1 Peter 2:9

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