A Lesson in LOVE - Part 1

Welcome to The 9 Now! A weekly series revealing a view into the 9 Fruits of the Spirit.  During this series I will share a Word of Encouragement of how the intentional decisions we choose to respond with, impact ourselves and others.  I invite you to post a comment, quote, or scripture that would encourage others. Our decision to live in the Flesh or walk by the Spirit, is a choice we must all make daily.

As illustrated in the intro the first three attributes are provisioned by God, the next three are our choice in response, and the final three demonstrate the growth process. The first fruit in The 9 NOW series is LOVE.

WORLDLY LOVE…

The love explained in Galatians 5:22-24, is not like that of which the world largely expresses.  Worldly love is from the flesh and centered around a feeling. The love for jobs, money, technology, cars, etc. fall within what Greek mythology describe as: Eros (passionate), Philia (deep relationship), Ludus (playful), or Philautia (self-focused) love.

Love like this drives flesh-like reactions, some cannot wait to fall into it, and others cannot wait to get out of it.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF LOVE….

Paul explains a different kind of love, one which is Spirit led. The love I am referring to is, Agape love. Sacrificial love.  Unlike the love of the flesh, Agape love is a choice and our choice is the response we give. Through God’s provision, experiencing this kind of sacrificial love allows us to mature and grow. Have you personally experienced Agape love? 

For me, there are many moments I have seen sacrificial love in my life.  One however I wish to share with you today, deeply touched me. 

The day started out like most Sunday’s in our home, we shared a breakfast together and headed off to church. Upon returning home we recognized that our dog, Bentley, of 13 years was not being himself and about an hour later we experienced the first of the seizures he would go through over the next 24 hours. The next few hours were very tiring as the vet ran tests to identify what was triggering these episodes. We prayed and were hopeful that it would be something we could medicate. Finally, we received news that he was stabilized and we could take him home, but would need to monitor him and come back should any more seizures occur. Unfortunately, the following morning it all began again. I could sense that something was different this time. He was behaving as if he was fighting something, so I decided to head to the vet and be cautious.  I asked my wife to drive so I could hold him and help him through anything he might experience. Our youngest son, who grow up with Bentley, could not find it in himself to be there, for Bentley has been with him since he was three. Mile after mile, I felt more unsettled, and then it happened, Bentley experienced a 5-minute grand mal seizure. How could it be that I was both terrified and yet filled with immense love and gentleness at the same time? By this time my wife had pulled over and I moved outside the truck, kneeling, and gently caring for my beloved friend. After the episode finished, we continued on to the vet and explained what had transpired.  A decision must now be made; would we selfishly hold on to another moment with our dog or allow him to go. Certainly the most difficult decision my wife and I have ever faced in our 20 years of marriage. I praise God for that as well!

I notified my two boys and asked them if they wanted to be present and say their goodbye’s as we would have to put Bentley down that day. Our youngest declined due to the emotional toll the last 24 hours had on him, but our oldest requested that I come pick him up from his job site so he could say goodbye.

Once we returned back to the clinic, my wife communicated she was unable to go into the family room and let our dog go, it was just too hard to say goodbye. What happened next will forever remain in my heart as one of the most sacrificial displays of love I have personally witnessed or experienced. My eldest son, not wanting me to be alone, asked if he could join me.  As I sat holding our beloved, loyal, family member, I found myself also struggling to let go.  With tears rolling down my face and a heart deeply aching and yearning for another day, my son laid his hand upon my shoulder and said “Dad, I am here for you. It’s OK. I love you.” 

Can’t you just hear Jesus in that sentence?  _______, I am here for you! Don’t you feel His Love? I do!

It might be necessary to help those reading this to gain perspective on why my son’s actions were so meaningful to me. To do this you need to understand his day to day character.  While Alex is a very loving, caring and respectful young man, he is reserved and doesn’t tend to convey his emotions often.  He likes to keep to himself.  So when he demonstrated his true heart, the love I felt at that moment allowed me to let go. I know I was not alone and that memory will never leave me. I praise The Lord for my son’s response that day.

He chose to walk by the Spirit. He chose a moment with me, a moment where he would sacrifice revealing his heart, over being comfortable, for that I am eternally blessed.

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Each day you may be faced with a decision to respond to life in the flesh or to walk by the Spirit. There is a war being waged to influence our decision, and like all wars, one side will win and the other will lose.  The good news is this outcome is up to you. This has been a lesson in love.

Please share a comment, quote, or scripture that may help others to be encouraged today.  I pray this was for you!

The next fruit we will be Joy, stay tuned.

Until next time…

Chris Hewitt, the WOE Writer