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We learn love by being loved.
That is, it comes from the Outside In.
That’s a very big deal. We learn, many of us, from parents and others when we are very young – what it’s like to have other, important, “big” people care about us and pay attention to us. Some of us did not get much of that. But it does help us to then be able to treat other people that way – to have enough self-respect and some ability to be aware of others, to see them and care about them.
But there is a higher, more demanding level of love –
a love that we need to have as we try to move through this difficult world as true Christ-followers – a love that will need to come from the INSIDE OUT.
We need it because it is stronger, more durable, there’s more of it –
because the world around us really needs it – because we are called by God to “love our neighbors as ourselves” – because we can get exhausted, or very angry trying to meet those enormous needs with our own resources.
CULTIVATE THE SOURCE –
TRAINING FROM PAUL the APOSTLE
In Ephesians 3:16-19 Paul prays two things for them, and they are clearly related.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
he prays that God will strengthen them (us) “by His Spirit in your inner being,” that is, that “Christ may dwell in your hearts.” He assumes that will make us be “rooted and grounded in love” – that is, we ourselves will be truly living in love and drawing on love for our strength and growth, our beauty, our productiveness – whatever is needed in our situations.
since that rooting is happening, he prays that we will get a grip on how huge that love actually is – start to see what an extremely valuable thing we are getting into here!
HOW IS THAT “INSIDE OUT”?
I believe that this makes us MUCH stronger in love than we would be if we had to rely on only what we grew up with (or without) or have developed through the years or have received from the world around us.
1. God – the Spirit – actually dwells within humans.
Who knows HOW that works? But many know THAT it works! We become friends of God, cultivate the Transforming Friendship, and God , it turns out, is into that. And we, to our own amazement and joy, find we are becoming more resilient, nicer and more loving persons. Not instantly, but really. Sweet!
2. Then we start to really get it –
how important, how strong, how extensive this love of God is. We start to get it because we start to see it in our own situations.
This Friendship with God takes
- and persistence.
But it turns out that the strongest love comes “from the inside out” because God the Spirit is actually bringing it alive deep within us.
- not sticking it on from the outside,
- not just trying to perform in ways that look loving.
“God IS Love;” therefore “Inside Out” actually works. No wonder they call it “Good News.”there is a higher, more demanding level of love - a love that we need to have as we try to move through this difficult world as true Christ-followers - a love that will need to come from the INSIDE OUT.Click To Tweet