Unless the Spirit of the LORD Jesus lives in our hearts, there is no reason to talk about our desires and actions. They are ALL ungodly. And, if we think that riches are an indication of godliness:
6 Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse.
8 Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.
Wash and make yourselves clan. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:16-17
Ephraim [Israel] boasts, “I am very rich; I have become wealthy. With all my wealth they will not find in me any iniquity or sin.” Hosea 12:8
So righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed [fallow, wild] ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. Hosea 10:12
So, if wealth and power are not the key to godliness, then what is?
LOVE. GOD’S LOVE.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God lives in them. 1 John 4:16b
In this world we are like Jesus…We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:17b, 19
I see love expressing itself in two ways, affection and compassion. God has both for us. We are to learn to have both, as well.
Affection– fond attachment, devotion, or love: emotion, feeling, sentiment.
Compassion– a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
Jesus had compassion on the people (Matthew 9:36, 15:32, 20:34, Mark 1:41, 6:34, 8:2, Luke 8:2). He had great affection for His disciples (John 13:34-35, 15:15, 17:6-19). We can learn to do the same by following the verses given us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
From HEARING GOD by Peter Lord:
“God is love and it seems that’s the only force He is going to use with us.” Satan wants us to think that God thinks like us. Let’s take a look at the difference:
What God thinks vs. How Satan wants us to believe
God is Patient vs. Impatient-“God is taking too long. You can’t trust His timing.”
God is Kind vs. Merciless-“They don’t deserve kindness. You don’t deserve kindness.”
God is not Envious vs. Envy- “He/she has more ___________ than you.”
God is not Boastful or Proud vs. Self-sufficient and Arrogant- “I don’t need anyone.” “Look at what I have done for myself.”
God is not Rude vs. Damaging Words- “They’re not worth His love.” “You’re not worth His love.”
God is not demanding of His own way vs. Self-centered, uncaring and apathetic attitude about the needs and opinions of others. “It’s my way or the highway.”
God is not Irritable vs. Easily irritated, short temper, having unrealistic expectations (or unspoken ones)
God Keeps No Record of Wrongs vs. Reminders of our failures- “You’ve failed too many times and hurt too many people. You’ll never be pleasing to God.”
God Rejoices in Truth vs. Lies and Deceptions- Satan is the father of lies. The world’s culture is built upon deception. “All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me.”
God Never Gives Up vs. Despair- “You’ll never make it; you’ll never win.” “You’ll never be able to have victory over that sin.” “It will never work, so why try?”
God Never Loses Faith (trusts) vs. Doubt- “Did God really say…?”
God is Always Hopeful vs. Hopelessness- “things always turn out wrong.” “You’ll never get it right.” “You are hopeless; why does God put up with you?”
God Endures (perseveres) Through Every Circumstance vs. Giving up- “Why keep trying?” “This is too hard.” “If you complain, they’ll let you quit.”
Have you ever heard Satan’s lies before? We can only defend ourselves against them by using our shield of faith (believing what God has said is true) and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. We can believe what 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says about God. We can be like Him if we allow the Spirit to have control of our lives and we work hard to be just like Him.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Our sanctification is the process (practice) of us learning how to overcome our sin nature–not on our own, but by allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us, strengthen us, encourage us, and train us. Let’s allow Him to recreate Jesus in our character by practicing 1 Corinthians 13 today.
Abba, it’s hard–but SO rewarding! I love it when I relax in You and allow Your love, joy, and peace to wash over me. I am then ready to respond in love according to 1 Corinthians 13. May I become more and more proficient at it. Amen.