The First 15

Wednesday June 3, 2020

by First Methodist Mansfield

The Spirit of Love


1 John 4:7-21

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 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. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.


Our ability to even perceive that we are in God and He in us is by the Holy Spirit given to us. We rely on God’s love for us which is activated by the Holy Spirit who resides within. This is what sustains us for eternal life. It’s impossible to have the Holy Spirit living in us and not love our brothers and sisters. If we can’t love each other, then we can’t love God. The work of the Spirit is both within us and all around us. The presence and work of the Spirit first appears in Genesis in creation. “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2). The Holy Spirit is often described as moving. The elements of wind, fire, and rushing water are often used in association with the Spirit’s presence. Though it’s a mistake to confuse the Holy Spirit with the elements of creation. The Holy Spirit isn’t wind…isn’t fire…isn’t water. God should not be confused with nature. He is the God of nature. He lives in eternity. His throne is in heaven. The earth is his footstool …not part of his skin nor his shoes or robe. His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Mother nature is not the Holy Spirit. God is wholly other. The Holy Spirit is often associated with wind, fire, and water, not to confuse God with creation, but to show the power and character of the Creator who is over creation. To show the goodness of God’s creation. Wind, fire, and rushing water are tangible examples that help us understand what the Holy Spirit is like. They all move, all have a sound, all purify and clean, which is what the Holy Spirit does.

He is our helper and guide. He is at the same time presently at work holding all creation together and residing within you and me leading us to love others. He moves us and enlightens us. He convinces us of our sin and leads us to repentance. He keeps us clean. He is the Spirit of love who fills us with streams of living water to purify our souls and nourish our brothers and sisters in need of receiving God’s grace. “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified” (John 7:37-39). How is it with your soul? How have you experienced God lately? In giving and receiving, where does love need to be more present in your life?

Prayer for Today

“Thou Eternal God, out of whose absolute power and infinite intelligence the whole universe has come into being, we humbly confess that we have not loved thee with our hearts, souls and minds, and we have not loved our neighbors as Christ loved us. We have all too often lived by our own selfish impulses rather than by the life of sacrificial love as revealed by Christ. We often give in order to receive. We love our friends and hate our enemies. We go the first mile but dare not travel the second. We forgive but dare not forget. And so as we look within ourselves, we are confronted with the appalling fact that the history of our lives is the history of an eternal revolt against you. But thou, O God, have mercy upon us. Forgive us for what we could have been but failed to be. Give us the intelligence to know your will. Give us the courage to do your will. Give us the devotion to love your will. In the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray. Amen.”

—Martin Luther King Jr.

The First 15

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