Discipleship & the Coronavirus: Growing in Love
This is part of our series, Discipleship & the Coronavirus, featuring posts written by GABC members on what God is teaching them during the coronavirus pandemic.
You may read the entire series here.
by Jim Carpenter
If I didn’t have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, I think the isolation from people and not being able to go places could get me down, even after only experiencing this for a few weeks. But each day with His abundant life is a new day! I value the extra time to spend in the Word and in prayer. Less activity today makes me look forward to resuming life, in some way as it was before, but with renewed gratitude.
After recently studying the book of Acts I have been thinking about and searching to understand how I am to see the Holy Spirit working in me as a disciple of Jesus. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 12 through 14 that the gifts of the Spirit are vital for the edification of the church and for the common good. He went on to say that if I was given all the spiritual gifts to their fullest expression, but did not have love, all of the gifts would have no benefit to me. The Corinthians were zealous for spiritual gifts, but Paul says that love is a better and a more excellent way. The gifts of the Spirit will end someday. Love will not end, it is forever and it will always succeed, and never fail. There is no law against it, neither in heaven nor on earth. We abide in faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love. So, Paul says to “Pursue love!”
For me to pursue love, I must pursue God, who is love. I am in Christ, a new creation with the Holy Spirit dwelling in me. If I allow His Word to transform my mind, His perfect and acceptable will is fulfilled in me. (Rom. 12: 1-2) In my quiet time with Him and in prayer and yielding to Him as I study His Word, I am asking the Father to transform me into the image of His Son, Jesus. Philippians 2:3-4 says ”Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard others better than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests but also for the interests of others.” which was Christs’ attitude. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
I’m growing in what this means—how to care for others and put their needs before mine. The Father is so gentle in the way He instructs me and guides me. I don’t have to beat myself up for not being there yet. I just have to believe He really is completing what He began in me. As I get to know Him I will become like Him, and love as He does. Then, the gifts and miracles of the Holy Spirit can be manifested and profitable. “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:12b)