Yesterday's topic, "Intentional Joy," inspired "Intentional Love." They seem to go hand in hand, don't they?
The more joy I have, the better I can love; the more love I have, the more joy I will experience. These statements are only true if the source of that joy and love is from Christ. If I am trying to manufacture these qualities in my own strength, I am failing to fully surrender to the love and joy of Christ.
Being intentional about love that stems from Christ is deeply embedded in the Bible. Let's meditate on these verses:
ALIGNING OURSELVES WITH GOD
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love." - 1 John 4:7-8
This verse shows that love is a divine attribute. By choosing to love intentionally, we are aligning ourselves with God's very nature.
I imagine Christ would say: “Love everyone, no matter their station in life, no matter if friend or foe, and no matter if they love you in return.
LOVE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
This passage underscores the importance of love, showing that no matter what spiritual gifts or acts we possess or perform, without genuine love, they are of no eternal value.
I imagine Christ would say: “Seek daily to be even more loving of me, yourself, and each other.”
LOVE AND JOY FEED OFF OF EACH OTHER
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law." - Galatians 5:22-23
The connection between love and joy, as fruits of the Spirit, supports the idea that they go hand in hand. When we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, both love and joy manifest together.
I imagine Christ would say: “Fully surrender to my Holy Spirit; then you will have the love and joy you desire.”
LOVING INTENTIONALLY REQUIRES OBEDIENCE
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:34-35
Here, Jesus is explicit about the intentional act of love. Loving one another as Christ loved us is a conscious, deliberate decision.
I imagine Christ would say: “Love others like I love you, without condition.”
LOVE PRODUCES COMPLETE JOY
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." - John 15:9-11
This is a clear link between the love of Christ and the joy it brings, indicating that abiding in Christ's love completes our joy.
I imagine Christ would say: “If you want more joy, then love more, with the love you receive from me.”
LOVE MUST BE AUTHENTIC AND REAL
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." - Romans 12:9-10
This scripture emphasizes the authenticity of love. Intentionality is about being genuine and sincere in our actions and feelings.
I imagine Christ would say: “Be humble, as I am humble.”
By deeply rooting ourselves in these scriptures, we, as Christ-followers, can be more intentional about love and the interconnectedness of love and joy in the lives of others.
May you love deeply and completely with the love of Christ, which surpasses all understanding. Amen.
Your aspiring servant, Daniel M.
October 11, 2023
POSTSCRIPT: Dear friends, if this daily, transparent "Conversations with Christ" blesses you, please visit www.SOLIDpastors.org, where you will find these posted, and a repository of all, in English and Spanish. Note: All scriptures quoted are from the NIV.
If you ever want to chat, you can reach me at Daniel@SOLIDpastors.org. May Christ bless you richly as you have your own intimate, daily conversations with Christ.