Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. [1 John 4:7-8 (NLT)]

scarlet- swamp hibiscus - Corkscrew SwampEvery Saturday, our newspaper runs a guest editorial written by one of the local pastors. In one of these commentaries, the author shared that a ministerial colleague begins every pastoral prayer with, “O kind and loving God, fill us with your love.” There’s a whole lot of prayer packed into those few beautiful words. God doesn’t just love; He actually is love. So, when we ask God to fill us with His love, we’re inviting Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit, as well.

So, what does God’s love look like? We only have to look to the Bible to see. When God lays love on people, He changes their lives. He corrects, feeds, leads, forgives, chastises, heals, comforts, and teaches. He frees them from slavery to both man and sin. He walks with, listens to and speaks with them. He blesses, spends time with them, and calls them into service. He loves unconditionally, impartially and generously. Most of all, He loves sacrificially! God’s love isn’t passive; it’s active. When we ask Him to fill us with His love, we best be prepared for some changes to be made both in our lives and in the lives of others!

I can’t help but think of a line from Hello Dolly! in which Dolly Levi says, “Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around, encouraging young things to grow.” She’s actually quoting Thornton Wilder who probably borrowed the quote from Francis Bacon. In any case, when manure is not put to good use, it starts to stink and the same goes for both money and love! If we ask God to fill us with His love, let’s remember that God’s love is way more than a warm fuzzy feeling. His love isn’t meant to stay in our hearts; it’s meant to be used the same way Jesus used God’s love. When we ask God to fill us with His love, He expects us to spread His love around; His love compels us to love one another.

I’m beginning to think some of the best prayers are the shortest ones: O kind and loving God, fill us with your love!

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” [John 13:34-35 (NLT)]

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