Flowing Faith

Walking in Love

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Walking in Love
We are called to be one in Christ…but we are not succeeding very well, are we? Living in unity seems like a balancing act sometimes. How can we who are so different live in harmony? How can we respect everyone and allow each other freedom in Christ? These are the questions I’ve been mulling over lately. Blessedly I learned five things about walking in love from Romans 14:13-23.

1) We need to stop criticizing at once. Everyone we meet is a precious gem of God for whom Christ died. We also need to proceed cautiously. Everyone we meet has his/her own set of difficulties, we are not to make them worse. Because everyone we meet is unique. We are not to decide what’s right for each other. That’s God’s job.

Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. (Romans 14:13, MSG)

2) Walking in love means we live by the standard of love toward each other. If we hurt others, we are not conducting ourselves according to God’s will. We are called to live in love, breath in love, and share in love. Love is our job.

But if your brother is being pained or his feelings hurt or if he is being injured by what you eat, [then] you are no longer walking in love. [You have ceased to be living and conducting yourself by the standard of love toward him.] Do not let what you eat hurt or cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died! (Romans 14:15, AMP)

3) The Kingdom of God is about experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit here and now. And that’s why walking in love is possible. When we abide in the Holy Spirit, we can be living a life of love.

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17, NLT)

4) We are to aim for mutual upbuilding in Christ. We are called to seek harmony among us. This does not happen by accident, we need to be intentional about this. We need to pursue first of all Christ and then peace among believers.

So let us then definitely aim for and eagerly pursue what makes for harmony and for mutual upbuilding (edification and development) of one another. (Romans 14:19, AMP)

5) We also need to put our beliefs in practice. We need to walk the talk, as the saying goes. Our lives need to be consistent with our beliefs. Then we are truly walking in love and faith. Then we are truly enhancing harmony around us.

If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong. (Romans 14:23, MSG)

The only way anyone of us can be acceptable to God is by grace through faith in Jesus. It’s all grace. So let’s embrace it and share it in abundance. Just the way we receive it ourselves.

Then we are truly walking in love.
Then we are living in unity.
Then we are one in Christ.

 

Gracious God,
We so need you.
We can’t manage on our own.
Pour out more grace, Lord!
Pour out more love, Lord!
Send your Holy Spirit, Lord!
Show us what it means to live in unity.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you think living in unity is a balancing act? Do you struggle with walking in love?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you dare to stop criticizing and pass on love instead!

Photo courtesy of Matt Ansley, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Hear it on Sunday, use it on Monday, Playdates with God, and counting blessings with Ann Voskamp:  #1074 The Holy Spirit is the key for living in harmony. #1075 Living by the standard of love is possible by God’s grace. #1076 Walking in love is living the way God intended us to live. #1077 God wants what’s best for us.

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  • JViola79

    You have given us much to think about. Love can be challenging at times for the very reasons you have stated. I have often come before God & asked Him to “pour out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Rom. 5:5). It is then that I am better able to love those that in myself I may not. He is faithful to deposit into our hearts that which we need. Thank you for sharing this at a time of year that can be difficult for some in family situations. May it bless many!

    • http://www.flowingfaith.com Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment and kind words. May this post indeed bless many! Love can be very challenging. Without Christ we don’t really have much chance to do it. But with Christ it _is_possible. Thanks be to God! Abundant blessings to you and yours this season. May we all be so filled with grace that it naturally spills over to others!

      • JViola79

        Amen! Joining you in this prayer!

  • http://www.lisanotes.com/ Lisa notes

    # 1 is what stands out most to me at this time: stop criticizing. It’s a trait I don’t like in others, but I seem to rationalize it in myself, even OF myself. But it’s not from God. Thanks for these thoughts Mari-Anna. Always a joy to visit you here.

    • http://www.flowingfaith.com Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke

      Aren’t we good at rationalizing! And, yes, it definitively is not from God! We sure need help. But thank God it is available! Thanks, Lisa, for sharing your struggles. I so appreciate you! Big blessings!

  • http://michellederusha.com/ Michelle DeRusha

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about these same questions, too, Mari-Anna. That verse you quoted from Romans 14:13 is really resonating with me.

    Thank you for this today, and thank you, too, for sharing the Word over at #HearItUseIt – I am so grateful for your presence there.

    • http://www.flowingfaith.com Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke

      Great to hear this resonated with you. Thank you, Michelle, for visiting and commenting. Thank you for being such a gracious host. Blessings to you and yours!

  • Nancy Sturm

    Mari-Anna, this is so true! When we allow our Lord to tame our tongues, amazing love and grace result. Without Him, that tongue loves to criticize! If only we could all criticize less. Lovely post–thanks!

    • http://www.flowingfaith.com Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke

      Thanks so much, Nancy, for your meaningful comment. God bless you this Christmas Season and always!

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    Another great post.
    So much of the NT talks about unity.

    Jesus said that the world will know we are His by our love for each other…not our love for the world, but our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Choosing to love someone isn’t always easy, but with God all things are possible. I hope/pray I show God’s love. I know I don’t deserve Grace. It was freely given to me and I should freely give it to others. (easier said than done)

    • http://www.flowingfaith.com Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke

      Well said, sis. Thank you for sharing your empowering thoughts. May God enable us to love like Him. God bless you, TC!