You’re not going to see this problem and think, “Well, he just killed his testimony.” No, it’s far more insidious than that. This testimony killer is unlike most you may think of. And it may be invisibly affecting you right now.
The Bible explicitly calls out one thing that will kill your verbal witness.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”
1 Corinthians 13:1
Lack of love? Really? Oh, how I wish it were as simple as “stop doing this,” or “start doing that.” In my own strength, I can muster my willpower to change my behavior — at least for a day or two. But to have charity? How do you decide to start that? How do you create love where it doesn’t yet exist?
“Love is a choice,” we hear. But what does that choice look like? How do I make it happen?
Remember That The Holy Spirit Produces Love
You’re right. This isn’t something we can manufacture on our own. I can’t effectively will myself into loving other people as I should. A deficiency of love is an indication that the Spirit does not have the freedom to produce His fruit in my life.
But why? What keeps the Holy Spirit from doing His work?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, …”
I can grieve the Spirit. Behaviors like lying, acting out of wrath, theft, and corrupt communication can grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:25-29). If you’re looking for a “stop doing this” approach, there’s a good start. Stop grieving the Holy Spirit.
I can quench the Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin. He guides our steps. He helps us understand the Scriptures. He translates our unutterable prayers. And we can reject any of those services. I choose sin despite His conviction. You choose a different path than the one He directs. I twist the Scripture to fit my own worldview. Your prayers become a list of demands instead of a conversation. When we do any of these things, we quench the Spirit.
Give control back to the Holy Spirit. “Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), and let Him generate love in you.
Act As If You Already Love
“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.”
So we are back to behaviors? Well, yes, in a way. Behavior alone won’t create love without the free working of the Holy Spirit, but behavior is still an important part. While you actively surrender to the Spirit, build on that surrender with loving acts to others. Look for ways to give of your time, attention, and resources to those you wish to influence for Christ. Let your love for others grow from your service to them — a service that springs from your love for God.
In a recent interview, missionary Ed Gibson explained that loving other people takes time. He said, “You don’t go to the mission field because you love people. You go to the mission field because you love God.”
Let that love for God give power to the Holy Spirit. Let it change your behavior to those you want to reach. Be active in giving Him the freedom to remove the testimony killer of lovelessness.
(image credit asifthebes)