By Brooke Holt
“Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.” The Collect, Book of Common Prayer
Have you ever experienced situations in which you felt powerless—powerless to help another person or yourself? It is a terrible feeling, yet it can also be the very pathway to experiencing God’s power. That is the prayer of our Collect for today. That God, the one with true power and might, would do what we cannot do—change our hearts.
How does he do this? God pours out his love into our hearts. Despite our sin, rebellion, and resistance, the Lord keeps wooing, seeking, and calling us back to himself. In doing these things, he stands with open arms, ready to embrace us. When you experience that love of God, it will transform your life because you realize it is a divine gift. You haven’t earned this love, nor could you. God loves you because he made you. You are his perfect design and his delight.
God’s love will transform your heart and then your life. When you embrace God’s unconditional and extravagant love for you, you will learn to love him. As a bonus, you will learn to love yourself and others. Therefore, the first and greatest commandment is to love God, followed by the second commandment to love your neighbor as yourself.
This is the miraculous work the Lord loves to do in the lives of his children. He pours out his love into hearts, transforms those hearts to love, and then uses his people to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. You probably memorized the list of the fruit of the Spirit at some point: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (see Galatians 5:22-23). That fruit is the mark of true religion. It is not knowing and quoting the Bible; it is not attending church on Sunday or being part of a small group Bible study, and it is not praying eloquently and easily. All those things are good, holy things the Spirit created in God’s children. However, true religion is found in how you love God then how you love yourself and others. True religion manifests in a life of bearing fruit.
Our beautiful prayer for this day is God would take our selfish and stubborn hearts and transform them with his love. Then, that he would pour out his Holy Spirit into our lives and create fruit for his kingdom.
May you open your heart to him today and receive his unconditional and extravagant love!
Are you living in this unconditional and extravagant love of the Lord? How is that love transforming you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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