Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Love does not envy" (1 Corinthians 13:4).

"Now the works of the flesh are evident: . . . envy . . . and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love . . . And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:19-24).

IDEA: Love and envy cannot live together under the same roof, and the hallmark of the Christian is love.

PURPOSE: To help listeners understand that if we seek to be Christ's person, we cannot tolerate envy in our life.

If I say that I love someone—my spouse, my children, a friend—what does that mean? What kind of behavior would you expect from me toward those whom I say I love?

I. Love means that I seek the best for the person I love.

It means that I will always do what is in the other person's best interest. Love is seeking the other person's highest good. It is an act of the will.

At times this may be a gentle correction or rebuke.

More likely, it will include taking a deep interest in what interests that person and helping him or her pursue the highest goals with integrity.

It also means that I will pray for that person's success.

I'll pray for the person's spiritual development and opportunities to grow.

I'll pray for his or her success in every God-honoring thing he or she undertakes.

I will do everything I can to encourage the person I love.

I'll take every opportunity to help this person feel strong in life and to know that he or she is deeply loved.

I'll rejoice when that person rejoices and weep when he or she weeps.

I’ll praise that person publicly and privately because I'll constantly look for ways to affirm the person I love.

Recognizing the value of praise, I'll give praise genuinely and lavishly.

II. God calls us to live in love.

The hallmark of the Christian is love: "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).

III. If this is true, then what does this do to envy in my life?

Envy and love cannot live together in the same heart. Where envy lives, love is dead. Where there is genuine love, there cannot be envy.

If I care at all about obeying God by loving others, I will replace envy with love. But how can I do that?

I will practice the acts of love we talked about earlier.

I will do what is in the other person's best interest.

I will pray daily (hourly, if necessary) for that person.

I will encourage that person in every way possible.

I will praise that person both publicly and privately.

To replace envy with love, we actively cooperate with God for the good of the people we have envied in the past.

Example of Dale Schlafer and Cherry Hills Community Church.