August 9

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Galatians 5:14

This is a definition of a truly spiritual person, i.e. one who truly loves.  Love is not an attribute of God, for God is love.  All of God’s attributes are attributes of love.  Similarly, love is not to be an attribute of our life or work – it is to be the ceaseless spring from which all of our life flows.  Without love, no-one is a Christian; without love, a Church is not a Church.  A Christian without love is a monster – a lamb with the heart of a wolf; at best an image in stone, with a vague suggestion of something beautiful but no direct experience of it.  Love is without hurt or harm; it produces an inner calm in which other lives are welcome and held in warmth and tenderness.  Love dispels fears, reassures doubts, and spreads kindness and joy in everyone it meets.  Love is not a work, though countless works flow from it.  It colours every action, and makes everything a manifestation of that most perfect life – Jesus, the Son of God.  Some wander from this path and think of life in the Spirit as a life of power, focusing on what we achieve for God, and measuring our value to God and others by statistics of how many meetings held, how many people won, how much fasting and prayer.  All of these things are wonderful, but not in themselves the life.  The greatest power in the realm of the Spirit is the power of love.  People give up – even the most determined and heroic – but love goes on for ever.  Love carries within itself the power of self-renewal, for it never runs out.  As it is poured out, the greater the flow, the greater the resources seem to be.  Love is attractive, seeping into the chinks of the stoutest armour.  Love wins hardened cynics, and conquers stubborn rebels.  The cry of all who truly seek God’s kingdom is, ‘Lord, make me love, as God Himself is love!’