Are Living in the Overflow

Are Living in the Overflow

By Henry Nelson

 

 

 

1st Corinthians 13:1-8. 1 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but havenot love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have thegift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I havea faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I giveall I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have notlove, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, itdoes not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, itis not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight inevil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, alwayshopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.” {{more}} When I was on the high school cross country team, we would do some of ourtraining at a nearby lake. Our coach wanted us to train on the hills so that wecould be better conditioned for various meets that required running up and downsteep hills. The lake had an overflow that helped to control the depth and level of thelake. There were times when the overflow was opened and allowed to drain someof the water from the lake. It would be an outpouring of power and strengththat made one stand in awe. As Christians we believe that Christ does many different things that aresimilar to that overflow at the lake. Christ displays His power by sendingvarious times of outpourings. Christ pours out His power to transform. Christpours out His blessings to assist. Christ pours out His Spirit to sanctify. Christpours out His grace to forgive. Christ pours out His presence to comfort. Christpours out His love to encourage. The reality is that the love of Christ is so vast that it has to spill out ofheaven. We have been called to live in the overflow of Christ’s supreme anddivine love. Everything of consequence in this universe flows from the overflowof Christ’s love. When we live in the overflow, it changes our lives. Theoverflow changes our behavior. The overflow changes who we are and how treatothers. Love is the key. Joy is love singing. Peace is love resting. Long-suffering islove enduring. Kindness is love’s touch. Goodness is love’s character.Faithfulness is love’s habit. Gentleness is love’s self forgetfulness. Selfcontrol is love holding the reigns. Amen! There is nothing more important in your life than the love of Christ. It isyour most valuable possession. The agape love of Christ is your strength intimes of weakness, your hope in times of despair, your glory in times ofdifficulty, and your best when life throws you the worst. The love of Christ isyour everything. Amen! The word that Paul uses here is the Greek term agape. Agape is the highest ofall Greek words for love. The reality is that God places His love in our heartthrough the person of Jesus. Agape is love in its highest form. It is thedivine demonstration of love found only Christ and when that love invades aperson’s heart it sweeps all hatred, malice, deception and similar behaviorsaway. Paul makes it abundantly clear, agape is a matter of personal choice not amatter of personal strength or of personal ability. It is apersonal choice whether or not you will allow God to love through your life. Nomatter what is done to you allow Christ to love the world through you. Your gifts are meaningless without love. The work of the Holy Spirit bringsgifts into the lives of those who place their faith in Jesus. Those gifts aregiven so that you are able to serve Jesus not in your ability but with the abilityhe instills within us. You cannot serve Jesus to the level of His strengthwithout having His love living within us. Your life is pointless without love. Paul says that without love: I am nothing.In essence, if we do not possess the divine love of Christ within us, there isno point to our life. Just because you are breathing does not mean that you arereally living. The sad fact is that far too many people settle for merelyexisting rather than living. If you do not have the love of Christ livingwithin you, you are just existing and not really living. Your efforts are fruitless without love. As Christians, you are called to bearfruit and show yourselves ready to serve Jesus whenever and wherever He sendsus. The reality is that your efforts will never amount to anything more thanjust your human work without the power of Christ’s love as a driving force in yourlives. The real questions is are you living in the overflow of Christ’s love? Paulgives an exhaustive definition of agape love here and does so with anincredible eloquence that shows that Christ’s love is far more than just talk,it is action. Paul does not give us some long and dull definition of love, butrather He gives us a formula for victorious living. As this comes together forPaul he seems to be asking an unstated question: How should a Christian behave? Love is patient. The word that Paul uses here refers to the way we deal withpeople. Paul says that we are to suffer a long time with other people. Nomatter what the evil or injury committed against us. No matter how others haveneglected or ignored us. Are you living in the overflow of Christ’s love? Love is kind. The word king means to show favor to others and move beyond hurtand injury. Paul shows that love is strength of grace that allows us to grantforgiveness. Love does not envy. This is not having feelings against others because of whatthey have – spiritual gifts, position, abilities, possessions or anything else.Love is not begrudging but rather shares in the joys of others. Are you livingin the overflow of Christ’s love? Love does not boast. Paul says that love doesnot brag or seek recognition. The behavior of love seeks to give, to recognizeothers, to honor others and applaud when others succeed. Loveis not proud. The word here for proud means to be puffed up or conceited. Thebehavior of love does not look at oneself as being better than others. Love ishumble and seeks the best. Are you living in the overflow of Christ’s love? Loveis not rude. Love does not act in a way that is disgraceful or brings shame tothe name of Jesus. Love treats people with respect. Love is not self seeking. The Greek word that Paul uses here literally means toworship oneself. This is exactly the problem of modern society because we havebecome so full of ourselves. The simple reality seeks to serve others, not tobe served. Are you living in the overflow of Christ’s love? Love is not easily angered. Paul uses the word that means quick tempered or beingready to take personal offense. Love does not allow the emotions to control andit does not become angry without cause. Love keeps no record of wrong. This means that we cannot think evil of othersand continuously focus on the wrongs that we have suffered because this willlead to resentment and bitterness. Love endures evil and keeps its focus on thetruth. Are you living in the overflow of Christ’s love? Love does not delightin evil. Paul says here that love does not take pleasure in doing what isunrighteous. In other words, if we have the love of Christ within us, theability to do what is wrong still exists but we will make ourselves miserabledoing so. Loverejoices with the Truth. Love rejoices when the truth is finally discovered andwhen it is victorious. The reality is that we can rejoice in all situationsbecause when the truth of God is within us we always have victory. Are youliving in the overflow of Christ’s love? Love always protects. Paul is saying that love has the power to cover everyarea of life and to give the needed strength to support every area of life.Love gives us the supernatural strength to stand and cover the faults of others. Love always trusts. The word Paul uses here means to have a perfect trust. Lovegives us an ability to have a divine trust that helps us to see God’s work inour lives. It also gives us the ability to see the best in others. Are youliving in the overflow of Christ’s love? Love always hopes. Paul says that loveliterally never loses hope and has every expectation of finding triumph. Loverefuses to accept failure and has bright hope for the best. Love always perseveres. Paul uses a military word here that means to withstandan attack. This means that the love of Christ is our strength and acts as ourfortress during attack. Love endures every assault that comes against it andstands firm until the victory is won. The love of God gives us the ability tolove even in the most difficult of circumstances. Are you living in the overflowof Christ’s love? Love never fails. Paul closes his definition of love with a bold statement thatlove never fails. In other words, the love of Christ is always successful. Thepower of our lives is found in the reality that Christ’s love gives us theability to succeed. In essence, love describes the very character of Jesus Himself and if we wantto become more like Him we must allow His love to penetrate the deepest cornersof our hearts. We must be willing and open for the overflow to come and fill uswith Christ’s love. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth,nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love ofGod that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-38 Notice all of those things that do not have the ability to keep the love ofChrist from our lives. The love of Christ is more powerful than life itself; death cannot even keep itfrom us. The love of Christ is more powerful than spiritual beings; even themost diabolic plot from Hell cannot keep it from us. The love of Christ ismore powerful than time itself, even when time comes to an end the love ofChrist will remain. The love of Christ is more powerful than mortal strength,even the greatest power on earth cannot keep it from us. The love of Christ ismore powerful than any distance, even the deepest of depths or the highest of heightscannot keep it from us. Thelove of Christ is more powerful than all of creation, absolutely nothing in theentire universe can keep it from us. This looks all inclusive and seems to have covered all of the bases. However,there is one thing that can keep you from the love of God that is found only inChrist Jesus; you. You are the only thing standing between the overflow of lovethat falls from Heaven and your need. You are the person that keeps you fromexperiencing the overflow and its awesome power. You are the only one that canaccept the filling of the overflow. Now ask yourself are you living in the overflow of Christ’s love? The choice isyours and you can live in the overflow of His divine love.