Originally published July 26, 2005
By Angela Wittman
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22, 23 KJV)
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. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. (1 Corinthians 13:1-8, KJV)
I recently read the article Arresting Street-Preaching or Arresting the Street Preacher by Mr. Paul deParrie, (http://covenantnews.com/deParrie050613.htm ) where he tells us of the Biblical view and history of "street-preaching." He then also goes on to tell of the incident where certain Christian leaders/ publications were criticizing the field (or street) preachers arrested at the sodomite festival in Pennsylvania last year. I happen to have written some articles on this, and hopefully, I expressed my love and gratitude for these men of God who do love their neighbor enough to share the Gospel, even though their neighbors are sodomites. I agree with Paul deParrie when he says:
"At the heart of this is a failure to grasp what it really means to love the lost. Most American Christians have only been taught the Oprah-love – good feelings and niceness. Many, I fear, are not even saved themselves as they don’t know the real love of God – the one that saved them from their wickedness and their sure destination of Hell. Instead, they think it was God who got saved and made into the nice New Testament god of their desires – the one who laughs a jolly laugh and winks while his people “sin every day” and never cease.They do not understand that love warns the wicked. Maybe they don’t even think anybody but Hitler and Saddam were ever really wicked.That, though, is not what God thinks. Jesus told us that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves... "
And may I add that if we are lacking in love, something is very wrong. True Christian love should be what sets us apart from those who are not in Christ. True Christian love will be the essence of our lives, and it will be made plain and evident, by the Holy Spirit to those perishing in their sins. True Christian love is not a feeling or emotion we can make appear... It is much deeper, and it is produced by the Holy Spirit. If you are not displaying the fruit of the Holy Spirit, then, dear friend, you may not be a Christian.
But, praise the LORD, there is a remedy for our cold, hard, dead hearts -- so, please, do not despair. Go to the Lover of our souls, and join me in this prayer taken from the book The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett, and published by the Banner of Truth Trust:
O Lover of the loveless,
It is thy will that I should love thee
with heart, soul, mind, strength,
and my neighbor as myself.
But I am not sufficient for these things.
There is by nature no pure love in my soul;
Every affection in me is turned from thee;
I am bound, as slave to lust,
I cannot love thee, lovely as thou art,
until thou dost set me free.
By grace I am thy freeman and would serve thee,
for I believe thou art my God in Jesus,
and that through him I am redeemed,
and my sins are forgiven.
With this freedom I would always obey thee,
but I cannot walk in liberty,
any more than I could first attain it, of myself.
May thy Spirit draw me nearer to thee
and thy ways.
Thou art the end of all means,
for if they lead me not to thee,
I go away empty.
Order all my ways by thy holy Word
and make thy commandments the joy
of my heart,
that by them I may have happy converse with thee.
May I grow in thy love and manifest it
Spirit of love, make me like the loving Jesus;
give me his benevolent temper,
his beneficent actions,
that I may shine before men to thy glory.
The more thou doest in love in me and by me,
humble me the more;
keep me meek, lowly,
and always ready to give thee honour.