Saturday, January 17, 2015
Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT).
You can have all the gifts and be very immature. Spiritual increase is not by knowing all these things, the way of growth is not by faith's power externally manifested, but more by inward endurance. Do you want to know the way of the increase of God? It is by love. What the Lord needs is an open, pure spirit towards Himself, and love toward all saints; the Lord will bring into His greater fullness where there is a genuine love one to the other - in Him.... The Ephesian letter in which there is the fullest unveiling of heavenly truth in the deepest teaching concerning the Church, the Body of Christ, there is from start to finish the golden thread of love running all through; this is significant when you consider what the letter contains. 1 Corinthians 13 is the great chapter on love, and is put over beside all the "gifts". Love is the real spirituality that is spirituality. Love is the most difficult and the greatest of all gifts. "Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own affections" (2 Cor. 6:12 ASV). You are so narrow, so limited, like a closed hedge, pent up, cramped! "Our heart is enlarged, ye are not straitened in us."
The measure of our spiritual life is no greater than our heart; the knowledge that is in the head is not the measure of spirituality, the way for your release, emancipation, increase, abundance is the way of the heart. Spirituality is not mental agreement on things stated in the Word, it is the melting of one heart to another – to all saints. The devil has locked up a number of the Lord's children as in a padded room of their own limitations; frozen their love by something between them and other children of God. The way out is by increase of love; and we shall remain locked up until we are there.... True spirituality is the measure of love of God shed abroad in the heart, all the spirituals rest upon and have their rise out of love. Not power, or knowledge, or different gifts, these are not the first things, the first thing is love. That leads to the increase of God.
By T. Austin-Sparks from: The Increase of God
Photograph by Kristopher Rowe.