The Love of the Spirit
George Everard, 1885
"Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me." Romans 15:30
"The love of the Spirit" is here set before us as a motive for earnest and sincere prayer. And it may well strengthen us in this blessed privilege. For in His love, He will aid us in our prayers. He will remove our hindrances. He will quicken our hearts, that our prayers may be real and true.
"The love of the Spirit!" Do we not often forget this? We think often, it may be, of the love of the Father and of the love of the Son, nor can we think too much of either. But let us not forget to ponder the love of the blessed Spirit, the Comforter, the Friend who takes the place of the Lord Jesus, the One who has so much to do with the peace and salvation of every child of God.
But how may we see clearly His great love toward us?
Look at it in this light: Suppose there were one for whom you had never cared. You never wished to have his company. You never desired him to visit you in your home. You did many things that pained and grieved him — and yet all the while he was thinking of you in kindness, and giving proofs of his affection. One day he sent you a most valuable book, one so full of wise counsel and advice that while you followed it, you could never fail to take the best path in life. But more than this. Your friend watched your life, and saw dangers before you that you could not see, and so again and again he sent you a special message or direction, and whenever you followed it you found you had done right.
Does not this give us one view of the love of the Spirit of God? It tells us of His love to His people — even before we loved Him.
For what a book of love and wisdom is that which He inspired holy men of God to write! It is He who has especially given us this book. Every part of it is from Him, and every part of it is calculated to guide and direct us.
It gives plain directions how to avoid sin.
It points out every peril that lies in your path.
It reveals the way of peace and of life everlasting.
And what thousands of hearts have been upheld and comforted in days of sorrow and distress, by the promises here given to us! Shall we not see in this the love of the Spirit, as also in the inward suggestions and warnings, and monitions of conscience which He stirs up to lead men to a better life?
But still more do we trace the Spirit's love in His giving life to dead souls, and thus drawing them into fellowship with God. Nothing is a greater proof of love in a servant of Christ, than in his going on day by day seeking the salvation of another who returns only evil for good, and whose spirit and conduct cause him nothing but sorrow. And does not the Spirit find in each of us at first the very same thing? Does He not find our rebellious will utterly opposed to the will of God? Does He not find our heart hard, and cold, and dead to spiritual things? Yet does that gentle, patient Spirit come near, and work in men's hearts a consciousness of their sin, and of the grace and power of the Lord Jesus. What love is there in every gentle drawing of the heart, in every cause of unbelief removed, in every fresh view of Christ's willingness and faithfulness to save!
Nor less do we see the love of the Spirit in His willingness to take up His abode in the mean cottage of the believer's heart. If one of noble birth and pure tastes were in kindness to make his home with one in whom there was much that pained him, only that he might raise and elevate his character — we would reckon it the very essence of self-sacrificing love. And yet does not the Holy Spirit make His temple within the soul where still abides much corruption and evil? What unbelief, forgetfulness, murmuring, unthankfulness, waywardness, and backsliding arise from time to time in those who have been born of God, and who have learned that in Christ alone is their help and salvation!
Perhaps most clearly of all may we see the love of the Spirit in His shedding abroad in the heart the love of the Father and the Son.
As the Spirit of Love, He would have us know in all its fullness the love which God has shown to us in redemption. He brings home to us the Fatherliness of God. He teaches us the love of the cross, as seen not only in its purpose and accomplishments, but in those last words there spoken by the Son of Man. He unveils the love seen in each office of the Lord Jesus, and in each gracious promise that He has spoken for our comfort. Much more I might add. But never shall we know how much we are indebted to the love of the Spirit until, perfected in Christ's likeness and found without spot and blemish — we see that it is His work, and wrought solely for us through His great and abiding love.
Is the Holy Spirit so full of love toward you? Then do not grieve Him or refuse to hear His voice. Never a kinder or more faithful guest than the Comforter will be to you — if only you give heed to Him and follow His guidance. Ask Him to come and dwell with you.
"Gentle, awful, Holy Guest,
Make Your temple in each breast;
There supreme to reign and rest,
And watch, lest by willful misdoing you quench His grace and drive Him from you. Strife, deceit, impurity, lightness in holy things, evil tempers — He abhors, and cannot stay where they are cherished. But humility, and faith, and heavenly thoughts, and deeds of love are His delight. Therefore choose that which pleases Him, and put away that which He hates. So will He abide with you an ever-increasing power, and His light, and presence, and joy shall make perpetual sunshine in your soul.