Friday, February 1, 2008

Fruits of the Spirit: Love

"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
We are beginning a new series here on Stay-At-Home Daughters! Every month check back for the next installment of our fruits of the spirit series. February's topic is love. How fitting! I'm going to share practical ways a Stay-At-Home Daughter can show love to her family, friends and those who persecute her.

The hardest aspect of love, for me, is being able to show love to those who hate you, persecute you, or wish to show you harm. When presented with a challenge or accusations, I answer them gently and cautiously. As the Proverb says:

"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." Proverbs 15:1
Sometimes those you love turn from the ways of the Lord, and can become what the Bible calls, "a heathen". Matthew 18 explains how to deal with this,

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Matthew 18:15-18
I have various extended family members from whom we have had to separate ourselves. Many other family members argue that we are "not showing Christian love" when we don't support the lifestyle of the rebellious. On the contrary, biblically this is the only way we can truly show Christian love to our brethren, by following biblical example and demonstrating the fact that their lifestyle is not okay. Though this may seem harsh, ultimately we have to answer to an almighty God for our actions, not our family members. The best way to show Christian love for them is to pray for them. We pray for our lost extended family members and friends, and those who try to convince us that we are in the wrong.
For some girls, loving those closest to you can be tough. I thought I'd share some ways to not just get along with your siblings and family, but to show the love of Christ to them in everyday life.

Simple gestures of kindness mean a lot! My mother loves it when I bring her a glass of tea, start the laundry, iron, clean out the refrigerator or any other simple task without being asked. A lot of times, your family won't even notice the small things you do for them, but that's ok! The Lord will take notice! Remember -- character is who you are when no one is looking. Not seeking recognition for something is a wonderful way to exercise selflessness. The most important way to show love to your parents is to be submissive to them as your God given authority, and show cheerful obedience and respect. Sometimes when I want to do something helpful for my mother, I take my siblings and do something to keep them occupied. This is a great way to not only show love for your parents, but your siblings as well! The way your younger siblings will pick up on how much you love them is by how much time you spend with them! Playing with them may not be the most fun for you, but to them it's such a thrill!

My little sister loves when I make cards for her. Just a little piece of paper folded with a flower drawn on the front is enough to make her smile! It's easy to tell what things your siblings love when you spend time getting to know them. Every once in a while I prepare surprises for my little siblings, like a treasure hunt! They get so excited over such a simple thing! My little siblings also love it when I read to them, or sing to them. I love to be able to tuck them in at night and tell them I love them.

My sister (Poppy) and I are best friends. We talk about everything, joke, laugh, and share the same interests. The Lord was so good to put her in my life, but I know that everyone has different situations. Some of you may have siblings that are older, or very close to you in age. The best way I've found to show love to older siblings is to listen to them, being sensitive to their wishes and needs, and show them respect. It's much harder to get into arguments if you have their best interest at heart. Spend time learning things together! My sister and I have spent the past few months mastering the splits. It's so much fun to stretch together everyday! She and I exercise with my mom regularly, we shop together, we take piano lessons together, and we write this blog together! We have quite a few differences, and we have some disagreements, but we love and respect each other.

Overall, to learn how to truly apply this fruit of the spirit to your life, you have to learn to put yourself last! Selflessness is a trait that isn't easy to master, but the Lord can make it your second nature. Also, pray for your family, your friends, and fellow man, pray for the lost and the weary and pray for the Lord to help you show His love to the world.

God has blessed me with an intense love for those around me. It's such a blessing to be able to find joy in simply spending time with people!

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13


Follow In His Steps said...

This was an encouraging post and it was a blessing to me. Thank you!

As I was reading it, this verse came to mind:

"Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth." 1 John 3:18

It is so easy to say the words "I love you", but do we show this love by our deeds? You gave some very good examples of how to share love with our siblings. Quality time seems to be one of the things that means the most to brothers and sisters.

You also shared in your post how your family has been persecuted because of your stand upon Scripture. My family and I have also been in similar circumstances. This verse has been encouraging to me regarding these types of situations:

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15:58


Flibbertigibbet said...

Thank you so much for your comment Sarah! Those scriptures are very fitting, thank you for bringing them back to mind. It's always an encouragement to me to hear from like-minded readers. :)


Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful subject, something I need to hear. :) I have always done fairly well with littler siblings, but do you have any advice/experience with older ones? (Preteen/early teens age.) This has been been difficult for me esp. with boys that want to prove their manhood. Elaina

Flibbertigibbet said...

What exactly do you mean by "want to prove their manhood"?

Anonymous said...

" What exactly do you mean by "want to prove their manhood"? "

Not be just "little brother", but be an equal or even fill a big brother role. This is something I would like, but I think the transition is hard. Elaina

Flibbertigibbet said...

Ah, I see. The only things I can advise you to do are encourage your brother and have a lot of patience!

I haven't actually gone through this yet, but I know Courtney has, perhaps she could offer some extra advice?

Thanks so much for your comments and questions Elaina! I always love a good dialogue!


Maiden Of Virtue said...

Hi Elaina!

I have a few brothers that would fit that category.

In my case, they want to be treated equally most of all, and that a little respect goes a long way.

I try to remember that when these young men are grown up, they are going to be using us as Godly examples of Christian wives, so I try not to be over-bearing and controlling.

Men are called to be leaders over women. They will grow up to lead their own wives and families and it is part of our job as sisters to help them with their future role as heads of their households. There are those times when they can become bossy, and I would encourage you to ask your parents for guidance.

I hope this is helpful, and if you have any other questions or need a clarification on something, you can email me at biblicalmaiden(at)gmail(dot)com