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What is coming out of your life? When the pressures of life squeeze us, what comes out of us? Do we express love, patience, and gentleness in those times? Or, does something darker “leak” from us? Jesus’ desire is that our lives always release a reminder of His nature and person. 

Luke 6:43-45 (NLT) “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. 

What Shines Upon Your Soul?

What Do You Feed Your Soul? If you want to change your life, change your FUEL! Nothing that comes from this world is worthy of you. There is so much we consume that is just not healthy for our minds, much less our hearts. But, the good news is that you get to decide what to feed your soul. Just like your body, some foods make you sick and are not nutritious. It is the same for your soul. Some thoughts literally harm you. While others strengthen and even save you.

1 Peter 2:11 (NLT) … keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.

James 1:21 (NLT) So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

The things you think about are very important. If fear and anger are consuming your thoughts, that’s darkness. We can’t produce light and good fruit from dark thoughts. What can we do?

Romans 5:5 (NLT) …For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

The Love Of God is the Only Thing that Satisfies. God’s Love is the only thing worthy of your contemplation. God’s Love is where worship begins. The thought of God and His Love and Sacrifices overwhelms me. God’s Love is where prayer begins. God cares for me. God has resources I do not have. I can and will talk to Him.

Ephesians 3:18-19 (NLT) And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Why not let God’s Love Shine into Your Soul? Think about Him, His accomplishments, His pursuit of mankind and of you. Think about Jesus and his relationships with his followers. Consider His miracles, His compassion. Think of His Sacrifice. Deeply consider the price for your redemption.

  • Discuss Luke 6:43-45. What is good fruit? How do we get Good Fruit? 
  • What are some of the good things that we feed our souls? Some not so good?
  • How could we contemplate God’s Love more in our daily routines?
  • What are some things about God’s Love that you often notice and consider?

Matthew 7:20 (NLT) Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

The Fruit Of A Good Tree

Love Without a Hook. Agape and Eros are two words that come from the Greek language. They are two of at least four words used to express love. Agape love is the way that God loves. It is unconditional in its desire and heart for you. God doesn’t need you to do anything or even change in order to love you. He loves you because He chooses to. Because He IS Love.

But, you should note that walking in a relationship with Him is conditional. Love is unconditional but blessing, reward, and glory are conditional.

Eros love is the way people love. It originally referred to the physical love between a husband and wife. It was love wrapped in covenant and enjoyed in physical contact. But, by the time the New Testament was written, it had come to mean something far darker and far more selfish. Eros is love that gets something.

Agape leads to God. Eros leads to self. That’s the hook. I love you, but I need something. I expect something.

Fruit Not Bait. So, if our righteousness is meant to lure people toward us, that’s not fruit. It’s bait. What I give must be to you but toward the Father. My love, gentleness, kindness, and so on cannot seek a return and still be Agape.

This isn’t to say you don’t or can’t have needs. We get our needs met by honestly communicating them. We don’t love to get love. That’s selfish. We love because God loves. We love because the God of Love lives within us. We love because God’s love is so bright within us that we cannot help but love.

Romans 12:9 (NLT) Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.

Fake it or Face it? So, this Eros Love within us needs to be put down. This is the work of sanctification. This is where we fall short. Honestly admitting that we fall short, reveals our need for Christ. He alone enables us to love without the hook and increases our capacity to love.

Eros infects Love with Self. We need deliverance from this Self. It infects everything. It is why church becomes about ME. Marriage, parenting, work, etc. all become about ME, ME, ME. Agape love isn’t even about me loving YOU. It’s about loving God so much that His love overflows in my life. Then I love you, not because I AM compassionate, but because God is!

  • How do we do good things for others that we are actually doing for ourselves?
  • Love is not something we can “Fake until we Make”. Do you agree? Why or Why not?

2 Corinthians 2:14 (GW) But I thank God, who always leads us in victory because of Christ. Wherever we go, God uses us to make clear what it means to know Christ. It’s like a fragrance that fills the air. 

The Fragrance Of Your Life

What are you feeding your soul? That is what will come out of your life. As the old saying goes, “What’s in the well, comes up in the bucket.” If your life is to have the fragrance of Christ, then the Love of Christ must become your sustenance.

When Mary of Bethany broke the alabaster bottle and poured it over Jesus’ feet, the fragrance filled the house. It got everyone’s attention. Most didn’t appreciate it, but Jesus did.

I believe this is where Paul got the image for 1 Corinthians 2:14. What is in your alabaster bottle? What is precious to you? What is in you, that when you are squeezed, is coming out of you? And, what are you going to do about it?

  • What are some things that we wish did not come out of us under stress?
  • How could we change that? What do you plan to do in order to change the fuel of your soul?