People naturally operate out of the flesh. That is to say, we are prone to relate to one another according to our sinful, natural self interest and selfishness. Because we are creatures born of sinful nature, easily inclined toward hatred, we experience the difficulty of Christian love.
Our operating in the flesh makes it easy for us to hate and desire vengeance against one another. People, even little children, are apt to say how much they hate certain person who may have offended them. They can be heard saying they can never forgive certain offenses.
This natural inclination toward hatred, unforgiveness, and vengeance makes it difficult for us to demonstrate Christian love. Christian love is the kind of love God showed toward us when He gave His only begotten Son to die in our place ” while we were yet sinners”.
Christ Jesus commands us to love one another, and by so doing, people will know that we are His disciples, children of love. Moreover, He goes further than commanding love of friends, His requirement is that we love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-47).
The difficulty of Christian love is apparent because we continue to desire handling circumstances and relationships through our own efforts. Galatians 5:19-21, categorizes the works of the flesh as such, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”.
Understanding our difficulty, we must conclude that it necessary to resort to something greater than the flesh if we are to operate in love. Galatians 5:16, exhorts, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”. Our dilemma is resolved, then, only as we give ourselves over to the leading of the Holy Spirit which empowers us to live out the law of love.
L. Jerome Jones