An excerpt from the book “Navigating Towards Success: In Pursuit of Fulfilment”; Love is a beautiful thing that everyone wants to experience. But unfortunately, we have become a religious society that places so much value on charisma [gifts], when we should really be focused on the cultivation of this character [nature] of love.
If your spiritual authority and submission is not rooted in love to serve one another, then it is not an accurate reflection of the heart of Christ and His Kingdom. The expression of Christ’s authority is by love and the goal of submission is for service [to serve God’s purpose].
Love requires a sacrifice we must all make, and this will make our world a better place.
You are obligated to walk with complete sincerity and commitment of love to God and to one another, because no matter the level of your spirituality, the prophetic powers and the understanding of all the secret truths and mysteries you possess, without love, you are a useless nobody.
I may have the gift of inspired preaching (Prophetic powers); I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains–but if I have no love, I am nothing – 1 Corinthians 13:2 GNB.
It’s amazing how we read stories in the Bible of ordinary men and women who prayed to God and He supernaturally answered their prayers and did great and mighty things through them that impacted their generation and beyond. I believe we all want our lives to carry such unique grace that will positively affect our world; but the question remains, what is the secret to this amazing life?
For this is the original message we heard: We should love each other…. My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us – 1 John 3:11, 18-24 MSG.
Practicing real love pleases God. This means we are obeying His command to love each other. The result is, that it gives us access to the unique grace that changes our world through prayers, as it produces answered prayers.
Having faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and obeying God’s command to love Him and others, is the secret to this amazing life.
As we keep His commands – to walk in faith and love, we can experience this amazing grace, a life without impossibilities with God. We will be able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what He said, doing what pleases Him.
Your life can become a living testimony of transformation and miracles today, if you keep His command, to walk in faith and love intentionally.
Love is God’s nature. Love is God’s language. Your life’s purpose must be an extension of God’s love to others.
My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know Him if you don’t love. This is how God showed His love for us: God sent His Only Son into the world so we might live through Him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God – 1 John 4:7-10 MSG.
“I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves]” – John 13:34-35 AMP.
Your love walk is the yardstick to prove your spiritual identity, and your maturity in Christ.
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love – Ephesians 4:15-16 NLT.
You can see from the above Bible verses, the fruits of Christian maturity are our wholehearted love for God and for one another.
We are required to love God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength and with all our mind. But this cannot be done, except we are able to first love others in this same way (Luke 10:27-28).
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also – 1 John 4:20-21 NKJV.
Jesus, the Pattern-Son, is our perfect example of love, as His life and ministry was characterized by love.
A. He is the very expression of love, the Love of God to all mankind.
B. His life exudes love as He extends forgiveness to the woman caught in adultery – He wasn’t judgmental.
C. His ministry was purely motivated by love for all, as His heart was always moved with compassion to minister to the multitudes and provide for their needs.
So, the question remains, do you love others like Christ loves?
No one is good in love in their own human nature, because love is not earthly, love is divine. Love is the nature of God – God is love.
Therefore, to be good in love [like Christ loves], you will need to embrace [have] the divine nature of God to truly love, and to love intentionally and sacrificially.
When We Practice Real Love:
You must place more value on people than on money, or ministry, or any material thing. Always remember, Christ died to redeem people, which are the object of His love. You Need To Set Your Priority Right On This!
You have the nature of Christ in you, which was/is expressed in His love for all of mankind. In like manner, let people be the object of your love above anything else.
If you seek to influence and take your generation a step ahead, then the most important thing is for you to walk in love.
“Love is the greatest power and will have the most powerful influence” – Elaine S. Dalton.
Paul the apostle said, “I will show you a still more excellent way [one of the choicest graces and the highest of them all: unselfish love]” – 1 Corinthians 12:31b AMP.
Here the apostle is saying, in all your getting, get the greatest gift, which is love.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love – 1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT.
Characteristics of love:
Love never gives up – It is patient.
Love cares more for others than for self – It is kind.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have – It does not envy.
Love doesn’t strut – It does not boast. It’s not arrogant.
Love doesn’t have a swelled head – It is not proud.
Love doesn’t force itself on others – It does not dishonor others.
Love isn’t always “me first,” – It is not self-seeking.
Love doesn’t fly off the handle – It is not easily angered.
Love doesn’t keep score of the sins of others – It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love puts up with anything – It bears all things.
Love believes all things – It Trusts God always.
Love always looks for the best – It always hopes.
Love never looks back – It keeps going to the end – It always perseveres.
Love doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices in the truth – It takes pleasure in the flowering of truth.
“Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 AMP.
These are the characteristics of an authentic love. It’s an intentional love-lifestyle that we must possess. It is not love in words or speech, but with actions and in truth.
Loving people, especially your enemies, and praying for those who persecute you is very hard. It is not easy to love and forgive my enemies and those who have wronged me, and those who despitefully use me, even when everything in me insists on getting even, paying back evil for evil, and cursing them with misfortune and praying for their death. But as a true child of God, I possess in me the nature of Christ, which is love, and I am obligated, irrespective of the circumstances, to love and forgive everyone, including my enemies.
In Luke 6:32-36 (NKJV), Jesus said this to us:
32 But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.
35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Of what difference are we from the world and the evil one, if we only love those who love us and hate those who hate us?
Here’s how you tell the difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children: The one who won’t practice righteous ways isn’t from God, nor is the one who won’t love brother or sister. A simple test – 1 John 3:10 MSG.
“The expression of our love for all makes the difference between us and the world. It’s the mark of true Christianity, and by this we are the children of our Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45, Romans 12:9-21).
Loving people means I will seek for their good rather than evil for them, and I will pray for their blessing rather than cursing them. I will not seek misfortune for them or for their downfall.
Job is a classic example for us to follow. He said this:
“No, I have not allowed my mouth to sin by cursing my enemy and asking for his life” – Job 31:30 AMP.
To be effective and fulfilling in what we do for the Lord, we must be motivated by love and build on the foundation of love. Your works must be based on pure love for God and for people.
Love is greater than anything. God’s love is residing in you and must be extended to all.
It is simply love that would make the good shepherd leave the ninety-nine in order to go find the lost one – Matthew 18:12-14. The one which is lost is precious, hence the shepherd goes after it. People are the object of God’s love and they are very precious to Him, and for the sake of love He gave [sacrificed] His only begotten Son to redeem us. Like our Father which is in heaven, we must be people oriented and love everyone with a pure heart in order to do His will.
Always look deep within, beyond the flesh. Never allow fear, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, and unforgiveness to overwhelm your heart, but only faith and love. Then you will see the beauty and goodness of God.
Resentments, bitterness, anger and unforgiveness must quickly be flushed out of your life, as these are poisons that pollutes your spirit. (Colossians 3:13 NLT).
When bitterness and lack of trust is embedded in the heart, you will easily express anger and hatred for every slight thing, and to people for no apparent reason. But, when true love is rooted in the heart, it will overcome and overshadow every negative feeling and action, because love covers over a multitude of faults.
Love from a pure heart does not react negatively, if not it will stir up dissension, which is not its nature, nor the character of love. This is why you must clothe yourself with love, which is the bond of perfection for all virtues (1 Peter 4:8, Colossians 3:14).
This is the hour, for us as the church, to show forth the love and grace of God to our world! Love is the underlying basis of the Church’s function, and it is the reflection of Christ’s nature. Let’s speak the truth in love and build one another in love. Let love be the guiding base of whatever you do.
One of the moral duties of love that is missing in today’s Christianity is the spirit of hospitality. We are no longer friendly and generous to receive and entertain guests, visitors, and strangers – especially those who are of the household of faith.
“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling” – [Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay] – 1 Peter 4:9 ESV.
“Contribute to the needs of God’s people [sharing in the necessities of the saints]; pursue the practice of hospitality” – Romans 12:13 AMP.
Let love for your fellow believers continue and be a fixed practice with you [never let it fail]. Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it – Hebrews 13:1-2 AMPC.
The Bible teaches us to not fail in showing hospitality. It’s part of our Christian obligation and true expression of God’s love in action (1 Timothy 5:10, Titus 1:8).
Walking in true love will allow you to walk in forgiveness. Forgiveness is an attribute of God and one of the greatest blessings of God to humanity – God is a forgiving God.
Forgiveness is important for the mental health of those who have been victimized. You forgiving others is setting yourself free for your mental well-being. Forgiveness releases healing into your life. It’s not so much about the person that is being forgiven as it is about you. You are the reason you should forgive.
Always swallow your pride, and give no room for bitterness in your heart against your brothers and sisters, so you can free yourself from the burden of unforgiveness. Seek peace and let love reign in your heart for them.
True love and forgiveness come with no obligation or strings attached. “You are to forgive one another as God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
You reflect the nature of Christ when you walk in true love and forgiveness for one another, and you overcome the works of the enemy – unforgiveness, hatred, bitterness, xenophobia, racial discrimination (racism) and such like.
Love does not antagonize. Love does not dishonour others. Love does not keep records of wrong or seek revenge for evil done. It is not resentful. Any professed believer in Christ who seeks such is not reflecting the character of Christ, and they are ignorant of God (1 Corinthians 13:1-5, 1 John 4:7-9).
Love is not just a feeling, it produces actions. Love is a strong motivator that produces actions for world change. It can drive you to conquer all things. Love is everything!
Beloved, don’t be obsessed with taking revenge, but leave that to God’s righteous justice. For the Scriptures say: “If you don’t take justice in your own hands, I will release justice for you,” says the Lord” – Romans 12:19 TPT.
If we abide and follow this instruction of the Lord to His Church, it will guide us in our manner of prayers and actions to others.
Yes, we [Christians] are hurt, heartbroken, and saddened by the evil and wickedness of men to us, and by the global events of the inhumane treatment of people. But, our attitude to these things, and to the people who do evil to us, must be different. We are to only demonstrate the character of Christ, just like when He was nailed on the cross and He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” – Luke 23:34 AMP. It only takes the love of God to say and do that, and to die to anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and revenge.
Our world today is ravaged by apartheid, xenophobia and systemic racism. It’s the work of the devil. People from both sides of the wall are ignorantly fighting one another by the colour of their skin, and casting blame, etc., without recognizing the root cause – the enemy. True love is the only effective weapon against this [from us the Church].
The church can only speak truth to power and bring righteousness, justice, peace and equality for all people when our voice and actions are born out of a true agape love – and it begins from you and me. Let us be the love of God to our dying world.
It is not an easy thing to do because it is not natural, but it is possible. It requires sacrifice, by us dying to self and allowing the nature of Christ – His love, to live through us in such a time as this.
I pray in the name of Jesus Christ that your heart will be overwhelmed with the true “agape love” of God in Christ, and that His love will flow through you and touch those around you, and make you His instrument of world change to all mankind under your reach. May you be a blessing and a light for His kingdom in this dark world through your love walk. Amen.
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