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It seems to me that every time someone mentions Love in the church it’s followed by a “but”. “We need to go to the world in Love but… we need to tell them about hell too.” or “We need to go to the world in love… but it doesn’t mean that we condone what they are doing”.
… and… while these statements that come after the “but” are true it seems like we always feel the need to quickly take the focus off of the Love. Why is that?
Are we uncomfortable with the Love? Are we uncomfortable with what it would mean to go to the world in Love? Or is it that we’re not quite sure what that means. We’re not quite sure how to do it. Is it that we’re not quite sure what Love actually is?
Are we afraid that it means coming out of the confines of the church walls and going into the darkness and shining our light? As Christians we’re often told “don’t go here, don’t go there, that is of the devil”, maybe forgetting or not recognising the Power of the Holy Spirit that lives within us and the Power in the Name of Yeshua Hamashiach HaMelech (Jesus Christ the King) who gave us authority over ALL the power of the enemy.
Or… could it be that the church doesn’t quite know what Love looks like. Is it that the majority of us have not encountered the Love of the Father?
That unconditional love that says “I may not always agree with what you are doing but I will continue to see you as you were meant to be and love you anyway. I believe that you will become all that you were created to be.”
That Love that loved us when we hated Him. That love that ran after us and loved us first. How can we not go after others in the same way?
Are we capable of loving and disagreeing at the same time? Is it that we are bowing to the pressures of the world that says that if you disagree with someone it means that you hate them? Is it that we are unable to explain in an articulate way that disagreeing does not mean hate?
About three years into my own journey as a follower of Jesus, I came to the realization that I only knew how to relate to Jesus. I would hear others call the Father “Daddy” during service but I could not relate because I only knew Jesus Christ the Saviour.
I realized then that I needed to get to know every part of the Godhead intimately and I now needed to get to know the Love of the Father. It was then that I asked Jesus to help me know the Father more. Isn’t that what He says? That the only way to the Father is through Him, Jesus Christ (John 14:6)
I believe that when many of us come to Christ we stop at Jesus. What I mean is that we accept salvation but we don’t intimately get to know the other two members of the God-Head – God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
When we are first saved we are born of the Spirit but I sincerely believe that we can’t truly walk in the Power of the Spirit until we come to know and understand the Love of the Father.
When we meet the Love of the Father, we come to understand that there is nothing that we could ever do to make Him love us more and nothing we could ever do to make Him love us less. He just loves us, we don’t have to work for it.
This is not to be used as an excuse to intentionally do whatever we want because when you truly understand the depth of His Love you can’t help but love Him back. When you love someone you don’t hurt them intentionally.
When we have this understanding we know that we can totally surrender ALL that we have to Him… and by all I mean the good AND the bad. I think that when we hear the word “surrender” we think that we have to fix ourselves first and then bring our best to God but truly we can never become our best without Him.
So bringing our best to Him means bringing the best of what we have, even if that doesn’t look like much at the moment. We have to trust Him to use what He can and fix what He can’t. And while He is fixing, we let Him use what He can use. He is willing to use us wherever we’re at in our journey with Him if we surrender it ALL.
How do we do this? How do we learn to walk in the same Love that God has so gracefully and mercifully extended to us? Showing this Love to others? Well, here are a few things that worked for me.
GET TO KNOW THE LOVE OF THE FATHER INTIMATELY
First and foremost to give Love you must know Love. If you don’t yet know God the Father, ask Jesus to take you to Him. He’s waiting with open arms to show you the same love that He has for Jesus (John 17:20-23).
You can’t give what you don’t have. Get to know your Father intimately, bare it all to Him like you would with your most intimate friend (because that’s who He is).
There is nothing we can’t tell Him. I think it’s so funny when we try to hide things from God. It’s not like He doesn’t know what we’re thinking anyway.
So that thing you’re struggling with… tell Him about it. Tell Him your hurts, your joys, about your success, about your failures. He’s just waiting
He loves you and wants to do good things for you. When you get even a glimpse of Love He has for you, you’ll want to share it, you’ll want everyone else to have what you have.
SEE OTHERS AS GOD DOES
Ask God to help you to see others through His eyes because that’s the only way He ever sees us.
In Psalm 139:16 we’re told that God wrote all of our days in His book before one of them even came to pass on this earth.
If what’s written in that book about you were to manifest fully here on earth, it would be the perfect “you”. That’s the only way He sees you, as the perfect “you”, the person that He created you to be.
When you see others as God does, you’ll begin to Love them as He does and as you Love them as He does, maybe they will begin to see and love themselves that way as well. Then they will want to become all that they were created to be, God’s original design.
USE WHAT YOU HAVE TO MEET THE NEEDS OF OTHERS
It’s okay to preach the Gospel but I think it’s always more effective to SHOW the Gospel. We do this when we outwardly live the life that we preach by meeting the felt needs of others.
The gifts, talents, and skills that God has given you were not just meant to be hobbies for your enjoyment or to be used to earn income, they were meant first and foremost I believe, to touch the lives others in a way that will draw them closer to God.
What skill, gift or talent do you have that could be used to help others and show them the Love of God?
This may not necessarily look like joining a church ministry or going out on monthly evangelism. You have the ability to reach and touch others in everything you do, wherever you are.
EXTEND MERCY AND GRACE
Our Heavenly Father, in His mercy and with much grace ran after us while we were still sinners (Rom 5:8). As Christians
Yes, the rules are important and are there for a reason but God loved us even before we were following those rules. Actually, I think it is when we come to understand how much God loves us we become more willing to follow those rules because we understand that He is good and everything He wants for us is good.
We need to extend the same mercy and grace that God extended to us “while we were still sinners”. The important things
So who are you going to Love today? Ask God to show you someone who He wants you to begin to Love like He does.
I’m not promising it will be easy, but it will surely be worth it.
(Disclaimer: He may ask you to love the most “unlovable” person in your life… ask me how I know)