So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself’ ” (Luke 10:27 NKJV).
Often, these words of great inner transformation are being ignored by Christians because most think that the Lord was just making a statement. To understand and apply this message into our lives we need to deliberate, meditate and internalise this message. In other words, we should bring this message closer to our hearts and own it so that the effect of this command should take root and possess our inner being by releasing the energy of this love in our hearts.
What is Love and Where Does it Originate?
Briefly, love is being defined as a variety of different feelings of strong attraction to someone or something. Therein is trust, peace and security with a comfort that this force of love has no end. As we know, love in any relationship often starts with a promise of lasting endurance, but as a relationship matures our promise of long lasting faithfulness changes into a conditional love, which we base on the promise, actions, and commitment of the other party, and often with selfish and unrealistic demands.
Unfortunately, love is not without ‘eyes’ and it was never meant to operate blindly. Biblically, love has built-in values which should manifest spontaneously when duty calls. The Bible gives us in the book of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 some distinct characteristics of love and any absence of any of these creates an imbalance leading to an incomplete love. In this context, I find no distinction that love should be departmentalized to apply differently to God, family or our neighbours. If it would, we would not be operating on the full force of love as Scripturally defined (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). In our giving of love to others, we sow and a return is guaranteed (Galatians 6:7; Luke 6:38). Like we said in the Good Manners article, love works in co-operation with respect and some of the values we discussed.
Brethren, we cannot emphasise enough that the Christian faith is meaningless unless we prove it through love and the outworking of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22). The Lord likens Christians to a tree which attracts people by the good fruit it bears and a bad tree is for the fire (Matthew 7: 16-20). A good and ideal Christian finds his or her fruits from the Vine, which is Christ (John 15:1-4). In contrast an abrasive, rude and an unkind Christian dwells in the parched land and away from the fruitfulness and nourishment found in Christ alone (Jeremiah 17:6). In Christ love dwells and in a Christian love should blossom as an attractive force of peace and comfort (Philippians 4:7). As we mention in the Experiencing True Peace article, where there is no peace, there is no love because these two fruits co-exist (Galatians 5:22). The Bible says God is love (1 John 4:16). Therefore, with God being love who lives in us, why are we allowing hateful feelings, slander and deceitful living to control us? Are we desiring good and bad to walk with us (Matthew 6:24)? If that is our position, the fullness of God’s Goodness will give way, for light have no companionship with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:15-16).
Identifying the Dark Patches that Clouds our Souls
We are warned in the Bible not associate with sexually immoral Christians (1 Corinthians 5:9-11), those who have a form godliness but deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5), and bad company which corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 NASB). Otherwise, are we always trying to avoid the company of someone we know? If yes, why? I’m sure you have the answer for that. Whatever our reasons, can we truly say that we are loving God and showing love to that person? The full force of love, which has been packaged by God to resist unlovingness, has built-in values and will always defy human reason and feelings in its quest to fulfil its destiny. What I mean is when love compels against the danger of rejection, reason cease and love fulfils (2 Corinthians 5:14). This tells us that love is not selfish and it NEVER FAILS! It fulfils. In addition, when we operate by our will to decide on love, we give conditionally; but when we give by the will of the Holy Spirit, our lower nature suffers and the Spirit fulfils. This is beautifully summed up by what the Apostle Paul when he said, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:12-14 NIV). If ‘we have an obligation’, the Holy Spirit is supposed to control us and when He controls, why do we give love short?
The Bible says that fear is an obstruction to love (1 John 4:18); that is why some people are afraid to love. They reason that others might take advantage of them. Are we not sometimes taking advantage of the Lord’s great love for us when we sin or disobey wilfully? Yes, we do! Are we not sacrificing love, a continuing debt we owe (Romans 13:8), which is our obligation and fulfilling fear, which is our distraction? Our will must serve the requirements of Scripture (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Furthermore, are you always trying to be right and never wrong and rejecting correction while self-serving? Do you pursue quarrels and always in a self-pity mood? By examining yourself, you might find that you don’t have love in yourself because you are taking and not giving. Brethren, while this is not a good rebuke to share but for the benefit of everybody, the Lord rebuked a sister sharply for her lack of love, saying that “My daughter Dawn (not real name) does not have love in herself”. This was a deep rebuke that exposed the patches of anger, hatefulness, selfishness and rejection of the Holy Spirit, who equals love, God and Christ (Romans 8:9-10). In the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ also showed that rejecting Him and seeking glory and recognition from men while failing to seek glory from God displays that a Christian is lacking the word of God and love within themselves (John 5:37-44).
Where to Find and Grow Love
We have all been naturally endowed with basic love to show care to our children and immediate families. However, love to serve others and to treat others with dignity as brethren is found in God alone. By serving and asking God we grow love as He prunes it to develop fully. This is also evident in the animal realm and their love is observed by the care and protection they give to their young (Job 39:1-3; Matthew 23:37). In some occasions in the Bible, animals even show love for God and care for human beings (Numbers 22:21-30; 1 Kings 17:2-6; Jonah 1:17; 2:10). Unlike animals, humans love is dynamic, transitional and incomplete. Our love has a Source, God through Christ (1 John 4:8; John 3:16) and Biblically if we have no union with Christ, there is no God and no Spirit no love (1 John 4:8; Romans 8:9; John 13:20). This truly sets Christianity apart from other religions who are founded on cultural values. We know culture yields laws and if violated punishment, but in Christ, however, we are commanded to love and love covers over a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8).
The Lord’s love is real and having been a loveless person myself through my past life of hateful feelings and violence, I gave up my old life to follow the Lord’s ways. In being a Christian, I learned that my love was growing as I walked closer with the Lord. Therefore, the more we spend time in God’s Presence through prayer, worship, church services and Bible reading, the more we generate love (James 4:8). By Word reading, we develop the reality and discernment regarding what love really should be. Human love is interest driven and being fickle we are always looking for the gratification of our ever increasing desires for more and these serve as distractions. God purposely allowed the various distractions (Matthew 13:29) to test our endurance as He refines the dross from the pure gold (1 Peter 1:7). Like we said, operating from two or more personalities stifles the Holy Spirit, which hinders our walk and giving strength to our lower nature to dominate us (Romans 8:13-14). Love is the Golden Key to Heaven and we MUST possess it in abundance. As the love of many is growing cold in these last days (and indeed this is evident everywhere around the world) we encourage you to have love in yourself to give and attract the lost to Christ. Love is the greatest Cause, the single unifier of the human race. All people can identify with the force of love, for it is the only remedy known to man that calms the storms of life in the troubled human soul. This love, is God's gift to us that brought us peace (Romans 5:8; Isaiah 53:5).
In conclusion, have you been failing to seek God daily and remain in the Lord Jesus Christ, the true vine, that you may bear good fruit (Galatians 5:22; John 15:1-5)? Have you been skipping your personal time with the Lord and yielding bad fruit and cold love (Jeremiah 17:6; John 15:6)? If so, seek the Lord in repentance while loving Him and others as yourself (Luke 10:27).
If you would like to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please get started by praying this Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments about this article or our ministry, please contact us.
Blessed love in fear of God,
Brother Glenn and Preparing for the Kingdom Ministry Team.