“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who
WALK not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4)
LEARNING HOW TO WALK IV
THE WALK OF LOVE: “Be ye therefore followers (imitators) of God, as dear children. And WALK in love, as Christ also has loved us and has given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.” (Ephesians 5:1-2) We can do a lot of things in the Name of Jesus but we cannot “work” our way into God’s favor. There are many reasons why people labor for the cause of God’s Kingdom but unless the motive is genuine love for God and love for people – we have drifted into the tainted area of personal politics. Love is the nature of God and everything we are and all the “branches” of our abilities and intentions must sprout from Him as He is the Divine Vine. Growing as a Christian means that we are slowly transforming into His image and this awareness of compassion for others comes from the same love that was in Jesus when He willingly suffered on the cross for us. The idea is for the branch to receive nourishment from the vine and allow the beautiful fruit of God’s presence to be seen and tasted. When we stop trying to be our own vine and begin submitting to His divine order, we can begin to grow correctly and blossom into His perfect will. This process of learning how to WALK in the Father’s divine reality separates the religious imposters that have a form of Godliness from the serious minded disciples that weep over the souls of others. “He that loves not does not know God; for God is love. In this was manifested (revealed) the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” (I John 4:8-9) “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God and God in him.” (Verse 16) Walking with God – is walking IN God’s love!
We see throughout God’s Word how high on the list He has placed love. Godly love is not an option or a religious formula – it is a mandatory requirement that reveals just how much of God we have “allowed” to be manifested in our life! It does not matter what we do – it is all about who He is IN US! Selah. “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not CHARITY, it profits me nothing!” I Corinthians 13:3) Not only are we to love God and people with all of our heart, mind and strength, but we must be careful to not fall in love with the “things” of the world. This attraction to the pleasures of this life is directly connected to satisfying the lust of our flesh. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world is passing away and the lust thereof: but he that will do the will of God abides forever.” (I John 2:15-17) We want to please ourselves and this comes from our old carnal nature. If we allow our old way of thinking to control us, we are no different from the unsaved that are led by their emotions and demonic influences. When we become born-again, Jesus helps us move everything out of our heart so that He can fill us with His new way of seeing and thinking. When our mind begins the renewal process and the eyes of our heart are opened to His will, we begin to desire to please Him and not our flesh. So we can understand the reason why people struggle with being led by the Holy Spirit is because they actually love their self too much with the wrong type of love. This is the “phileo” or lower love of the flesh that is stimulated within our emotions. The agape love is the “higher” spiritual love that comes from God and is ministered through our spirit into our mind. Spiritual love goes far beyond how we would handle situations because it is a deep commitment to the principals of God’s Word and His character. It has nothing to do with our “feelings” but has everything to do with our submission and obedience to Him. As we allow Him to become the LORD of our life, His agape love will grow stronger within our conscience. Our love will be the light and salt of our testimony and will reveal to the world that Christ is the Savior and King of glory.
Godly love is not just an emotion but the character that is imbedded in the nature of His divine person. We know we are IN HIM and He is IN US when we desire to constantly know Him, serve Him, please Him and abide in His presence. Natural love is a fleshly attraction that is based on emotional feelings and carnal thinking (what can you do for me). God loves people even when they spit on Him and curse Him because He loves them “spiritually” unconditionally. We also are to look beyond what is causing people to be blind and lost and love them with a vision to see them delivered and saved. If we spend all of our time lusting and chasing the pleasures of this world we will ignore the real purpose of our mission and fail in the intended destiny of our life. The devil’s strategy is to distract us with pleasure so that we will not care about pleading with Father to give us the revelation of love. When we pray for God to open the eyes of our heart we are asking Him to show us the “spiritual” condition of those who need Him. This discernment is for the purpose of becoming more sensitive to others. The point is for us to look beyond people’s flesh and listen to what Father is telling us to do. Agape love is a Godly REACTION to how others treat us and this DEMONSTRATION of His nature will always open the door to conviction which gives the Holy Spirit the ministry opportunity God is looking for. When we walk in agape love we are a USABLE candidate for a holy, divine appointment. Those who walk in the emotional, flesh realm cannot be used at all because they will react in the default system of flesh which is the complete opposite of God and totally ineffective for His kingdom. Let us go a little deeper and look at these verses. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love) I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” In other words God is saying that we might be an impressive speaker with bold flattering words but if we do not genuinely love people, it is all just a bunch of bologna! People will not believe we are sincere and our lectures and speeches will be annoying and irritating. “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains and have not charity – I am nothing.” Many in the faith will focus on prophecy and everything connected with eschatology and that is fine. But I have personally known those who could talk with you all day long about the spiritual “mysteries” and yet be mean, harsh and nasty to everyone all around them. How can that be? It seems something is out of order and I believe that is the interpretation of these verses. How can a Christian go to church and proclaim to know all about the Bible and yet have hostility and hatred toward other races? The Lord is saying that some people will be deceived by thinking they are closer to God than everyone else when in reality God does not even consider them His children. “Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name have cast out devils? And in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.” (Mathew 7:21-23)
That might sound a little rough but I believe the point is very clear, that developing agape love is not an option! I use the word “developing” because we do not automatically have this deep spiritual compassion when we become born-again. When the Lord talks about our mind needing to be “renewed” He is not just reminding us of another free gift that comes with salvation. Along with everything else that is “offered” in His redemptive grace and mercy, the concept of sacrificing in order to receive is crucial to understand if we really desire to grow. The Christian life is filled with “conditions” which means that God is waiting for us to take the initiative to grab hold of His promises and to follow through with our responsibility to cooperate with Him. If we do not “invest” our time and our energy into His divine reality we will not receive the empowerment that we must have to know Him and to live for Him. If we do not absorb His revelations of wisdom and the mysteries of His faith, we will not mature into the overcomer He has destined for us to become. Learning HOW to love will take personal study and fervent prayer because we must transfer our focus from the old self into God’s perspective. We cannot react like we used to or would like to because we have submitted that old nature and will to the grave. We now need to see people the way God sees them and that will take a consecrated life of learning to live in the awareness of His presence.
We all hear the word “love” used but much of what we say and hear from others is but only a well-intended, surface gesture. We all must look beyond the charismatic personalities and on into the depths of God’s Word to find what true love really is. The house that was built on the sand did not have love as it’s foundation and was washed away. If we have not been shown love in our childhood or if we have been treated badly, we will have a tendency to not be as close to people or be willing to trust them. Family problems especially with Fathers create a barrier of bitterness and can require counseling to help reveal what is holding us back from reaching out in love. At the bottom of our Christian foundation is where all of us must begin to fully comprehend the meaning of spiritual love – and that is learning how to love God just for who He is. It’s our relationship WITH HIM that creates His love within us! Selah. When we are filled with His Spirit we are filled with His love. When we take the time to worship Him and tell Him how much we truly adore Him – then He can begin to give us the passion to love others. So, our love for others is measured by our love for Him. Selah.