LOVE HAS AUTHORITY OVER DARKNESS
To my Brothers and Sisters, who share in the edification of the Body, that through His Holy Spirit, we may manifest the love of God, Our Father, and Jesus Christ, His Son.
I was listening to a radio talk show I do not normally listen to, but God wanted to teach me something. A listener called in to ask a clergyman what he could do to help his coworkers who had abandoned their faith. The clergyman simply told him to pray for them.
Oh my! I thought. This is why we have so many weak Believers who know nothing of discipleship and the power within them, let alone, what they truly believe in. So, what should he do, I asked? As the popular saying goes, “What would Jesus do?”
This led me to think about why I am so comforted when I come to the passages in the Bible where Jesus is speaking. What is it about Him that speaks with such authority but at the same time is so compelling and loving? Without doubt, it is God's love speaking through Him. It is God's love that draws us to Him and works within to change and complete us.
We have all heard the sayings, 'Love your enemies' and 'God is love'. When we act in love, we give God authority over the situation. Hate fuels the fire and love puts out the flame. God's love is unchanging, everlasting, transforming, miraculous, able to create heaven and earth, mankind and give His Son to die for us.
Love validates and identifies us as belonging to God. It shows acceptance and approval. It strengthens, empowers and edifies. It is the hidden manna that fortifies the spirit and transforms the soul. We do not see it, but we feel it. It feeds us, strengthens and touches our heart.
People love. We see love everyday. Yes, we see expressions of love, but where does it come from? What kind of love is it? What we see most is worldly love and love of the world. It comes and goes and changes at whim. It is filled with pain and darkness, for it is not born of Truth.
The world is filled with angry, irritated people, especially young people, who have never been truly loved. They welcome the darkness because it fills the void inside. We see this inside prisons, where pushers of false doctrine and religion lie in wait of those filled with anger and void of love. Darkness has no problem recruiting people and increasing the number of new converts under its control. If we are to dispel darkness, we must love people as Jesus loved.
CHANGED BY LOVE
John 19:26, John 20:2, John 21:7, John 21:20
We are given a very strong, personal and poignant message in the book of John. There is a very deliberate...intentional omission of a name in the phrase “ the disciple whom Jesus loved.” There are many, deep feelings behind this phrase and its use.
Many wonder if it speaks of one or more persons, or, of John, himself. What it does speak, is truth...truth unto those whose hearts are not hardened. Like Jesus' parables, this truth is not given for all to know. The question is not, “Who did Jesus love?” The answer is, “How did Jesus love?” For those seeking one name, believing Jesus was biased and favored one man over another, then we can fill in the blank with the name the one prefers. However, let us reason together within the Mind of Christ. Jesus said the the Father was within Him. He did as He saw the Father do. We also know that Jesus was the Word of God, which is God. So, if God loves us all unconditionally and has no preference of man, then, why would anyone say that Jesus loved one Disciple over another or that He only loved one Disciple the most? Has the world love been misinterpreted? Or, have the hearts and minds of men strayed from following Jesus?
How did Jesus love? The phrase points out and helps us to understand that Jesus had an undying love and relationship with His followers. In spite of their flaws and short-comings, regardless of their personal feelings toward one another, their unworthiness or betrayal. There was no doubt that, Jesus loved them all. Yes, even Judas, a sinner, like you and me. Jesus loved them all and His love was life-changing and dispelled the darkness.
For His disciples, all of their feelings and experiences (loss, remorse, joy, wonder, fear, sadness, weakness, anger, trust, distrust, peace, bitterness, jealousy, confusion, acceptance, comfort, guilt, sympathy, pity, strength, love, admiration, reverence, etc.)...these emotions are summed up, resolved and celebrated in that one phrase....”the disciple whom Jesus loved.” To be loved by Jesus is to be truly loved.
Many take this phrase out of context to mean one thing or another. Nonetheless, God prevails and gives us proof...proof that the twelve had become one and loved one another as Jesus loved them and told them to love one another. And because He loved us so, I will love as He loved.
Jesus last commandment to His disciples was that they love one another; for this Godly love would have authority over their feelings and over their relationship, in spite of their differences. Love for one another would prove that they were His followers. To submit to God's love is to submit to His Will and His Way. Godly love is unifying.
JOHN 13:33-35 (NKJV)
33 Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
To know Jesus' love is to know God's love. It is love of a father for his children, regardless of their wrong doings and short-comings. It is love that chastises and forgives. It is love that nurtures and guides. Jesus' love sees all that is within you that others cannot see. God's love enables us to see with His eyes.
Mark 10:17-22 (NKJV)
17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”
20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”
21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Jesus looked at the young man and loved him. What did He see: a life of honor, respect and obedience; a life of luxury and riches? Yes, but there was more. Jesus looked at his heart, with God's eyes. Then, He spoke in love. And although, He loved the young man, He asked that which He knew would be refused. He asked that which the young man simply would not give up or risk, because he lacked one thing. Did Jesus take away His love when the young man turned away from Him, saddened at His requests, or did He continue to love the youth, knowing the kind of life and love he had chosen?
WE WERE CREATED TO RESPOND TO LOVE
From the time we are born, we respond to love. A baby is comforted by the sound of a loving voice. A child can discern when they are chastised in love or anger. This is why God entreats us to speak the truth always in love. Like Adam, we were created to respond to God's voice and within His voice can be heard love and authority.
Man creates laws and more laws that must be enforced, because laws do not change people, they only deter or detour behavior. When we truly love one another, there is respect, because we submit to the will of God. Truly love one another you say? Can we love others as God loves us? That is the problem. People don't know how to love because they don't know God.
John 17:3, Jesus said, “and this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” The disciples came to know God through Jesus. We, too, can show others God, through His Holy Spirit within us.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect
God gives us the power of love to overcome the darkness that creates and drives our enemies; for our war is not with flesh and blood, but with the adversary. We are not given only the power of prayer. God intends for us to be proactive and even more so, to be preemptive and preventative.
Christians have become use to doing damage control because they do not walk in the Light. Damage control only minimizes damage and provides a temporary fix. When you walk with God, there is no need for damage control, because He is in control.
Having God's love within us means that, ”no weapon formed against us can harm us.” Being filled with God's love means that, “we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” Walking with God's love means, “If God be for us, then who can be against us.”
Those in the world use their love as a weapon to entice and punish, because their love is not of Truth. When God chastises us, it is because of His love for us, that we may live in the harmony of Truth and abide in the blessings and protection of His love.
“Love thy enemy.” He said. There is strength and power in love. God's Love is an authoritative shield to protect—a repelling force so that the enemy's heart is pierced with their own spear; for love exposes hate and convicts; it brings pause, serenity and humbleness; it extracts, deflates, elevates, validates and seals. When, we love our enemy, we remove the power from Satan to aggravate, manipulate and destroy lives.We are empowered and blessed by the fruitfulness that is produced by our love for them.
We who walk in the Light must show others how to love. Love strengthens us and we can strengthen others. This is our calling to lead others to be disciples who walk in the light—who walk in love and authority. This is the result of prayer; the hope and fruitfulness that we must teach others to live and walk in, as they pray unceasingly so they may not become lost sheep who have strayed from the flock.
Yes, God wants us to pray for others. But, if you are compelled to pray, do not pray only in pity or sorrow, as if all hope is gone. Pray in victory and thanksgiving, exuding Godly love, with abounding faith in what God can and will do, when we ask in Jesus' name. When we love our neighbor as we love ourselves, yes, we give God authority over our relationships--authority that changes things. Most often, we also find a change taking place within us, to mold us into vessels of light, in order to do His Will, for what is needed within the relationship.
PETER: “Greater love hath no man ...”
John 15:12-14 (KJV)
12 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
Peter was a Disciple eager to prove himself--his faith and his love for Jesus. He was eager to prove that his faith and courage surpassed that of others. Still, Jesus knew his heart. He was not quite ready for what was ahead of him. His faith would be put to the test and seal his fate. Although, Peter appeared to be ready to take risks, there was one risk he was not ready for.
So, this is my question for the caller on the radio and others like him, “What is the faith that they have abandoned?” What is it you think they should return to? If they no longer believe in God, then, they have also abandoned love, hope, joy, truth, peace, for all are of God. They still have faith, but it cannot grow. It has no light. It is without the Water of Life. It lacks true purpose, direction and guidance. It has been uprooted, adrift or replanted in the world.
What the coworkers have rejected is religion. Faith is not religion. Faith is not Catholic or Protestant, Jewish or Muslim. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith is the ability to see Truth and hold on to it as if you are shipwrecked in the ocean, finding a piece of wood and clinging to the only thing that can keep you afloat.
Faith is not proven by practicing rituals in a building, nor manifested by repetitive prayer, scripture or song. We cannot see faith or love, but we feel it and know it exists as Truth. Did this coworkers abandon their faith or could they not see or accept Truth?
Religion cannot produce truth or godliness. God is Truth. When religion is offered as faith, it does not lead others to a relationship with Truth--God. The sheep become lost and scattered. The affect of religion and false doctrine leaves them confused, embittered and worse off than before. They are adrift and cling to the world to keep them afloat, because they do not know Truth (God).
They have run from that which has put unnecessary burdens upon their back and a heavy yoke around their neck. What they do not know is...they cannot escape God. The goodness which they seek within the world can only be found in Him. When they do not find it, or it is taken away, they call upon His name. But, where shall they go? They do not want to return to the rituals, practices and doctrine that could not feed them or help them, but burdened them even more. They are lost sheep, but are they even missed? Is someone searching for them? Or, have they been abandoned and left to be claimed and devoured by the darkness?
What would Jesus do? He would love them and continuously pursue their hearts until they too say, I am loved by Jesus. I see God in you. I desire a relationship with God like you have with Him. Can others say this of us? Will they say they were loved by us, as Jesus loved? Will we lead them to follow?
If you simply want to point a finger, shake your head in pity or condemnation of others, feeling that there is nothing you can do, then perhaps all you can do is pray. While you are at it, pray for yourself, also, to be delivered from the bondage that has most of God's people weakened and chained to religion, for this also is abandonment of faith. However, if you believe you have faith, put your faith to the test. Take a leap of faith and do what Jesus would do...love them and through your love, hope for them to encourage and strengthen them where they are lacking in faith. Show others true faith in God, for, once again, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Love for the lost is evidence of your hope for them. Your Godly love casts light upon them and is a shield against the darkness that wants to claim them. Your Godly love is proof of the God they cannot see.
There will be some who think this message is impractical, too radical, premature or illogical. However, each day, we wake up our faith is put to the test. Do we accept the risks before us or deny Jesus and cling to our own lives and the world?
If we are to lead the lost back to the flock, we must offer them more than religion. We must show them Truth. God's Word is Truth. In our relationship with them, we must always show them Jesus, for Jesus is the author and finisher of faith. If they abide in Him, He will increase their faith and lead them to the Kingdom.
As disciples, we abide in Jesus' love—a love that is proactive. Love that led Jesus to die for us. Jesus showed us that there are always risks in loving others, but if we truly love our brother, we take those risks.
Mark 8:34-36 (NKJV)
34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
Abide in Jesus. Know God. And with this assurance we have nothing to fear:
Isaiah 54:16-17 (NKJV)
16 “Behold, I have created the blacksmith
Who blows the coals in the fire,
Who brings forth an instrument for his work;
And I have created the spoiler to destroy.
17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord.
Yes, there are many who are seen as having abandoned their faith, but, then again, there are even more who have not truly found it. Can one lead the lost if they too are lost? Still, the Shepherd calls.
Father, “I am thine oh, Lord. I have heard Thy voice and it told Thy love for me.”
Help us to love others as You love us. May Your love in us lead the lost to Your Kingdom.
Jesus, you said, “ He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Jesus, we believe in You and the power of Your Love. Let your water—the Spirit of Truth--flow from us into those who thirst; water that will revive their faith and help it to grow.
Father, help us shine Your Light to dispel their darkness and the lies that it brings. Help us to always speak in love and truth. May Your Holy Spirit in us touch their hearts and transform to make them over—a new creature—a new vessel—heirs to the Kingdom and eternal life. Amen
Through the Grace and Mercy of God,
Published by Mishael T