“You can see God from anywhere if your mind is set to love and obey Him.” — A.W. Tozer
Love is mentioned 281 times in the King James Version of the Holy Bible and the book of John, chapter 15 seems to be the chapter that best illustrates what that love should look like.
John 15:9-10 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
John 15:12-13 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
Love is the one debt we can never fully repay. We can’t love enough to ever get to a place where we do not need love anymore. In fact, the more we become like Jesus, the more we will love others and the more of the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in our lives. Please notice that love is not optional, but it is a direct commandment from God! Jesus reiterated it three times there in John 15.
1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
Kenneth Copeland in his book, ‘The Blessing of the LORD, Makes Rich and He Adds No Sorrow With It,’ talks about how when he was trying to overcome strife in his life, the Lord told him that ‘he was practicing anger.’ He practiced getting mad or angry at things, like the car, his tools, traffic and other annoyances. The Lord told Kenneth he practiced anger so much that it never left him and the only way to reverse this was to practice love instead.
This is huge! I realized I have the same problem and now I know why! We need to practice God’s love all the time! We need to think about it and put it into practice continually. We need to do what Jesus told us to do in Luke:
Luke 6:27-36 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
If we will do that consistently and faithfully, we can have the full blessing of God operating in our lives. We cannot just say we are going to try and walk in love, we must make up our minds that we will walk in love – no matter what the enemy throws at us! If we merely try, we will fail. We must be adamant that this is the way we will walk from now on. We must be fully persuaded if you will. After all, this is God’s commandment and we want to be obedient to Him and stay in the perfect center of His will for us.
1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
Now, taking this notion one step further, love can also be called the royal law of the kingdom of God because Jesus told us to observe the Shema:
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Mark 12:29-31 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Jesus told us if we obey these two commandments, we fulfilled all the requirements of the law (Torah). Observant Jews consider the Shema to be the most important part of the prayer service in Judaism, and it is recited twice daily as a religious commandment. It is traditional for Jews to say the Shema as their last words at night, and for parents to teach their children to say it before they go to sleep at night.
The Lord impressed this upon me early in my Christian walk, long before I knew it was the Shema or how important it is to practicing Jews. For several years now, I have been teaching my children there are only two commandments for Christians to follow, and they are quoted there in Mark 12:29-31. I usually say this prayer first thing in the morning and as the last thing before retiring at night. Love is indeed what sets us apart from the rest of the world. It needs to be who we are – just as it is who God is.
If we walk in love, we can bless the one who curses us, who reviles or steals from us. We need to understand that, we are the Lord’s connection to that person. If they take something from us, and we bless them and love them, the Lord will replace whatever was taken. He loves them more than He does the thing or item they stole. When we open the door and pray for those who use us despitefully, we allow God to have full sway in that situation and it pleases Him! We will discover that people cannot continue to curse and revile us once we start loving them and praying for them. But, even if they do, we need to be obedient and bless them anyway because that’s who we are supposed to be – blessors of men!
Luke 6:37-38 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Love is more important because it is greater than faith or hope!
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Remember, we defeat evil with good. If we walk in love, we can defeat evil at every turn. We can turn what the enemy meant for destruction into a window or ray of hope for some poor oppressed soul.
We must never combat evil by matching it blow for blow. We are to be lovers and blessors of men. Most people will be completely disarmed when we respond in love to whatever is thrown at us. We must be ever mindful that the lamp of the wicked will be extinquished – forever…
Proverbs 13:9 The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.
Proverbs 24:20 For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
Our job is to rescue as many as we can from the clutches of the enemy and help them see Jesus before they face the ultimate penalty.
Proverbs 24:11-12 If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
Father, please help us to be ever mindful of the role we can play in rescuing the lost, the bound and the oppressed. Help us to love one another as you would have us to love each other. Help us to understand the enemy is all about death, stealing and destruction and we combat that with love. Help us realize love is the greatest weapon of all! You gave us your Son that we might live. Help us to give others the Son too so they might live too! In the matchless name of Jesus we pray. Amen.