A Living Manifestation of Love
As a minister here in New Zealand, I’ve reflected and prayed about the attack and massacre that happened recently in Christchurch New Zealand, in a couple of Muslim churches. This happening has caused the people of our nation to search our hearts to see what prejudices, biases and hatreds may be there.
Like so many others, I also have been going through that process, asking the Lord to expose and remove my prejudices, biases and anything that does not represent Him well, anything that is not truly representative of His love, goodness and justice.
For the past couple of years the Lord has been crystallizing something in me until it became my biggest prayer, and it is now my life’s aim and something that I believe is on God’s heart for all of us. What happened in Christchurch has merely focused it more in my thinking and in my life.
I believe God is calling us to this: to becoming the living manifestation of love, because He is love. The second thing I believe He is calling us to is a fresh commitment to pray for our countries, our people and our leaders.
As I was praying, I felt the Lord share His heart with me. The following is first of all a word to me personally, but I believe it is also a word to the Church globally.
Word of the Lord
I heard the Lord say, “This is not a time to retreat into fear; it’s a time to rise up, to show that you are My children, that you are love as I am love, that you hate injustice as I hate it, that you are against hatred and fear and all things that put mankind into bondage, as I am against them (Prov. 6:16-19). Why am I against them? Because they all violate and work against love and the freedom that love brings! (Photo via Unsplash)
“Jesus told you that in the world you would face troubles. The world is in the midst of times of trouble where men’s hearts have devised evil, and that evil is being outworked (Prov. 24:1-3; Ps. 140:2; Prov. 15:26; Zech. 7:10). But I am also at work! I am working in the hearts of those who know Me. I am tearing down the false, religious idols they have bowed down to – the wrong ideas and perceptions of Me and My Kingdom – and I am replacing them with a better theology, a better understanding of My nature and character – that I am actually love, and that everything I do is centered in that, and is an outworking of that.
“Love is not wishy-washy, it is not weak, allowing an ‘anything goes’ attitude and practice. Love is not adopting a tolerance of all things; that is an aberration of love. Love does not tolerate evil intent or evil practices. Love does not tolerate treating others with disrespect and hurting others. It does not tolerate or endorse self-hatred or other-centered hatred and destructive tendencies and behaviors. Love builds up, calls people up to being the best ‘them,’ and encourages others.
“This is what I am calling you into: an outworking of your new nature and character in Me. I am love and you are becoming love. That is the work that I am doing in this season. And in this time I am calling you to stock-take, to allow Me to search your heart and expose anything there that is not of Me, anything that will stop you from truly portraying who I am to a world that is hurting, fearful and confused about themselves, and about Me.
“Jesus told you that it is by your love for one another that all men will know you are His disciples (Jn. 13:34-35). Let your true nature be seen; love one another as His disciples and love all others as you love yourself (Mark 12:30-31). Only then will you see the full release of My Kingdom on Earth that you’ve been praying for. Praying for My power to be released is good, and pushing in to see the outworking of it is valid, but know that without love it is still a noisy gong.
“It is love that is the power behind My power; it is love that motivates everything I do and have done. As people you’ve attributed to Me many things that have not been My motivation, and are not true outworkings of love, and I am correcting much of those wrong beliefs in this season so the world can see Me as I truly am – I am love, and I am good, and justice is an outworking of that!”
Identity in Christ: the Foundation for Walking in Love
There is so much in what the Lord shared with me, and it will take many months of processing, praying into, heart searching and allowing Him to work on me, as I suspect it will for you, too. If I’m honest, it challenges some of my ideas and my theology, and that is good and right that it should, because I do not know everything, I do not hold all truth in me; I am not God.
Sadly, too often as Christians we somehow think that what we personally believe is the full truth, yet Scripture tells us plainly that we see in part, through a glass dimly (1 Cor. 13:9-12). We must allow God to challenge and change any wrong beliefs that we have.
A part of the problem is this: we don’t love ourselves because we don’t see ourselves as He does. Over the past twenty or so years there is one thing that God has relentlessly been working on in the lives of His children worldwide: our identity! Everything flows out of that – all our attitudes and behaviors, etc. They all flow out of what we know and believe about ourselves and about God.
If God is love and we are created in His image, if we have become His children and carry His likeness – having Christ living within us – then we, too, are love. That is our base, foundational identity, and all His work in our lives is to that end, that we learn who we are and how to walk as love in this world.
“Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving…” (1 Cor. 13:4-8 The Passion Translation)
“Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope and love – yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.” (1 Cor. 13:13 The Passion Translation)
Releasing the Glory of God
Are there troubles in this world? Is the enemy of mankind’s soul at work devising evil against mankind and seeking to bring him into bondage? Yes, but God is also at work, and His plans for this world are not for it to be overcome by evil, but for the Kingdom of Heaven to be released and established on Earth, that the world may know His love through us – you and me!
In Isa. 59:19b (KJV) we read this: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” While that verse was written about the times of the Biblical King Cyrus, it does show us a truth; that God does not like unrighteousness and will rise up against it. He will rise up and pour out His power and glory like a mighty, rushing river. The Common English Bible translates this verse in this manner: “[S]o those in the west will fear the LORD’s name, and those in the east will fear God’s glory. It will come like a rushing river that the LORD’s wind drives on.”
There is an outpouring of the glory of God that is building. Now is not the time to be afraid; now is the time to allow your light to shine, and the glory of God to be released through you as you love those around you, dispelling fear, bringing peace and hope into people’s lives through what you say, and what you do, as you interact with them.
I’d like to finish by asking you this: Will you join me in praying for, and doing, the two things I shared at the beginning of this word – to make becoming the living manifestation of love your aim (because that is who we really are), and secondly, in making a fresh commitment to pray for our country and its leaders?
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