Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13: 1 New Living Translation).
I’ve had this verse in my heart for a while now and I’ve been giving it some intense thought. I say intense thought because it has been affecting my everyday actions. It has made me stop and think about what I am about to do or say. Am I doing this in love? Is what I’m going to say fruitful? This thought process had been working its way through my brain even when I posted the following on Facebook:
“As Christians, it’s not enough for us to just “get people saved.” We really need to get out of that added notch in the belt mindset. When our primary focus is just to “get people saved” what happens is most folks will only concede so we stop beating them over the head with Scripture. Our words won’t touch the deep places of their heart to set a firm foundation.
To be effective in leading others to the feet of Christ, we must minister to the whole person – the mind, body and spirit. Think of it as breaking up the ground in order to plant seed – there must be fertile ground for the seed to take root. Not only that, we have to make sure the seed we sow is healthy – this means we have to approach this from a compassionate and loving place. Once again – getting John 3:16 deep into our spirits.
Helping the lost come to relationship with Christ is something that we should not approach as though we are a medical clinic and they are the numerous nameless, faceless patients herded through the office throughout the day. We must be the type of Christians who see this as a compassionate interaction to be the hands and feet of Christ, ministering to the person as if they are the only one there.
Jesus gives each of us personalized service, we should do the same to those He puts in our path. Selah.”
All that we do must come from a heart of love – service, intercession, evangelism, prophecy, help, administration….everything. Without love, nothing we do or say is received. Without love, we lack the compassion and mercy to be effective in anything, and yes – we will sound like noise to the hearer, and tuned right out, often with disastrous results to interpersonal relationships. This includes how we interact with other members of the Church.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16 NKJV). God loved the WORLD, not just the Jews and the Christians, not just the good, but the WORLD. I heard a pastor speak about the prophetic connotations of this verse a couple of weeks ago and have been working it into the deeper regions of my heart by meditating on it. This verse isn’t just for the lost, but also for the Church. If you haven’t already picked up on things – not only do I have a heart for the lost, but I hold a very deep place in my heart for the Church, the Bride of Christ – for without us here in this world, how will anyone know Christ Himself? I long for the Church to be unified and to be the salt and light we are called to be. I pray constantly for the Church to be baptized in the love of God, for it is His love that will empower, carry and strengthen us for the days ahead. He is love!
My heart is broken, however, for the Church has hurt the Church. I know far too many people who have withdrawn from the Church and gone either rogue or in search of other gods simply because they were judged and condemned instead of loved on and accepted. If I am accepted in the Beloved, and you are accepted in the Beloved, who are we to say someone else isn’t? Especially if they look, act and believe different than us? And more so if they question everything we’ve been taught? So these folks move on to where they feel loved and accepted and those of us in their lives who are Christians are treated with contempt because other Christians hurt them…badly. Too many people are walking in this world bearing the lacerations, scars and open wounds inflicted upon them by the Church. Don’t we realize that those we hurt and push away are the ones Satan will come after and worry until he has them convinced they aren’t worthy of the Love of God?
Throughout the history of the Church, persecution has spread the Gospel, but the man-centered church has stifled it and blocked growth. We must get out of the mindset that we are here to save people, to preach to them their personal list of sins, to condemn them when they don’t see things our way and to do it all in the name of Christ. If we really look at Christ’s life, He did not condemn those He saved – He made them whole, while forgiving their sins, telling them to sin no more. He did not focus on their sin, He did not create sins based on His interpretation of Scripture and He did not shun them when they asked for help – He extended love, grace and mercy. The only people He spoke out against were the religious elite of His day. As ambassadors for Christ we should pattern ourselves after Him.
Church, let us begin to love in deed and not just word. Let us begin to question all we’ve been taught and search the Scriptures through the power of the Holy Spirit for what God is saying in this season. Let us not rely on man’s interpretation of scripture for our spiritual health, but fast, pray and read them for ourselves. Let’s not simply read the bible to check it off for the day, but to know our Father’s heart of love for the world and His Son, Jesus Christ. Revival is coming to this land, but the heart of the Father desires His children to stop the sibling rivalry and fawning for His attention and simply come to Him for what is needed.
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8).
Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins (Proverbs 10:12).
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).