- Category: Emotional Wholeness
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The Sanctifying Power of Love
It is not that Christians do not love God it is that they do not always love Him first. The problem is that not loving Him first can become a way of life; even though a Christian, we can allow our heart to be filled with the love of other things. We can learn to live with "enemies", just as Old Testament Israel "learned" to lived with their enemies. As God's covenant people they were given a life to live and land to possess. They were God's special people and were to avoid learning the ways of the surrounding people. If they did not drive out their enemies they would then become a “thorn in their side - a source of ongoing temptation and sin. To live in the will of God we must give God first place – we allow Him to fill our heart with Himself. We drive out every enemy that would fill our heart with the love of other things.
The Christian’s greatest challenge originates from our own human nature. It is our enemy for it demands to sit on the throne of our heart and it is God's enemy for it demands to sit in His place. Our human nature is completely and utterly deceptive. It will allow us to worship and praise God, and, as long as it has the final say, it will even compliment us for our good living.
There will always be a competition between me and Jesus, between my priorities and God’s priorities. There will always be a tension between flesh and Spirit, between my thoughts and the Word of God. But, through Christ Jesus, God gives the victory.
According to the Scriptures, the love of God alone is able to remove our human nature from its controlling position within our heart. In one way or another, our human nature is the root cause of every sin problem - every relationship problem, and every attitude/personality problem. Who is at our center will either heal or cause major difficulties. Fearfulness, anxiety, discouragement, depression (non-organic), worry, tension, anger, envy, bitterness, sinful addictions, habits, etc.... all have a common root – they are all rooted in, and receive power from, our human nature.
Love is of God, meaning, He is the Source, 1John 4:7. God's love is divine, it is not of human origin. This is an important truth. We do not naturally possess the love of God, it is foreign to our human nature. We naturally possess human love and we all have the ability to show human love, which can look like God’s love. However, it is important that we do not confuse our human love with the love that is from God. Remember this – the love that is from God successfully changes the heart and turns one from sinful behavior while human love continues to follow the interests and desires of our human nature.
1Cor. 13 tells us that God’s love does not rejoice in iniquity. This is a powerful statement accurately describing the nature of God's love. Real love does not find pleasure in wickedness. It does not find reasons for unfaithfulness, or dishonesty. Real love does not find reasons to cheat, or gossip, or use people; wickedness is not appealing, worldliness is not attractive, it is not fun, it does not bring pleasure, and it is not enjoyed. God's love proceeds from God and it is holy.
Real love finds pleasure in truth, 1Cor. 13:6. The truth is that God has sent a Savior that delivers His people from the dominion of sin. God’s love rejoices in deliverance from sin. God’s love rejoices in holiness. God is holy and He tells us to be holy for “without holiness no man will see the Lord.” Heb. 12:14. Real love never makes an excuse for unrepentant sinful living. God never encourages men to stay in their sins and the person who lives by the love of God will always encourage men to turn from their sins.
God works His love into us by conforming us to Christ. This is what changes our nature. Rom 8:29 tells us that God’s predestined purpose for every Christian is to conform them to Christ. This is His will and His stated purpose for every single born-again Christian.
The word conform means to be jointly formed. It means to have the same nature as Christ; His divine nature becomes our new nature. He fills our life with Himself so that we think, act, talk, and love like He loves. When Jesus Christ fills our heart with Himself then we will see people the way He sees them and our behavior, our thinking, our ambitions, and our priorities will be determined by the love of God.
If we have Christ’s nature then God’s priorities become our priorities and our life takes on a new wholeness as our heart is filled with the sanctifying power of love for God.
The Apostle Paul said he was “constrained” by the love of Christ. Figuratively speaking, Paul was put in the squeeze-cage of God’s love. He found the love of God to be a force he could not escape and it forever changed the way he related to God and to people, Read 2Cor. 5:14-16. Paul experienced the love of God and was so changed by it that he no longer saw men the way one normally would - he no longer saw them "after the flesh”. Because Paul had been “lost” and God loved and saved him (Paul), he was compelled by the love of Christ to preach the saving gospel to others. But notice, it was the love of God that changed and energized Paul to love people and see them as God saw them.
God, before the beginning of time, purposed to have a people who would be holy and without blame, and who would love Him. Read Ephesians 1:4. This is God’s stated purpose for every single born-again Christian: to be conformed to Jesus Christ, to be holy and without blame, and to love Him. If you ever questioned what God is doing in your life, well, this is exactly what He is doing.
Are you tired of dark human pride, that part of you that negatively affects everything you do. You cannot find rest, because pride is always unhappy about something. Fleshly pride is never satisfied, its nature is to want more, and consequently can never be satisfied. it demands and demands, and always comes back for more. The good news is that God has given you a cure for pride. The cure is the love of God, it is humble and does not put itself forward. This means that if you are conformed to Christ and the love of God fills your heart then you can be satisfied with who you are. It's OK if you’re not chosen and you don’t have to be seen as the best. You don't have to run after love and acceptance, for the love of God fills your heart and His acceptance is enough for you. You can be happy even if another is more beautiful, more talented, and more intelligent. If the love of God has filled your heart you will find rest in humility. You will no longer "need" to be first. Have you had enough of yourself? If so, why not fill your heart and life with the love of God.
The love of God overcomes impatience, envy, pride, and all other sins for it finds no pleasure in them. This is an important truth – if we continue to enjoy sin then we will continue to live in it; we give ourselves to what we enjoy. If we fill our lives with the love of God then we will give ourselves to godly living because we will enjoy righteousness, holiness, and truth.
If you see that you are not filled with the love of God then begin to seek the Lord. Ask Him to baptise you afresh in the love of Jesus. Ask Him to fill you with Jesus and not yourself. Turn from fleshly thinking, climb into your mind and wash your thoughts with the Water of the Word. Use the Sword of the Spirit to kill the lies that war against what God says. Demand from yourself inner holiness and wholeness. Cultivate truth and love in all your relationships. Turn from all words that speak evil of people.
God will not deny you. If you seek Him you will find Him. It is His will to fill you with His love so be bold and relentless in your pursuit of God.
God bless you,
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