As we began our transition into the new year, the Lord shared a few things with me regarding the new era we are coming into.
One of the first things is that we will be going through a goat path or a narrow path. Things we are comfortable with will be stripped from us..many will think this is the enemy; however, the Lord is trimming the excess out of our lives.
However, let’s remember that narrow is the gate that leads to life. A wide gate does not contain intimacy.
That loving one another will become more challenging in the times to come…
And during the most recent couple of weeks, the Lord has been whispering to me, do not let your love grow cold, as in context to the above.
Why is it essential for us to love one another?
“So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”
This will make more sense later… but as we come into love, we walk more in Him.
‘Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.’ This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is like it in importance: ‘You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself.’ Contained within these commandments to love you will find all the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.”
We spend so much time chasing all these things, trying to live out the will of God when it is right here in front of us. Our purpose is wrapped in Love. First and foremost, we know Love because it was first shown to us; this is the only way we even know how to respond to God because He first showed us what Love looks like. It looks like laying down your LIFE so your frienemies can live. Your friends and enemies…
Through quite a simple deduction, we see that our first purpose, if you would, is to be loved, and through that example of perfect Love, we begin to love others.
“Your ancestors have also been taught ‘Love your neighbors and hate the one who hates you.’ However, I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them. For that will reveal your identity as children of your heavenly Father. He is kind to all by bringing the sunrise to warm and rainfall to refresh whether a person does what is good or evil. What reward do you deserve if you only love the loveable? Don’t even the tax collectors do that? How are you any different from others if you limit your kindness only to your friends? Don’t even the ungodly do that? Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, become perfect like him.”
We can’t just surround ourselves with “Yes People” and only love those who comply with what we think or want. Still, we must be willing to put aside our will and plans to show whoever is in our path what Love looks like.
Loving will be a challenge. Not just loving the challenging but loving the very people next to you become a battle. As we become more and more opinionated, we will become more critical of those we say we love. Even now, the thought going through our minds is “if so and so would blank and blank, then it will be ok,” but guess what, that isn’t the Lord. Those aren’t His thoughts.
We need to let go of whatever we are holding on to…whether it is evil they have done or the good you have done.
When you hold on to a grudge or an offense against another, you hand yourselves over to torment. If you release the person holding nothing to memory, not only do they get delivered but so do you.
In turn, those forgiven much Love much in return.
Are we really going to remind the Lord what we’ve done for him in comparison to all he’s done for us? Whatever we have done for others, whether a cup of water, a hot dog, or paid off a debt, we have done it for the Lord. What is there to boast in? Is this not what we are supposed to be doing?
Later Peter approached Jesus and said, “How many times do I have to forgive my fellow believer who keeps offending me? Seven times?”
Jesus answered, “Not seven times, Peter, but seventy times seven times! The lessons of forgiveness in heaven’s kingdom realm can be illustrated like this:
“There once was a king who had servants who had borrowed money from the royal treasury. He decided to settle accounts with each of them. As he began the process, it came to his attention that one of his servants owed him one billion dollars. So he summoned the servant before him and said to him, ‘Pay me what you owe me.’ When his servant was unable to repay his debt, the king ordered that he be sold as a slave along with his wife and children and every possession they owned as payment toward his debt. The servant threw himself facedown at his master’s feet and begged for mercy. ‘Please be patient with me. Just give me more time and I will repay you all that I owe.’ Upon hearing his pleas, the king had compassion on his servant, and released him, and forgave his entire debt.
“No sooner had the servant left when he met one of his fellow servants, who owed him twenty thousand dollars He seized him by the throat and began to choke him, saying, ‘You’d better pay me right now everything you owe me!’ His fellow servant threw himself facedown at his feet and begged, ‘Please be patient with me. If you’ll just give me time, I will repay you all that is owed.’ But the one who had his debt forgiven stubbornly refused to forgive what was owed him. He had his fellow servant thrown into prison and demanded he remain there until he repaid the debt in full.
“When his associates saw what was going on, they were outraged and went to the king and told him the whole story. The king said to him, ‘You scoundrel! Is this the way you respond to my mercy? Because you begged me, I forgave you the massive debt that you owed me. Why didn’t you show the same mercy to your fellow servant that I showed to you?’ In a fury of anger, the king turned him over to the prison guards to be tortured until all his debt was repaid. 35In this same way, my heavenly Father will deal with any of you if you do not release forgiveness from your heart toward your fellow believer.”
Remembering all I have been forgiven of, I cannot; I should not imprison someone for wronging me.
In the last 3 or 4 years, I have had the opportunity to deconstruct a few people’s opinions of me by simply loving them. People that were more than convinced I was a heretic and a false teacher, and so on. I didn’t defend myself, and I didn’t point out how there were wrong but showed them where we were the same and, from there, built a relationship.
I sought to understand versus explain myself and argue. I valued relationship or peace over being right.
There is a saying, “you can be right, or you can be in a relationship.”
So how many times do we forgive someone? I will give you a clue; it is not 70×7.
If we are to be like the Lord, we must embody Isaiah 43:25 and blot out the transgressions.
The torment and hell we put ourselves through holding on to things, whether good or evil.
So… let’s get down to it… Not allowing our love to grow cold. We control the thermostat. Just because it is cold outside does not give us an excuse to be cold on the inside. Jesus told us this would happen.
Something we ought to commit to memory when Jesus was talking about loving one another. He was not talking about just those who believe like you or people you go to church with but with EVERYONE.
At that time deception will run rampant. So beware that you are not fooled! 5For many will appear on the scene claiming my authority or saying about themselves, ‘I am the Anointed One,’ and they will lead many astray.
“You will hear of wars and revolutions on every side, with more rumors of wars to come. Don’t panic or give in to your fears, for the breaking apart of the world’s systems is destined to happen. But it won’t yet be the end; it will still be unfolding.
Let’s pause right here. Pay attention to that. We are living that right now, but it is not the end. Keep your focus on the Lord in this era and not on a swivel.
“Nations will go to war against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms. And there will be terrible earthquakes, horrible epidemics, and famines in place after place. 8This is how the birth pains of the new age will begin!”
“You can expect to be persecuted, even killed; for you will be hated by all the nations because of your love for me. Then many will stop following me and fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many lying prophets will arise, deceiving multitudes and leading them away from the path of truth. There will be such an increase of the sin of lawlessness that those whose hearts once burned with passion for God and others will grow cold. 13But hold your hope firmly to the end and you will experience life and deliverance.
“Yet through it all, the good news of heaven’s kingdom will be proclaimed all over the world, providing every nation with a demonstration of the reality of God. And after that the end of this age will arrive.”
This is why we must fight and passionately pursue loving one another. It is going to be challenging. Loving one another sounds elementary, but it is one of our greatest weapons of warfare. At the same time, the most significant thing we can offer to one another is Love.
Not to get all philosophical, but Love covers up or builds a bridge where one seemed impossible. It shows someone that they are not alone in this together.
Lastly… I will end with a description of Love from a 6yr old…