When reading a book by Cloud and Townsend (The authors of Boundaries) I found it extremely interesting the approach they took when discussing the way God intervenes in our lives to deal with brokenness and pain to bring wholeness. Initially, they believed that God coming down and "ZAPPING" us and taking away the issues was how God worked. Everything else was a consolation prize. After witnessing first hand what God did in their lives and in others as they worked with them, they came to understand the most powerful transformations can in peoples lives as they had godly Christians who walked in love with them, over time worked through the pain with God to becoming totally healed. The verse that changed their lies came from Ephesians 4:-
16 For his “body” has been formed in his image and is closely joined together and constantly connected as one. And every member has been given divine gifts to contribute to the growth of all; and as these gifts operate effectively throughout the whole body, we are built up and made perfect in love. Ephesians 4:16
So, the key ingredient that brings a transformative change in people's lives is love. God does supernaturally bring healing and restoration, but His Plan A is actually working in and through the body of Christ so God can bring total healing in our lives. We are to use the gifts He has given us to do this.
True Followers Love
For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.” John 13:35 TPT
The world will only know we follow God when we love as He loves. This love is different from the world. Read 1 Corinthians 13 which is the love chapter.
Our lives model the life of Christ
2 And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for he surrendered his life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration—a sweet healing fragrance. Ephesians 5:2
God's people are called not only to follow Christ, we are to surrender to the love that He gave to us. I am overwhelmed at the thought of Jesus, the creator of the universe, taking on human form, suffering ridicule, rejection and died on the cross so His blood could redeem me from my sins. When you look at the size of the universe and how small I am in comparison, I am actually very insignificant until I see how God sees me. Then, as I receive the love of God, I learn how He thinks of me, I then can see others from God's perspective. My life then becomes a sacrifice to God as I learn to love people with HIs love.
Without love, we are wasting our time.
If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 1
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 Corinthians 13:13 TPT
When we get caught up in religious works, we very easily slip into doing the things for people that "Christians should do". So easily we fall into the trap of good works. In 1 Corinthians 13, we read about the hollowness of doing what looks like good things, even when it looks amazing to other people. They are in fact hollow. We find, instead, when what we do is not grounded in love, we then we could say we are wasting our time. God is showing His church that we must be motivated and led by love.
We are not fighting against flesh and blood.
11 Put on God’s complete set of armour provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser! 12 Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods[m] and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage. 13 Because of this, you must wear all the armour that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer, for you are destined for all things and will rise victorious. Ephesians 6:11-13
We are warned that the battle we are in is not with what we see. There is an almighty battle in the heavenly realm that has an impact on what happens here on earth. When we see people reacting in ways we do not understand, we can get confused, angry and our first response is to fight back in the way they have treated us. God is calling us into a deeper understanding of how the world operates and the incredible spiritual battle that is at hand. When we see the reason why people are acting as they are from this spiritual dimension, the way we can love changes. Take the hurt to God and ask Him how He sees the situation. This is the process of learning to walk in the Spirit. Romans 8 is a fantastic chapter of the Bible to read to teach us more about this.
The change that needs to happen in people's lives is 100% of God's work.
13 God will continually revitalize you, implanting within you the passion to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13.
14 ‘He will tell you and your family the message of how you can be saved!’ Acts 11:14
When we are living lives that are based on growing our "image" or understanding of who we are, doing things for God must have outcomes that look good for us. How many we save, the impact we have on people's lives must be instantaneous and "make" us look good. We then feel like Christians who are performing as Christians should. As we understand the nature of God, we find that His Holy Spirit is the one that speaks to people and brings a change in their lives. In Acts 11:14 we read how Peter is called to the Gentiles to tell them about the Gospel. The Holy Spirit prepares them for the message AND speaks to their heart. Peter's role is to just speak the Word to them. God works in us, speaks through us and it is totally His role to bring people to salvation. As we learn to walk in the Spirit we can love people, walk alongside them and allow God to do the work.
Dying to our flesh is very important. Only when we are operating in the Spirit can we truly love.
14 The mature children of God are those who are moved by the impulses of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:14
For me, this is one of the key challenges of us walking in love. When I am hurt by others, I find myself wanting to fight back in the flesh. It takes incredible self-control to stop, ask God what is happening and speak and operate in the way He has called me to.
When we love we prepare the soil to receive the seed (the Word)
8 But other seeds fell on good, rich soil that kept producing a good harvest. Some yielded thirty, some sixty, and some even one hundred times as much as he planted! Matthew 13:8
In the parable of the sower, it is interesting that there were many different things that caused the seed not to grow. There were birds, lack of topsoil, weeds and hard soil. Love is the ingredient that prepares the soil for the seed of the Word of God. If we try to talk to people and are not walking in love, then we might even be hardening the soil and ensuring that whenever they hear the Word in the future it cannot take root and grow in their lives.
Love means walking in authority
Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you. Ephesians 6:10
18 And God has made all things new, and reconciled us to himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God.
20 We are ambassadors of the Anointed One who carry the message of Christ to the world, as though God were tenderly pleading with them directly through our lips. So we tenderly plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Turn back to God and be reconciled to him.” 2 Corinthians 5:18 and 20.
It is so easy to think that walking in love means saying and doing things that would make people happy. We walk as peacekeepers, not peacemakers. As we do, we stand on the truth, live the truth and walk in the supernatural power we have as we walk in a relationship with Jesus. Our ministry is of reconciling others to God just as He reconciled us to Him! We are to no longer
When we walk in authority we no longer need to justify or give excuses.
A simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ will suffice. Anything beyond this springs from a deceiver. Matthew 5:37
When working with people and you do something wrong and you are pulled up, learn to move away from the automatically bringing excuses or trying to get the person to understand why you made a mistake or even sinned. Just state that what you did was wrong and could you forgive them. Simple. When you stop trying to look good or justify yourself you are operating in a way that limits your opportunity to sin.
Walking in love is a hallmark of maturity
13 These grace ministries will function until we all attain oneness in the faith, until we all experience the fullness of what it means to know the Son of God, and finally we become one perfect man with the full dimensions of spiritual maturity and fully developed in the abundance of Christ.
14 And then our immaturity will end! And we will not be easily shaken by trouble, nor led astray by novel teachings or by the false doctrines of deceivers who teach clever lies. Ephesians 4:13-14
To be walking as mature Christians, love must be the standard. We are able not only to understand the Word of God but walk in what the Word says. We are in fact clearly focused on the truth, understanding the Word of God and are not misled by false doctrines and other people's "ideas" that are contrary to the Truth.
In conclusion, it is so easy to be misled by our feelings and flesh. God is raising up a new way of relating to others that is based on a deep love that can only come from our Heavenly Father. God is calling us to model our walk on the earth by how Jesus was able to deeply love everyone through the love He received from His Heavenly Father. Without love, we are not able to be successful in the things God has given us to do. Love realised the work in people's is all God's, but we seek Him to find out, like Peter, what He is calling us to do or say to reveal the love of God to others. Love softens the soil so the seed, or the Word, can grow. The interactions with others is often a battle with principalities and powers, so we cannot love through our flesh. We are called to walk in the Spirit so we can truly love in a way that neutralized the sting of the evil one and brings peace. Walking in love means we do not give excuses or justify our actions, but our yes and no is all we need. When we are truly walking in love, we are able to walk in a deep authority as mature sons and daughters of God. God's Word is what guides our actions, thoughts and motives.
Love and authority are a very important team. As you learn to love this way, God will transform your relationships and cause you to be a soil conditioner so the seed is able to not only grow but produce a massive harvest.