Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.
2 Timothy 2:15
A lot of people have been playing games when it comes to the Word. They claim to be faith people in public. But, in private, they never open the Bible at all. Then, when a time of trouble comes and they try to stand on the Word, they fall flat on their spiritual faces.
Well, the time for playing games is over. It’s time for us to realize that real faith involves action. James 2:20 says faith without works [or corresponding action] is dead.
If you want the kind of faith that will keep you on your feet when others are falling around you, you need to take some action where the Word is concerned.
First, you need to study. You can study the Word in many ways. Not only can you read it, you can dig deeply into it with concordances, Greek/Hebrew dictionaries and other study guides. What’s more, if you have a media player, you can walk around half the day listening to teaching. It’s only one way of study, but it is a powerful one.
The second thing you need to do is go where the Word is being preached. When Romans 10:17 says “faith cometh by hearing,” it’s talking about the preached Word.
STUDY THE MANUAL
2 John 6NAS “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments…”
We hear a lot of talk about love these days. But, the truth is, few people really know what it is. For most, it’s an emotional phantom that appears – then vanishes – without warning. Illusive. Undefinable. Forever sought but rarely found.
Even Christians seem to be confused about it at times. But they don’t need to be. The WORD of God reveals clearly what love truly is. It tells us, quite simply, that love is keeping the commandments of God. It is knowing and obeying His WORD.
Thank heaven, God didn’t leave us wondering about love. He didn’t make us struggle along with some indefinite, hazy idea about it. He made it clear and easy to define. Throughout the Bible He gave us instructions so we could know how to love as He loves. He gave us His Manual in black and white! All we have to do is follow it, and we will be walking in love.
This is especially important for us to know these days because as the world around us grows more sinful, people are becoming increasingly confused about love. They think doing anything that feels good is loving. They even excuse immoral lifestyles, all in the name of love.
Becoming a Christian doesn’t make you an instant expert on love, either. Although the love of God was born within you the moment you made Jesus Christ The LORD of your life, initially you are a spiritual baby. It’s only by feeding on The WORD of God and learning how love acts that you leave spiritual infancy and develop the maturity to walk in love.
Nothing-absolutely nothing-is more important than learning to love. So study the Manual God has given you. It will teach you how to make the love that is inside you show up on the outside. As you act on God’s WORD, His love will be perfected in your life, and others will see Jesus in you.
Reread “LOVE IS THE BEST AND HIGHEST WAY! (Part 1) (Last month’s LOVE blog).
We need to realize that walking in love is more profitable than walking in the flesh. We gain much more when we walk in love!
To “stay in love,” you must spend time with God every day so you can receive a fresh infilling and a fresh enabling. Don’t use up all of the “current” without refilling your spirit (reconnecting to the power source) each day. You refill by reading, praying and meditating on the Word. Knowing God involves taking the time to commune (maintain living contact) with Him. It is listening to Him and then obeying what you hear. It is learning to live in a way in which God can talk to you, and you are able to hear His voice at any moment of the day. Maintaining a peaceful spirit is the way to hear from God.
What you have in your life tomorrow is determined by what is in your heart today. Be sure to fill your heart with the Word of God and with thoughts of love. Then you will be able to abide in Him every day, feasting on His promises and enjoying His presence. Instead of chasing after the blessings of God, you find that they are chasing and overtaking you at every turn!
We are in the last of the last days. Every minute of every day counts for God. A great man once said, “Count each day lost that you have not used for loving God.” We must focus on how we extend ourselves to God and to mankind, because in the end, nothing else will have mattered.
Walking in love is very important. Stay in love. Regardless of what comes your way, you are to do that. Stay in love. Make certain that you don’t let anything or anyone distract you from walking in love.
Jude 21 says, “Keep yourselves in the love of God…” Therefore you must guard yourself and avoid straying from God’s law of love at all costs.”
First John 5:18 says, “…that wicked one toucheth him not.” When you abide in God’s love and protection, you hinder the devil’s access to your life by refusing to walk in hatred, bitterness, envy, strife, malice, unforgiveness, and so on. God’s power and protection are too important for you to act that way. This is the quickest way to short-circuit the power of God in your life.
You can go through all the motions and yet lack results. It’s like flipping on a light switch. Regardless of how many times you flip the switch, unless you have a power connection, there will not be any light. This is how it is for many Christians who know how to engage biblical principles, but don’t have the power of God flowing through and working in their lives.
If you aren’t experiencing any manifestation, look at this area of your life. Get out the measuring stick and see if this is the reason why it’s not working. It is time for the body of Christ to be convinced that love is the best and highest way.
John 6:63 says, “…the flesh profiteth nothing…” We need to realize that walking in love is more profitable than walking in the flesh. We gain much more when we walk in love!
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 1 John 2:5-6
There is nothing—absolutely nothing—that is more important than learning to love. In fact, how accurately you perfect the love walk will determine how much of the perfect will of God you accomplish. That’s because every other spiritual force derives its action from love. For example, the Bible teaches us that faith works by love. And answered prayer is almost an impossibility when a believer steps outside of love and refuses to forgive or is in strife with his brother.
Without love, your giving will not work. Tongues and prophecy will not work. Faith fails and knowledge is unfruitful. All the truths that you have learned from God’s Word work by love. They will profit you nothing unless you live the love of God.
First Corinthians 13:4-8 paints a perfect picture of how love behaves. It’s patient and kind. It’s not jealous or proud. It doesn’t behave rudely or selfishly and it isn’t touchy. Love “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? But don’t despair. You are a love creature. God has re-created your spirit in the image of love. And He has sent His love Spirit to live in you and teach you how to love as He loves. You can live the love life. Begin today.
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Galatians 5:6
We are faith people, who believe deeply in the importance and power of faith. Yet, faith, by itself, is not enough to make us more than conquerors. We must also have love because the Bible clearly tells us that faith works by love.
Love actually inspires faith. It gives faith a foundation to build on. You might even say, love gives us reason to believe. Think about the love of God, for example. His love for us is the foundation of our faith in Him. John 3:16 says He “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,” so that by believing in him we wouldn’t perish but have everlasting life.
Imagine it! God sacrificed His very own Son for us, and what prompted Him to do it was love. Actually, it’s His great love that prompts Him to do everything He does for us. It’s His love that provides exceeding great and precious promises that bless us both in this life and in the life to come. It’s His mighty love that causes His mercy to be new toward us every morning.
You might have noticed that people who don’t grasp God’s love aren’t able to have much faith in His WORD. They struggle and try to believe, but when push comes to shove, their faith falters and fails. Why? Because they don’t have a revelation of love to back it up!
On the other hand, when we truly begin to understand and experience how full of compassion God is toward us, we can easily believe He’ll keep His promises to us. When we know how much God cares, we can trust Him to do what He says. We can have faith that He’ll take care of us in every situation.
F.F. Bosworth wrote in His Book Christ the Healer, “I have seen faith rise “mountain high’ when the truth of God’s present love and compassion begins to dawn upon the minds and hearts of the people. It is not what God can do, but what we know He yearns to do, that inspires faith.” Remember that when you find yourself struggling to trust the LORD.
Spend some time in fellowship with Him, feeding on His words of love for you. Receive and act on them in your relationship with others. You will soon see for yourself that faith truly does work by love.
1 John 2:3-6NAS
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
A great many people claim to know God. They call themselves Christians and say, “The LORD told me this… “or” “The LORD told me that….” Yet, it’s not just what we say that proves we know Jesus, it’s how we live. The Bible says if we are abiding in Him, we will live as He lived.
How did Jesus live? First and foremost, He lived a life of love.
Jesus didn’t live for Himself. He didn’t seek to do His own will. He lives to do the will of His Father. He lived to pour out His life for others.
You might say it this way: Jesus lived to give Himself away.
Worldly people don’t understand that kind of life. They’ll warn you against it. They’ll say, “If you live like that, you’ll be miserable…. You’ll never have any fun…. You’ll never get anywhere…. You’ll be a weakling, and people will walk all over you!” But don’t listen. They don’t know what they’re talking about.
Jesus lived like that and His life was wonderful! He walked the earth in total victory. He defeated Satan and destroyed his works at every turn. Everywhere He went He loved people. He made the blind see, the deaf hear and the lame walk. He cast out demons and raised the dead. He made people know the love of God.
No matter how the world tries to convince us that it’s more rewarding to live in sin and selfishness than in love and obedience. Jesus proved it’s not. He lived the most rewarding life in history.
If you’ll live the life of love by faith in Jesus, you’ll have the same kinds of experiences He had. Jesus said in John 14:12 you’ll even do the works He did. You won’t be cheated out of the good things in life. On the contrary, you’ll enjoy the most thrilling life of victory you could ever imagine. You’ll experience God pouring His power out through you. You’ll know the joy of The LORD.
Now, that’s what I call a life worth living!
Excerpt from “LIMITLESSLOVE” by Kenneth & Gloria Copeland
Ephesians 4:11-13 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
To walk in love, we have to maintain a strong spirit. We must continually nourish our hearts with The WORD of GOD. Just as we deplete our natural strength when we exert ourselves physically, and have to eat natural food, when we exert ourselves spiritually by walking in love (and it does take real spiritual exertion to do it!), we deplete our spiritual strength. So we must continually replenish it by feeding on The WORD.
One way we do that, is by spending time alone reading the Bible. We don’t have to wait for someone else to feed US, we can get into God’s WORD for ourselves.
But it’s also important for us to go somewhere where we can hear someone especially called and gifted by God to teach and preach His WORD. When we receive The WORD that way, there is an extra anointing and impartation on it. That anointing will cut through some of the mixed-up thinking we may not have previously been aware of. It will straighten out and renew our minds. The anointing God has given to that minister will add something to us that we just can’t get on our own.
That’s the reason we go to many church services. That’s why we have a collection of CDs and DVDs. We can listen to messages that we have had for years and have listened to them many times before. When we hear them again, the anointing is still on them to strengthen and build us up spiritually.
Some people don’t understand that. They think you just listen to ministers preach The Word so you can get new information. But actually, you listen to get revelation. You might think you know all there is to know about love, for instance. But, when you hear someone preach about it under the anointing, more revelation on it will come. You will get more light and insight about it, and you will walk out of that meeting (or away from the CD or DVD) more empowered and equipped to walk in love than you have ever been before.
As Romans 10:17 says, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by The WORD of God.”
So, find some good, anointed preaching, and keep your spirit strong with a continual feast of The WORD!
Excerpts from “LIMITLESSLOVE” by Kenneth & Gloria Copeland
1 Corinthians 13:7-8 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
Love never fails. Nothing works without it, and there can be no failure with it. When you live by love, you cannot fail.
It takes faith to believe that love’s way will not fail. The natural mind cannot understand that because the natural man and his world are ruled by selfishness.
But when you practice love by faith and refuse to seek your own, you put the Father into action on your behalf. As long as you stay in love, God the Father seeks your own. He sees to it that you succeed. Walking in love is to your great advantage!
Agape love is a new kind of power. It makes you master of every situation. No weapon that is formed against you will prosper. No one even has the power to hurt your feelings because you are not ruled by feelings but by God’s love. You are loving as He loves.
This love is revolutionary. If we fully understand the great return from living God’s love, we’d probably be competing with each other, each of us trying to love the other more. And without a doubt, everyone would emerge from that competition a winner! For love is truly the only sure secret to our success.
Reading: Romans 12:9-21
Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. “I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.” Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you,….’”
The blood-covenant commitment God made to Abraham is the best Old Testament picture we have of he true agape kind of love. There we see God, by an act of His will, making a blood-covenant oath to Abraham to BLESS him, care for him and be all he needed Him to be.
God didn’t wait to see if Abraham was going to love Him in return before He made the commitment. He didn’t say, “If I keep having warm feelings toward you, Abraham, I’ll keep acting in love toward you. But if you aggravate Me and take Me for granted, I’m walking out on you.”
No, God made His choice to love and commit Himself to Abraham, regardless of what Abraham chose to do. Abraham could either receive His love or reject it. He could take God up on His commitment or turn away. But on God’s part, the decision was already made. He said, As for Me, My covenant is with you.
God loves us the very same way. He determined to love us before we ever decided whether or not we would respond to His love. He sent Jesus to the cross as the most precious blood-covenant sacrifice ever made…while we were yet sinners. He didn’t wait to see what we would do. He went ahead and made the commitment to love. He said, As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you.
Now that we’ve received His love, He expects us to love each other the same way. In fact, He commands us to do it. He commands us to make the same decision He did. He desires that we commit ourselves to others in the Body of Christ regardless of how they respond to us, to love them when they appreciate it and when they don’t. He expects us to honor the covenant blood of Jesus with the same unconditional love for others that He has given us. He expects us to say to them, ‘No matter how you act, no matter what you do, as for me, I’m in covenant with you.”
How do you walk in that kind of love? You do it by making a decision. You do it by an act of your will. Of course, you don’t love by your own will or your own strength. You simply use your will to open the door to God’s love that abides within you. When you make the decision and open the door, His own mighty covenant love comes pouring through.
Colossians 2:19 Message
Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life…They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as He nourishes us.
All of us who have been saved for a few years and tried to grow up in The LORD have, at times, gotten stuck. We’ve found no matter what we do, it seems we’ve grown as far as we can grow. Why can’t I get over this hurdle in my life? We’ll wonder. Why can’t I walk in a greater degree of prosperity or divine health than I do now? I know what the Bible says, but I’m just not seeing the fullness of it in my life.
Once when I asked those questions, The LORD reminded me of Ephesians 4:15-16. It says that we, as believers, grow up into the image of Jesus as whole Body of Christ is joined and knit together by what every joint supplies. As every one of us does our share, growth comes because we are building each other up in love.
That means our spiritual maturity isn’t just going to come from simply sitting home alone reading the Bible and listening to CDs (as important and helpful as that is). It isn’t going to come just because we sit by ourselves praying in tongues for hours (edifying as that can be). The fullness of our growth and development in Jesus is going to come to us through one another!
Something mighty and supernatural happens when believers get together that just can’t happen when we’re alone. The hunger other believers have for The Word of God draws things out of the pastor’s spirit that would never otherwise come forth. Revelation comes and everybody learns.
We are not designed to grow on our own. We weren’t given all the spiritual equipment necessary to grow up on our own. That’s why we need each other.
The more I love and draw on the supply of God in you…and the more you love and draw on the supply of God in me…the more we’ll both start to look like Jesus. The more we get together in love, the faster we will be able to grow up in all things into Him!