It seems that most of us have had less than perfect fathers and as a result dysfunctional families that gave us our definition of what words like father, brother, sister, mother and family mean.
In 1970 after spending the first 25 years of my life in churches and with an alcoholic father in a dysfunctional family, I had still not seen a group of people that really loved one another… one that functioned in the love of God for its members. Then God heard my heart’s cry. He put me in touch with some young Jesus people and the gospel for them was all about the love of Jesus and they lived it. I soon could not live without being around them and I became a member of their family and ministry.
I didn’t know that that kind of love was possible and that Jesus had anything like that for me! After all, I never saw it working in the churches, neither Protestant or Catholic and in my mind that reflected directly on God whom they represented. You filed in on Sunday, got lectured by the “father figure” and then were shown the door. You were “loved” as long as you didn’t ask any hard questions or make any waves. It fit my “family” expectations.
All that said, I have been thinking a lot along this line, lately. If the saints of God can’t show what it means to be ONE in Christ and love one another as the family of God, whose fault is it that people cannot feel the love of God? Is it the fault of the broken and unloved in this world and the church? Are we not Christ’s body here on earth? Are we not His face and hands who live to manifest His heart for this sick world?
Just before He was crucified Jesus prayed,
“And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW THAT YOU HAVE SENT ME, AND HAVE LOVED THEM, AS YOU HAVE LOVED ME.” (Joh 17:22-23 KJ2000).
What will we say as members of His body if we neglect so great a salvation?
“Dear children, how brief are these moments before I must go away and leave you… So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (Joh 13:33-35 NLT)
If the body of Christ is functioning as it should people will know that they are loved by Him.
i only know th love of God in Christ Jesus…He showed me that His love is shared among th fam of God by th Christ in us–th new creation walkin in th newness of life; in th world we dont seek to condemn or be recompensed, we seek to their good also…we decrease, th fruit of th Spirit manifests and we are conformed to His image…Hes evident in all our ‘dead’ places (no flesh shall glory in His presence), where our minds are renewed, where He is risen, etc…being conformed to th image of Christ is th manifesting of fruit, which is all Him…among th brethern, there IS love bc of Christ in us…His work in us and His presence will always be seen by His children…and among th brethren there is always love…th true love of th Father for His children…i think its not possible for th love of God to manifest in temples build by human hands bc He dont live there…but among His own children born of His Spirit, there is love and it flows and it seeks to th good of th other and isnt self seekin…His love heals and delievers and saves and refreshes and brings joy…its not possible for ppl to express that love; it is only possible for that love to flow in streams of living water, outta th new creation which walks after th Spirit as He dwells in us….
Gianna, I just wrote much of the same as you in my reply to Pam and her comment on “From Our Fig Tree to the Vine.” Thanks again for your confirmation. Keep the “biscuitcrumbs” coming as you listen to Him.
This is IT! Father has been showing me, too, recently, that’s it’s all about love! The only chance we have of ever finding unity is that which is born out of Love. As I/we experience more and more the love of Father through Jesus (His Spirit), then that love cannot help but overflow out of our lives into all those we are in contact with. What good is our “message”, if we have not love for one another? As I Corinthians 13 states, it is just like a clanging symbol. Father is, and will be, manifested to this world through us. The world will see Him through the love that we show others. It’s time we lay everything else aside and be about what Jesus taught us: Love one another. Thanks, Michael, for your post. It’s another validation to me from Holy Spirit that this is, indeed, the key to advancing His Kingdom.
Dollea, Thanks for writing. You wrote, “The only chance we have of every finding unity is that which is born out of love.” Here is something I read this morning by T. A. Sparks along this line…
He is working, and here we come back again to the place of the Holy Spirit in the Letters to the Corinthians, especially the First Letter. As we look through the letter, what is the full, ultimate, supreme function of the Holy Spirit?—“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, …though I give all my goods to the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, I have nothing.” The supreme work of the Holy Spirit is the Character of Jesus Christ, not love as a thing. You can put on love as a thing. You can put that on, and it can be a pretension, a way of behaving and speaking. Beloved, people can come and put their hand on your shoulder and be treacherous behind your back by pointing out your faults to someone else. It must be “unfeigned love” the apostle says. “Unfeigned, unhypocritical, love of the brethren”: it is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. (from “The Great Transition from One Humanity to Another”)
Good to hear from you again. Human love will always fall short of the unconditional love that goes beyond all understanding which God has for us. As we yield to the Spirit His fruit will be found flowing through us and the greatest of these is agapao love. This is sacrificial love that God requires if there is to ever be a witness of Christ in us to the world. I can’t help but wonder how far the effect of the gospel of Christ would have gone out into the world by now if we Christians had been demonstrating and living in what Jesus taught and lived by, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven…” (Mat 5:44-45 KJ2000)
Yes, yes. Holy Spirit has been emphasizing Love to me so much recently. Hand in hand with that is the instruction to not be of a judgmental or critical, condemning spirit. This has been huge for me. Am experiencing so much more peace…and love. It’s confirming to see that you’re thinking of the same thing(s) these days. Let’s keep encouraging each other on, as we see The Day approaching. Right here, right now…the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. 🙂
michael…i love that whole ONEVOICEthang HE got goin with His children…lolol…
Bro. Michael, thank you for sharing. God has been so very faithful to love me, and to cause others to love me. I pray that I would truly love others in a way that would please the Father.
What I have discovered about Jesus in the gospels is that he never went around looking for love or seeking to be loved or needing to feel loved by others. It was always about him loving others (either doing something for them or giving them something they needed). Search the four gospels and nowhere will you find Jesus ever telling anyone, face to face, “I love you.” I think John picked up on this when he stated in his first letter, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) How often do the words “I love you” ring hollow and empty because of contradictory or malicious actions that soon follow. The saints of God should focus far more on demonstrating love through appropriate actions and deeds than expressing it verbally. Jesus was implying this when he said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) Christ certainly lived by those words.
I am glad that God is love. And HE IS love in his body and for his body. In love there is always invitation not expectation. Freedom not demand. There are no shoulds, oughts, have to or need tos in God’s love because it is…He is, and when I am in Him I am free to yield to WHO HE IS not just facing him but as I look at his people. For years I looked for love among the “body of Christ” and among those naming his name. My problem, maybe yours too….I was looking for it through my “human need” rather than through Christ who loved me and whose Life fills me with His love. Today I carry His love, I carry Him in this vessel of clay that He might be poured out to everyone. And in that love with which He loved me…I am learning to walk and live as I live among other human beings and even the creatures of this earth. No more expectations of what “they should be” and what they “should focus on” but what and who He is in me frees others to BE who God created them to be even as He frees me in His love to live in His love.
God spoke to me and my wife recently about the reason our 2 hour movie has been soundly rejected by the organized church. The story is about natural affection from A to Z.
He told us through the sure word of prophecy ‘ my ekklesia is lacking natural affection’.
So now we have a clearer understanding on why we and our film are not wanted. We suspected the same after years of rejection by ‘pastors’.
Yet He had us make the film and He puts it into the hands of those He has chosen. He also told us not to charge for it.
The point being that Ichabod has been written on the church house doors. He has departed the system. Been in a few churches lately and they are deader than dirt though they have a name saying that they are alive.
The folks in the pews are like zombies….no life whatever. No love. No natural affection. Our movie that God had us make? A no go with the established church. It was sort of our last ditch effort to reach and awaken the body. We have tried for several decades. We now await for further orders. Devon and Kathy.
“If the saints of God can’t show what it means to be ONE in Christ and love one another as the family of God, whose fault is it that people cannot feel the love of God?”
Good question, Michael.
“If the body of Christ is functioning as it should people will know that they are loved by Him.”
But why are there still so few believers who are able to show that love (agape) which doesn’t cease giving even if it gets nothing in return? What hinders Christians to open their heart toward EVERYBODY?
The other day I was on the phone with a dear sister in Christ whom I have known for almost twenty years. She told me about a conversation she had with a man who works in the context of a crisis line. Astonishing for me was the fact that he wondered at the many phone calls he gets from – hold on tight (!) – countless single persons who complain about being lonely. We have been wondering, how it can be that so many lonely people do not dare to make a step in order to get in touch with other “lonely” people? Why do they prefer being lonely even though others would love to keep in touch with them?
I think the reason is fear. The fear of being rejected once again, just as they experienced it before (regarding family, relationships, school, workplace etc.).
Michael, I believe that we live in those days of which Jesus said,
“And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” (Mt 24:12 – ESV)
There is a direct connection between lawlessness and sin that have increased rapidly, particularly since the last century, beginning with the roaring twenties which superseded the moralistic and hypocritical Victorian era, and the amount of love we give each other.
If men and women do not know the love of God, they will always seek to get love in any other way (i.e. prostitution, adultery, homosexual and bisexual relationships, pedophilia, pornography, and much more).
Why do they do these things?
Without judging such behavior – only God knows our very hearts – I would only say that man has been created in the image of God who is Love, and thus man cannot live without love. As soon as we understand the roots in our hearts that have fallen ill with having experienced a lack of love before (a dysfunctional family, for instance, as you said above), we are able to open our hearts before God and before those who know God’s perfect love toward EVERY human being.
Jesus is a Savior and a Healer. He is the best psychologist I have come to known – ever. Since He never judged me in any way so that I felt compelled to close my heart, I do the same with others who share their pain with me. Even if I can’t DO a lot to help them, I can offer an attentive and friendly ear, plus my own heart which has been and will be praying for them that God would care for their wounded hearts. And I know He will do it. 😉
“He is the best psychologist I have come to know – ever.”
Thank you, Michael. 🙂