Stop Clanging Around
There's one thing that will take people out of God's presence so fast, disarm their power against the devil, ruin their conscience, and disrupt their prayers. This thing is the exact opposite of God. And it is the greatest sin of all. It is "un-love".
On the positive side, love is also the thing that will keep us in God's presence, empower us over the devil, keep our conscience clean, and provide a holy atmosphere for our faith rather than impede it. Why? Because God is love.
The "God kind of Love" never fails. If we walk in love, we won't either. At the bottom of every failure, disaster, or blow up, there will always be found glaring evidence of a lack of love—someone disregarded the most important Christ-like virtue of all.
It seems like we should have it quite straight by now (especially Spirit-filled people) since we can pray in the Spirit every day and keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 20-21). Yet still, the love walk sometimes gets shoved aside by our personal feelings and attitudes. (Maybe it is because people are not actually praying in tongues much?)
God, Himself, has told us that "love is the greatest", yet still it doesn't seem to get the attention it deserves nor the commitment that God requires.
Walking in love is the highest spiritual force, and will keep us in harmony with God and man. For churches and ministries to grow, it will require an atmosphere of love. If they grow without it, I have a feeling that their growth will hardly even count and they will "suffer loss" on fire-testing day.
Of course, I'd like to think that our church usually does pretty well with the love walk, and we preach on it quite a bit. But, I stood up the next week and began another series on "Love". I told the people that they weren't getting off that easy—now I'm going to pay back their disinterest with several weeks on "Love". Of course, as you start messing around in the love of God, it so quickly elevates us into the glory of God that no one wants to stop. But it's one of those topics that sometimes seems elementary because it's not flashy, even though love is the greatest force of all.
According to 1 Cor. 13, without love, our faith falls flat, our giving isn't profitable, and we are called "clanging symbols" and said to be "nothing". So, let's be sure that we're not just clanging around through our lives and ministries.
We say that we love the whole world, but permit animosities and sour attitudes within our immediate world. We love our brothers in Christ, but some get miffed and walk off. We love our spouse, but pout all day cause we're mad. We love everybody, until they don't meet our social expectations. Then we can't get over ourselves! We don't want God to punish us, but we are quick to punish others with our attitude and posturing. I didn't get my way, so you're not getting yours. Others may endure long, but they're not patient and kind while doing it.
Christians shouldn't do that. If the greatest command is "Love", then the greatest sin would be "un-Love". Love gives. Selfishness takes. Love covers others sins. Selfishness gets hurt. Walking in love is the highest spiritual force, and will keep us in harmony with God and man. For churches and ministries to grow, it will require an atmosphere of love. If they grow without it, I have a feeling that their growth will hardly even count and they will "suffer loss" on fire-testing day.
Years ago, we had the "confession police" everywhere, reminding everyone to stop their bad confessions of doubt and get into faith. We could also use the "love police". Love is just as (or more) important to our faith as confession is (faith works by love).
If Christians would commit personally to the love of God, churches would have fewer problems. It's amazing how quickly mature believers can discard the love of God, turn fleshy and emotional, and storm off. That hurts churches. That hurts the Lord. It is unacceptable. And we need to preach on it as much as any other gospel truth.
Finally, let's relate it to the power of God. 1 John 4:18 reads, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment...he who fears has not been made perfect in love."
If love casts out fear, and fear is of the devil, then love casts out the devil! If fear has torment, and the devil is a tormenter, then love cast out all things related to torment, anxiety, and oppression of the devil.
If the devil seems to be meddling in your life, check up on your love walk and make some heart adjustments. Then turn and say, "Satan, take your hands off. I'm walking in love."
This great God kind of love will eliminate all fear regarding others—what people think of us, how we might disappoint, what if I lost this person, etc. All things related to the impact on "self" disappear under the love of God. Once we love God, and once we believe His love for us, our faith solidifies and we become perpetually confident through life. So, above all things, walk in love.