Love Series #3
Job said, “. . . when God comes near, I cannot see him. When God moves by, I do not see him.” This could be the testimony of thousands of Christians. They want to be used by God, but do not recognize his presence and guidance when it comes. The Lord is so near, yet they don’t perceive him.
I love God’s people and desire to help everyone of them find the best for their lives. And I believe that every believer, regardless of their occupation, can be a minister of God’s grace. God wants to use all of his people to serve others. Every one of us are called into ministry.
But very often we don’t recognize God’s Spirit working in our lives to help us minister to others. Most of us are convinced that God will work through someone else to reach the people we care about. But no one has the relationships and the credibility we have to reach the people in our world. We are special. We are called. We are right where we are supposed to be, the age we are supposed to be, and with the relationships we are supposed to have. With that confidence, we can uniquely help the people around us.
You can reach people no one else can reach. God wants to use you to make your specific world a better place. It starts with your sphere of influence. You are God’s instrument.
But how do we know who we are to minister to and how we are to minister to them?
Matthew 14:14 says, Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Matthew 20:34 says, Jesus felt sorry (had compassion) for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.
In Mark 8, Jesus said, I feel sorry (have compassion) for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. After this, he multiplied the loaves and fishes and fed the multitudes.
There are 21 Scriptures in the New Testament that talk about miracles happening through Jesus after he felt a strong, loving emotion toward people. It’s the same with us. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and ask him to fill us with the Holy Spirit, we receive love in our hearts like never before. In other words, we have a greater desire to make the lives of others better. We want to heal those who are sick and give to those in need.
All of my ministry life I’ve watched people be filled with God’s loving Holy Spirit and they always do the same thing: hug people, love people, pray for people, give to people, serve people.
Why is that? It’s because God is love. And when we ask God to take dominance in our lives, love takes over. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are filled with his love.
And just like Jesus was moved by love and compassion toward others, so are we. In the Scriptures listed above, and many others in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Jesus felt love flowing out of his spirit toward others. He followed the flow of that love and ministered to the multitudes. The end result was that the healing love of God brought deliverance and healing to the suffering people of that day. Love directed his life. It led him constantly.
The love of God in our hearts can move us toward the people God wants us to reach with his grace.
2 John 6, quoted here from the Amplified Bible, says,
And what the love consists in is this, that we live and walk in accordance with and guided by his commandments, his orders, ordinances, precepts and teachings. This is the commandment, as ye have heard from the beginning that you continue to walk in love, guided by it and following it.
All of us have had someone come to mind and, when we pick up the phone and call them, or send them an unexpected gift, or visit them, the result is some form of healing. This, I believe is the way we are guided by and follow God—by being guided by and following love.
Let me urge you never to follow hate. Never follow evil thoughts or impulses to get even. Never return evil for evil. Never follow that which is selfish or that which is full of greed and covetousness. These are not of God.
Instead, pay attention to the prompting of the love that is in your spirit. It might be the Holy Spirit guiding you.
I am sure that at some time you have felt God’s love tugging you. God is nearer to you than you may think, and he is directing you through love to share his grace with others.
Don’t miss that blessing. You are experiencing God.
Be guided by love.
God’s love is stifled when we are selfish and mean, unwise or manipulative, lustful, covetous, self-seeking, or deceitful. It doesn’t flow through us when we argue and fight or have ill-will and malice.
Instead, love is living for the good of the other.
Jesus is the perfect example of love, yet he was friendly to some, but not to others; he rebuked some, but not all; and he healed some, but not all. Love is serving others, but it does not mean we are mushy. Love does not make us weak; it gives us strength so we can serve others (see blog #1 in this Love Series).
So, fill up with love by being continually filled with God’s Spirit. Get rid of any bitterness that may be in your heart and avoid strife, filth, darkness, and hurt, and forgive those who have hurt or disappointed you. Think of ways you can gain skills to help you serve people better. This is how you love them. And finally, be open to the flow of God’s love through you, so you can sincerely make life better for others.
Love does lead us, which is why all of us need a secure attachment style (read blog #2 in this Love Series for more explanation of this important idea). When we have a secure attachment style, the love of God can work without hinderance in all of our lives, and we can respond to that love with the wisdom that also comes from God. This is how God will use you as a minister to heal yourself and others. With long-term life-giving relationships and long-term participation in a life-giving church, you’ll gain the wisdom and power to let love direct your life, and you will discover the abundant life God has prepared for you.