Motivated By Love
Motivated By Love
By Rodney W. Francis
If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love [that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us], I am only a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.
And if I have prophetic powers – that is, the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose; and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and posses all knowledge, and if I have (sufficient) faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love [God’s love in me] I am nothing – a useless nobody.
Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned [or in order that I may glory], but have not love [God’s love in me], I gain nothing . . .” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, Amplified Bible).
“Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and so there is nothing in him that will cause someone else to sin” (1 John 2:10, Good News Bible).
“Whoever loves his brother [believer] abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin” (1 John 2:10, Amplified Bible).
The word “stumbling” is from the Greek “skandalon” (or scandal), meaning:
When we genuinely love people, we do not need to be afraid of making mistakes, or causing others to stumble. How good it is to know this, especially in the operation of exercising spiritual gifts and obeying the voice of God!
1976 was a year I’ll never forget. It was in that year that God stopped me in my tracks. I had been a Pentecostal preacher for 16 years up to that point. The Lord spoke to me, saying,“I’m going to teach you how to LOVE people!”
I said, “But, Lord! I do love people! I’m a Pentecostal preacher and I’ve been preaching for 16 years! Of course I love people!”
In the next few moments, very clearly through my mind, went the faces of five or six Christians I did not like!
The Holy Spirit spoke again to me:
“How can a man say that he loves God Whom he has not seen, if he does not love his own brother who he has seen?”
It came straight from 1 John 4:20.
He then added some further words that have impacted my life even to the present day.
“I want you to know that you can actually measure your love for Me. Your love for Me is only as great as your love for your brothers and sisters.”
I was silenced! Dumb-founded!
My heart was exposed - and I knew it!
I realized I had been guilty of trying to build my love for God on a one-way vertical track, seeking God without taking the time to discover that our spirituality is measured by God in terms of our relationships with our fellow Christians. I had majored on a “vertical love to God” relationship but had neglected the “horizontal love to my fellow man” relationship.
As I stood there pondering what I had just heard, I reflected over the past 16 years of my Christian life. I had poured countless hours into prayer, into seeking God, studying the Bible, and not missing church meetings. Yet here I was, staggered, because I saw that, after 16 years, my love for God was only as great as my love for “the least of these My brethren” (those five or six people who flashed through my mind). The Holy Spirit showed me I only loved God as much as I loved those people!
I BECAME VULNERABLE!
The changing process made me very vulnerable. To be “vulnerable” means to be “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded or hurt; open to temptation, persuasion, censure; exposed to attack” (Collins Dictionary).
Little by little the Lord helped me to make adjustments, to reach out more and more to my fellow Christians. I learned how to make conversations, how to make the first move. I learned to separate the “sinner” from his “sin.” I learned to love the unlovely and to accept them as they were, rather than try to put an “expectation” upon them to become more like me!
I stepped outside my own “security zone” and, the more I did that, the more I found I could relax and not be afraid, or insecure in other people’s presence.
Once I passed through that vulnerability stage, I discovered there is a real security in knowing the love of Jesus within me, and in knowing that I, as a real person – could also love them in a genuine and accepting way. This has helped to place me in good stead, as I move in and out of all kinds of situations in my travels to the nations as a minister of Jesus Christ.
After many years of walking this love way, I firmly believe that there is no greater gift we Christians can have – the gift of LOVE!
Without love motivating our hearts and ministries, the Bible declares “WE ARE NOTHING”!
The love way is the ONLY way as far as Jesus is concerned:
“I give you a new commandment, that you should love one another; just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.
By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another – if you keep on showing love among yourselves” (John 13:34-35, Amplified Bible).
So much could be written on this, the most important subject in all the Word of God! I encourage you to see what the Bible teaches on LOVE and encourage you to make whatever changes necessary to conform to that which God has declared.
In our travels today - in all kinds of cultures – again and again we hear this statement: “We thank God for the way you minister in spiritual gifts, but the thing that impacted us the most is your love for us!” And that is the greatest compliment anyone could pay us. “Thank You, Jesus!”