This week Michael writes how God doesn't expect us to just receive His truth and revelation ... He expects us to obey it. The word of God is to be lived "in shoe leather." However, God does not ask for "blind obedience." We must examine our heart for the motive behind the action. According to Ephesians 6, we are in the midst of a spiritual battle. What is the greatest weapon in the battle? Love. This concept is foreign to our sinful nature of the flesh and our personal sense of "justice." Often we have difficulty finding where sin ends and love begins. The enemy hides in the darkness. He camouflages himself as an "Angel of light." To target the enemy we must identify the enemy. The adversary's goal is to turn our hearts to the "dark side." If our motivation to fight the enemy is vengeance, retaliation, and retribution, we have joined the "dark side" in the spiritual battle. Romans 12 says, "be not overcome with evil but overcome evil with good." These are the "rules of engagement" in the spiritual battle.
According to John 1:4-5, "In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." The light is come into the world but the darkness resisted it because the heart of darkness was evil. The light Jesus Christ, shined in darkness and the darkness did not understand, perceive, or recognize him. Jesus' own disciples didn't even understand him. They deserted him in his darkest hour. He said to Peter, "before the rooster crows twice you shall deny me three times." Jesus didn't condemn Peter...He loved Peter with unconditional love, for Jesus understood Peter's fallen nature. Jesus had many harsh words for his disciples...he said that anyone who does not forsake his mother and his father and leave everything to follow me, he cannot be my true disciple. Jesus said that you should not only go one mile, but that you should go beyond the call of duty and go the second mile.
The adversary wants us to compromise ... to settle for second best. However, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Where's your heart? Why do you do what you do? What's the motive behind your actions? To answer these tough questions God orchestrates situations where we must forsake our shame and our comfort zone in order to follow Him. As Jesus said to Peter, "Do you love me more than these?" Do you love me more than your fishing business, your fishing buddies, your money, your property, your family, and your worldly reputation? God has called us a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. He called us to reflect his mercy, grace and love. The greatest weapon in the spiritual arsenal is love. Righteous thoughts and righteous actions motivated by a heart of love are the things that matter to our Commander in Chief. God doesn't want your stuff or your money, rather he wants your heart. You cannot win the spiritual battle apart from the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, apart from me you can do nothing. To wield the sword of the spirit and to be a prayer warrior, our hearts must be transformed by connecting our hearts with His heart. He is the vine and we are the branches.
The sinful flesh of man cannot be "converted." Conversion starts with the best weapon that convicts men's heart. John 14-16 gave Christ's disciples a new commandment: Love one another. Jesus' standard of love is "even as I have loved you." How did he love them? He didn't love them because they were good. He didn't love them because they deserved love. The new commandment meant that we are to love one another like he loved: unconditionally. Love others even though they are sinners like we are. Love them even though they violated my "human rights." Love them even though they were unlovable and unforgivable. Our flesh may be angered. We may be overcome with so-called righteous indignation. However, be not overcome of evil but overcome evil with good.
When you wrong someone, ask forgiveness and make restitution. Love one another as Christ loved us. You'll never tap into the power of God by reading and meditating. The power of God is manifest only by action according to His word. Believing works by love. Love energizes believing that appropriates the blessings of God. Don't get discouraged when the rooster crows. Don't be surprised when you fall short of the glory of God. Discouragement is losing heart. However, from the heart of Christ in you, God will work in you and within you to will and to do of His good pleasure. When we walk in love we align our hearts with God's heart. Jesus Christ came so that we may have peace with God. According to John 14:27 Jesus said, "peace I leave with you my peace I give unto you not as the world give the give unto you, let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid." Because we have peace with God, we can love one another as Christ has loved us. Love is the secret weapon ... Love wins.
My God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ, Michael