40 KEYS TO OPEN THE GATES FOR BREAKTHROUGH (7)

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GATEWAY TO LOVE (Part one)

 KEY VERSE:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. —1 John 4:7 (NKJV)

 

Key #22: And He said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the great and foremost commandment.—Matthew 22:37-38 (NASB)

 

Love toward God

 

Without exception, as Jesus points out to us, this is the greatest commandment! In fact, the entire first half of the Ten Commandments falls under this command. How do we love Father God with our whole heart, whole soul and whole mind? It is by Him owning us in Christ, and by us not claiming ownership of ourselves. It is seen by our actions and not by our lips only.

 

If He owns me, that is, if I have been bought out of the bondage of sin, paid by the highest price possible—the precious blood of Jesus, then I submit to Him in all the actions/behaviors of my life. First, His Word is His revealed will. Second, Jesus is the will of the Father. That is, when you look at the Son you’ve seen the Father. And lastly, scripture shows us that Jesus and the Word are one! We need to take the guidance of Holy Spirit through the Word of God to be the standard for all our behavior in life, thus showing love for the Father by submitting to His Word no matter what it costs us!

 

Unfortunately, this is not how it is in American Christianity. The majority of Christians in America live for themselves and love God with their lips only. Oh, do we need a breakthrough! This breakthrough comes by our reckoning ourselves as dead to self, consecrating ourselves to Him, and letting the Holy Spirit direct our paths. Will we die to self, daily as Paul says? Will we consecrate our plans and pursuits to Him? Therein lies the breakthrough for America. Will the real Christians please stand up?

 

Confession:

I am dead to self and live for Christ, and for the praise of His glory.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help me by Your Spirit of Grace to love and live for You all the days of my life. In Jesus’ Name I ask, Amen.

 

Journaling Question:

Do I love the Father with my whole being? If yes, how would anyone know it by how I live my life? Where in my life am I alive to self? Where in my life have I not allowed Jesus to be Lord?

 

Resources: Book: Loving God With All Your Mind

, Elizabeth George

 

Key #23: The second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” —Matthew 22:39 (NASB)

 

Love toward your Neighbor

 

Without exception, as Jesus points out to us, this is the second greatest commandment! The entire second half of the Ten Commandments falls under this command. Scripture tells us that we cannot love God whom we have not seen with the naked eye and, at the same time, not love our neighbor whom we can see with our eyes. The point is: you don’t love God if you don’t love your neighbor! Make no mistake on this point! Of course, if we do love God, we will love our neighbor, because the love of God shines through us toward our neighbor.

 

And so the tough question is, how do I love my neighbor? When the man asked Jesus this in terms of “who is my neighbor?” Jesus pointed to the Good Samaritan and told him to go and do the same. The Samaritans were hated by the Jews in the first century, and yet the Samaritan showed love toward his Jewish neighbor.   Jesus’ illustration was that first, love is shown by actions; second, love is shown even when it costs us something; and third, love is unconditional even toward those who hate us! You love your neighbor because the love of God compels you to do so.

 

Wow! Do we need a breakthrough in this area! Most tend to love only the loveable, or those who give love in return. Most tend not to reach out to those that hate us. Most tend to love to the point of little or no personal cost and discomfort. We need to grow in love. We need actions that show that we have been with Jesus, our example of a surrendered, submitted love for the Father.

 

Confession:

I am a lover of men’s souls.

 

Prayer:

Father, may I please You in loving my neighbor. Teach me and show me how I would be an example of Your love to everyone I meet. In Jesus’ Name I ask, Amen.

 

Journaling Question:

Do I love my neighbor? How would anyone know that I do?

 

Resources: Book: Love Your Neighbor,

Melody Carlson

 

Key #24: For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?—Matthew 5:46 (NASB)

 

Love toward the Unlovable

 

Recall in Key #23 that Scripture tells us we cannot love God whom we have not seen and, at the same time, not love our neighbors whom we have seen. Here in Matthew 5:46 we see Jesus’ instruction to His disciples on this issue of love.

 

Our love as believers must go beyond the church pews and reach out to those no one will love. Mother Theresa clearly pointed this out in her ministry. There was nothing of value in what she did in men’s eyes, but there was great value in it to heaven’s eyes. Perhaps a better way to put this is to ask yourself, “Will I reach out to the unlovable?”

 

We get a breakthrough in love when we reach out to those who cannot bless us in return. Food pantry service, clothing ministry, homeless ministry, and prison ministry are only a few areas where we meet those who society has pushed aside. Perhaps it is a deep personal question we must ask of the Lord: “How do I love the unlovable?” A greater and higher dimension of our Christianity awaits us as we become doers and not mere talkers of loving the unlovable. Maybe, as Mother Theresa once said regarding our ministry to the poor, we might meet Jesus there.

 

Confession:

I am a lover of men’s souls. I show the love of Christ to the unlovable.

 

Prayer:

Father, broaden my view of whom I am sent to love. May I put no barrier between Your love in me and another’s soul. In Jesus’ Name I ask, Amen.

 

Journaling Question:

Do I love the unlovable? Do I care? Am I willing?

 

Resources: Book: Love Your Neighbor,

Melody Carlson

 

Key #25: Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.—Galatians 6:10 (NKJV)

 

Love toward the Church

 

We are called to love all men. Love is seen in our actions and not merely by lip service. Yet we have instruction from Scripture that we are to show a special dedication of love first to the household of faith—the Church. The Church is our family. How you treat the household of God is how you treat Jesus. Unfortunately we live in a Christian culture that wants to separate Jesus from His Church and not look at them as one. They are one. The Body is connected to the Head.

 

You are the Church. Your brother and sister in Christ are the Church. Your love toward the saints is your love toward the Church and directly related to how you show love toward Jesus. Jesus’ authority structure in His Church is also connected to this. You and I cannot escape this truth that in this life, we are connected to Jesus’ Church as much as we are connected to Him! Now that’s a breakthrough thought for some!

 

Love towards the Lord’s Church is seen by our service of ministry. It is seen by the fruit we leave behind as believers. Love toward the Lord’s Church is seen in our active participation in the Body of Christ. There is a breakthrough here—we need to get busy with the Lord’s work in the Lord’s Church and not live for ourselves. There are no lone ranger saints. There is an army of the Lord marching forward. I wouldn’t want to explain to God one day why I was AWOL in His Church Army! Would you?

 

Confession:

I love the Lord’s Church. I’m in the Army of the Lord.

 

Prayer:

Father God, may I have a deeper understanding and commitment of love to Your Church. May my service be acceptable to You and to the brethren. In Jesus’ Name I ask, Amen.

 

Journaling Question:

Am I submitted to the Lord’s Church (Hebrews 13:17)? Am I a fruit producer in the Kingdom? Is my love for the Church seen by my actions?

 

Resources: Book: My Church My Family,

James Richards

 

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