THE WAY GOD LOVES
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God; and God in him. - 1 John 4:16
Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play professional baseball, joined the Dodgers in 1947. He traveled with them during their first road trip and was heckled by fans in Cincinnati, Ohio. During pre-game in field practice, Reese, the captain of the team, went over to Robinson and engaged him in conversation. He put his arm around his shoulder in a gesture of support which silenced the crowd. That event was the turning point of Jackie’s famous career. In the same way, the Apostle Paul experienced public ridicule and rejection when everyone forsook him. That’s when he said in 2 Timothy 4:17, “The Lord stood by me and strengthened me.” That is the way God loves.
The greatest miracle and witness to the world in the last days is for Christians to have this kind of love for one another. Jesus said in John 13:34,35, “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” God’s love gives you the power and authority to demonstrate God’s mercy to others, just as Jesus did on the cross when He prayed to His Father to forgive. It is God’s love in action.
LOVE LIKE HE LOVES
If ye fulfill the royal law of scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well...and mercy rejoiceth over judgment. - James 2:8, 13
Love comes from God and everyone in His family can love like He loves because we share His nature (1 John 4:7,8). Never underestimate the reach of God’s mercy as demonstrated when Jesus forgave the thief on the cross. Love restored the woman caught in the act of adultery. Religion would have killed her, but instead of throwing rocks, Jesus bent down, wrote in the sand and her accusers had to walk away. Mercy triumphed over judgment and is the standard for us to follow.
When I was a teenager I had an encounter with the love of God that changed the direction of my life. I was sitting in church on a Sunday morning after being out on Saturday night with my friends. I was not exactly living right; in fact, I was backslidden. In the middle of the service, a man named Bro. F.E. Ward stepped up to the platform and said he had a word from God for someone. Well, that someone happened to be me! My friend next to me whispered, “You’re a dead duck now.” As I walked to the front I began to repent of my sins. I reminded God that if He revealed them, my father would kill me, and I would be of no use to Him then. Instead of a giant flyswatter coming to squash me from Heaven, Bro. Ward began to tell me how much God loved me and how He had a plan for my life. All the rebellion melted and I received direction for my life that day. If He loves us like this, we can love others in the same way.
GOD’S DEFINITION OF LOVE
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display it- self haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (AMP)
There are nine aspects of the love of God which can be described as light shining through a prism and dividing into many colors. PATIENT: First of all, love is grace for imperfect people. Love is not in a hurry, but is persistent and prepared for the time for opportunities to come. KIND: The best thing you can do for God is to be kind to His kids! You can’t love the Father and not love His children. Acts of kindness and love communicate happiness to those around us. NOT ENVIOUS: Love prefers others, is not competitive but is generous. In any line of work, there will be others who are better and it is a temptation to push others down in order to get ahead. But love will help others to be their best, preferring them first. HUMBLE: Jesus did not seek His own honor, but allowed God to honor Him. When you do a kind deed, humility is quiet, not bringing attention to itself. COURTEOUS: Love does the mannerly thing. Anyone, no matter the level of their education or culture, will be gracious when they walk in love. Love speaks the truth gently. UNSELFISH: It is not grasping but generous, knowing it is more blessed to give than to receive. It is not stingy, but ready to share, given to hospitality. NOT EASILY PROVOKED: Love does not have a bad temper. Great talents and influence can be completely destroyed in one fit of anger. There are sins of the body and sins of the disposition. For example, the sin of the prodigal son’s older brother was greater because he was ungrateful for his father’s constant provision and jealous of his brother’s honor. GUILELESS AND SINCERE: Love does not find satisfaction in the shortcomings of others and it does not spread an evil report. It aggressively advertises the good in people; it defends and holds other people up, credits them with good intentions and is not suspicious. It never gives up on people, but affirms and encourages them.
HOW TO WALK IN GOD’S KIND OF LOVE
When you see how much God loves you, you can forgive yourself and you can also forgive others. By doing this you release yourself and others from past hurts, sins, and disappointments. Unforgiveness can open the door to sickness and the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy. Be quick to repent, quick to forgive and quick to believe!
The next thing is to keep looking into the perfect law of liberty. James 1:25 (NLB) says, “But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” Renew your mind and feed your faith by meditating on this topic. This involves affirming it out loud and also using your imagination to see yourself, others and situations you’re facing in the light of God’s love.
The third exercise to strengthen your love walk is to pray in the Spirit. “But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God...,” Jude 20,21. This spiritual exercise involves yielding our most unruly member of our body to the Holy Spirit, who makes us holy. “...The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us,” Romans 5:5. He is the Greater One who will help you to tame your tongue, which is like a wild animal that cannot be domesticated! The tongue must be continually yielded to the power of the Holy Spirit who gives us power to overcome.
MAKE GOD’S LOVE YOUR QUEST
Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it, because it does. - 1 Corinthians 14:1 (Message)
Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]. (Amplified)
A quest is a lifelong dream or anything that dominates your life and holds your attention for at least 20 years. We should make the decision to walk in love whether anybody else does or not. It is not a waste of time and is a necessity to inspect our love walk on a continual basis so the power that raised Jesus from the dead may flow unhindered! Faith works by love and when we make it our quest, we’ll see the worst people and situations turn around, favor, promotion, and Heaven on earth!
PARTNERS IN CHRIST
2017 is a year to be saturated with the Holy Spirit! "I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh..." Your partnership enables Mark Hankins Ministries to reach further into both West and East Africa. The West Africa Faith Conference connects us with thousands of hungry and thirsty pastors and believers in Lagos, Nigeria where we will be speaking for five days. The door of faith is also opened to us to go into the nation of Ethiopia for the first time. We will not only conduct a three-day Faith Conference in the influential church in Addis Ababa, but also impact pastors, church leaders and Bible School students for another three days. Believe with us for a great outpouring in Africa! Nothing will keep us living victoriously like walking in love.
We encourage you to take advantage of our special CD messages, the DVD (recorded at Kenneth Copeland Ministries) and book offer to strengthen your love walk this month. We declare to you our partners, “my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory!”
Mark and Trina Hankins
P.S. We would love to see you in Alexandria, LA for our Supernatural Leadership Conference, March 14–17, 2017. Come expecting a powerful time in the Word of God and refreshing of the Holy Spirit. For more information please visit our website, www.markhankins.org.