Just finished a multi-part series about walking in love and I learned so much about love I wanted to share it here. Here's my points, 1. Why we need to learn to walk in love. 2. What is love., 3. How can we possibly do that?, 4. The love fight., 5. What to do.
1. Why we need to walk in love.
a. So that our prayers can be answered.
1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
Everybody loves the, "…whatsoever we ask we receive…" part of that verse, but the condition for receiving it is that we have confidence toward God. We can't have confidence toward God, i.e. chutzpah or faith, if our heart is condemning us. If we harden our heart when our brother has need, which is what the preceding verses discuss, then our heart will still be hardened when we go before God to ask for something. It is standard practice in Christian circles to credit God for unanswered prayer, but as
anyone with a particle of sense and a paucity of theological education
could see from the above scripture, if our prayers are not answered
the fault is not in our God but in ourselves. If we want to receive what we ask God
for when we pray then we need to learn to walk in love. Most Christians have no idea what it means or how hard and painful it is to walk in love.
Us word of faith preachers are constantly asked about suffering, aren't Christians supposed to suffer? Most American evangelical Christians want to credit their "suffering" for stupidity and hardheartedness to "suffering for the Lord". They try to make a virtue out of the suffering which they have merited for failing to follow after God. They excuse the suffering they endure for failing to walk in the spirit by attributing it to the service of God. But suffering is blessing those who curse you, doing good to those who despitefully use you, helping your brother when he is in need. Real suffering is walking in love.
Dad Hagin used to tell a story about when he was a young pastor during the days of the great depression. A traveling minister had come to town on the bus. He was very discouraged and was trying to get home and had run out of money. He came to the service at Dad Hagin's little church. He didn't ask for anything but as he was leaving dad Hagin felt impressed in his heart to give the man ten dollars he had been saving. These were depression days and $10 was a lot, lot more money that it is today. Dad had been saving that money to buy Christmas for his wife and two little kids. If he gave the evangelist the money there would be no Christmas for his family. He struggled with it for a while but finally obeyed the leading of his spirit and gave the evangelist the money. That is suffering for the Lord. Failing to receive answers to prayer because you never walk in love is not suffering for the Lord that's being a knucklehead.
Dad Hagin said that several years later he was called to pray for a woman who was on her death bed. As he was there praying for her with several women he felt impressed in his spirit to say to the woman, rise up and be healed. He mulled it over for a little and then decided to obey the leading of his spirit and said to the woman, '"Rise up and be healed," and as Dad Hagin liked to say, the woman did, God did and she was. While they were celebrating this marvelous healing the Lord spoke to papa Hagin and told him, "If you had not obeyed me about that money back then, I would not have been able to use you to heal this woman right now."
If we want our prayers to be answered we need to learn to walk in love.