Love in the Heart of the Prophet
Before you even learn the Lord's prayer, the very first phrase you will ever learn about being a Christian is the phrase "God is Love." In fact it is said so often and used so often, I wonder if anyone really knows the real meaning of it. Think about it - what does it mean to you? Is it just another phrase, or does it tug a few heart strings in you?
Maybe you are at the point in your life right now where the Lord is asking you to draw closer to Him. Maybe the Lord keeps leading you to the place where He asks of you to open your heart to others. Sounds scary doesn't it? Perfect love casts out all fear, and God is love. Fear cannot co-exist with love. Fear does not co-exist with God. So the very first step you are going to take on this road will be the road to letting go.
You have worked through your life in such a way that you react to things in a certain way, and in that life long plan, a very integral part of that is ensuring that others don't hurt you. You have gone through a life of so much pain and torment that you have learned well to shut off that pain, to shut off the pain inflicted by others.
Problem is, by building up those walls you have cut the Lord off as well. So before the Lord can even get deep into your tender heart, He is going to have to chip at that wall a bit, so that He can get in there and start to make a change.
I want to look at the most famous chapter on the love of God. By the time I am through I hope to give you a clear picture of how to get to that place of tenderness and encourage you to move into that special place the Lord has for you in ministry.
I am sure that by now you are familiar with all the teaching of Faith and Hope. Faith gives you the power to release and hope keeps your eye fixed on the end result. But, Love is greater than both of these. Why?
Why is God seen as a God of love? Do you know that it was His love that first created man? He breathed His life into him. Gave man part of His own spirit. He gave man a very special part of Himself. The Lord has given to each of us a part of His great spirit of Love. It has always been His plan for us to use that power within us. But yet, few do. Most are afraid.
Well I can imagine how you are going to tell me the great love you have for the Lord. Sure, I don't doubt it for a minute. God is easy to love. He says nice things. He encourages you when you are down. He is always there for you. But that is not the love He was talking about here. The love Jesus speaks of here is our love for others.
I can tell you right now, that if you do not have an earnest love in your heart for the flock, you will not be effective in ministry. You will be a tinkling cymbal, clanging brass. You will be nothing but empty noise with no power in the words of prophecy you bring.
That is why in the walk of any believer who is called to ministry, they will face the call to love and the call to let go of self. Especially in the prophetic office is this applicable. You can bring prophetic words until you are blue in the face, but if those words are not backed with the agape love of God, your words will dry up in that desert and whither away.
If you have been moving in the gifts and revelation. If you have been flowing well in the spirit and suddenly dried up - chances are you need to water your soul with the love of God. You see without love functioning with faith and hope, you will progress so far and no further in your upward climb.
You may have faith to move mountains, as the passage says, but when you get to the place of knowing you are nothing without love - you are at the starting line. Do you want to get to the top? Do you want to go beyond the norm, to do things in the Kingdom of God that others are afraid to do? Get back to love. Get to the very root of all power, of all strength - the Heart of Jesus.
I think that there are many times you just overlook this passage. I mean, you know God told you to do it, you know it is the right thing to do. Hey, sometimes you even grit your teeth and force yourself, sometimes you pretend so well to love that horrible person, that you may even convince yourself you "love" them.
Why did the Lord ask this of us? Did He maybe ask this painful thing of us to keep us humble? Maybe He said it to test our commitment. But, He said it so we had better obey...- is that the way you see it?
God always has a reason for instructing us to do things. God is Love. God does all things through love, be it in blessing or be it in judgment to those that stand against His people. Always with a heart of love. Jesus also told us to love those detestable people because He loves us so much.
Huh? Come again? Well, how else do you think you are going to overcome the hate and darkness in the lives of those that persecute you? Through judgment? Through condemnation? No, they have enough of their own to go round. You need to fight darkness with light and hate with love.
Any man can react against hate, any enemy can react against harsh words and strict instruction, but there is no man alive who can react against love. Love has a unique power, in that it can get into places no other force can. It can get into places the devil cannot, it can creep into such a private part of a person's heart that they won't even know it.
By loving and loving and loving, those who hate you, you plant in their hearts a seed that as you water it, will grow and they will not be able to help themselves but to be affected by it!
But, that is just the start! As you love the way Jesus loves, your life will change. There is no bond Satan can bind you with, that love does not overcome. As you pour out in love to others, it will set your spirit free in a way you never imagined. You will be set free to take a step up in the Kingdom to be more effective in your ministry and more powerful in prophecy, tongues and revelation.
This sure looks like a long list of dos and don'ts that no man is capable of achieving! Lord, I know you told us to do this - but man! It sure is impossible, don't you know how horrible those people are?
Stop right there. I have a news flash. You are never going to do it. Try all your life if you like - you are not going to get there, you will fail on every count. Encouraging isn't it?
In this passage are the fruits of love. In other words, if you are walking in the agape love of God, these fruits will be showing in your life. Forget about manifesting the fruits in your human strength, your starting point is on your knees at the feet of Jesus, He will plant in your heart that sapling that will in time bear these fruits.
You need to spend time in the presence of one who knows how to love. A child learns by watching his parent, and so we need to watch the Lord. You need to be spending time with Him learning how He does things, asking Him to show you how He sees others. Asking Him questions, reading His thoughts in the Word. Soon, you will be building pictures in your heart. Positive pictures, you will not be able to help yourself, but to start feeling the love, you surround yourself in.
You see, there is no effort involved in loving. You do not need to 'try'. You just need to follow the steps of the Master. Before you know it, you will be copying Him, as a child you will learn to do things the way his Father does them. You will be so soaked and watered by His love that it will start to show in your life. It will no longer be something you 'hope to attain one day' but something you are walking in all the time. The world will see what was planted in your heart and is now bearing ripe, rich fruit.
I am sure that by now all of this seems so overwhelming. You have an idea now of what you need to do and what your responsibilities are, but you are wondering in your heart if you will ever be able to rise to this call.
I heard a really good description of hope. It went something like this: Hope comes from endurance through trial. In other words, as you go through times of testing, hope is built in your heart. Each time the Lord calls you to a death to self, so do you grow and so does hope grow in you each time you face trial.
The Lord will never call you to do anything without preparing you first. He has probably already been preparing your heart for this time. Every time you have faced trial, so has He prepared you. So now He is calling you to another death - He is calling you to a death in shame. To be prepared to uncover all shame for His sake. To expose your innermost parts for His use.
Once you are at that place of commitment, so will the Lord be able to cover your shame with His love. The endurance through trial you have achieved to be transparent, will not cause you shame, because the love of God clothes you, His grace adorns you. You will be made a beauty for the world to behold.
The Lord is right now chipping away at that wall you have built so neatly around you. And, I am sure that right now you are very scared. Maybe you would rather just hide from all this and carry on the way you were? But can't you see that you have but a part of what He wants to give you? There is so much more!
As a prophet of God, you will never be able to have hiding places, you will never be allowed a place to conceal yourself. God will be your fortress, He alone will be your secret hiding place. Jesus revealed to each of us His shame, that He might cover ours. The Lord requires of you that faith that pleases Him. Faith that says
"Father, I give you my most hidden place for you to show the world, knowing that you will cover me."
Everything you do as a prophet is in faith, but all words you speak as a prophet must always be in love. If you do not have love in your heart when you speak forth, then the words you speak will lack power. Test all you speak by that guideline. Even words of Judgment or correction should be in love - there is no getting away from it.
Can you see now why the Lord has to bring you to that point of transparency? Why it is so vital to being effective in the calling the Lord has on your life?
Just have a look at King David. He was a child when the Lord first called him. I can imagine his training started that very day. He spent time at the Lord's feet and learned to love. While he was a little nobody watching the sheep, the Lord could break down walls and build new walls of love and tenderness.
When he first spotted Goliath, his first impression was not "well what are my brothers going to think of me, I hope they don't say nasty things", it was, "How dare He speak against the God of Israel," the God he loved. Are you prepared to face Goliath today for the sake of your love for Jesus? Are you prepared to knock down that stone around your heart that the Lord may use you to a greater degree?
If you choose to, you can take from the hand of God right now not just a part of what He has for you, but the whole. If you are prepared to sacrifice yourself just like Jesus sacrificed Himself for you, you will be able to move into a unity with God you have never known.
For now, you prophesy in part and you get revelation in part, but if you will submit to the gentle hand of the Lord, you will know His thoughts at all times. For He is indeed a God of love and if you are walking in that love, so will you know His heart at all times, His will at all times and His power at all times.
You will have in full, what you have only a taste of now. But, it is going to cost you. It will cost you the price it cost Jesus. It means being prepared to open yourself to shame, to be persecuted without saying a word in your defense, to give and open your heart to others and face rejection. Do you have what it takes to become the prophet of God you are called to be?
I encourage you now to take that step into the presence of God. To let Him teach you, and to let Him make you into a diamond of magnificent beauty.
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