Walking in the Love of God

The Love of God is spiritual. Thus religion and its’ secular audience cannot comprehend this love. The manner in which theology handles related scriptures is a demonstration of this lack of comprehension. Those who would manifest God’s love to specific people in specific situations often come into conflict with religious notions which are based on human love. Some scriptures, such as 1 Corinthians 13, have become weaponized against God by the twisting of religious theology. These weapons do not have to affect us from now on.

1 Corinthians 13 is part of a context which starts in chapter 12, regarding “spiritual matters”. Traditional sermons, teachings, and discussions yank chapter 13 out of context. Then the meaning of the word love is twisted to whatever aspect of human love it is thought should be emphasized. Not having an understanding of the power of God, walking by the spirit and Agency, there is little or no understanding of spiritual Love. By the context it is established that this chapter is discussion of spiritual love which is resident within every saint of God, those who are born again. This is literally the love of and for the God and Father of Jesus Christ.

Note that the first 3 verses of chapter 13 speaks to the individual; without this love, walking by the spirit is not profitable to the individual walking. Love of or for what? God of course! That is where it all starts! So, how do we know how to love God? Is it by the scriptures? No! We learn to love God when we walk by the spirit, make His will our will; when we are obedient to Him as He directs us!

Verses 4 through 7 are usually the verses used by the religious critic as a weapon against those who are endeavoring to walk by the spirit, to love and obey God as HE directs. This love has nothing to do with activities which are approved by religious authorities or society in general. It is the love of and for God which is specific for the situation and people involved.

[4] Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant [5] or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; [6] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. [7] Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV)

Let’s handle this verse by verse, holding in mind that this is NOT referring to human love, human emotion. This love is not common to humanity and cannot be faked.

Love is patient and kind Patient with whom? kind to whom? Patience and kindness is experienced between the individual and God. We are patient as he works with us according to His timing; we are kind and do not accuse him of evil or think badly of him and his will. This does not say that we are patient with demons or kind to them. It does not say that we are patient with any form of evil. Rather kindness (like love) is expressed as God has us express it. This will probably not be pleasing to the opinions of the human observer.

love does not envy or boast The misuse of this is very well illustrated by the record of Joseph. He had visions about himself and expressed them to his family, by revelation. He continues to be unjustly criticized and falsely accused to this day for being proud and boastful. What a lie. You speak as inspired; when you do, you may get criticized yourself! We don’t envy what God is working in others. We don’t boast about our own exploits in an egotistical manner.

it (love) is not arrogant or rude Arrogant to whom? God! Rude to whom? God! We are not arrogant to God, refusing to obey him. We are not rude to God, contradicting or casting aside His directions. Note that to avoid such accusations from people, you must submit to their arrogance against God and rudely cast aside God’s directions. You don’t apologize to the critics for doing what God inspired you to do, unless He tells you to.

It (love) does not insist on its own way When? When God gives direction. You may not want to do what God says to do. You may pray and pray and protest. However, our love for God motivates us to make God’s will our own will. Life is much easier that way!

it (love) is not irritable or resentful About or at what? The direction that God gives you, the results, any unjust consequences that may happen.

does not rejoice at wrong doing but rejoices with the truth. You are not glad when someone goes against God’s direction and receives the consequences. You don’t rejoice at the evil which God may reveal to you. You rejoice with the truth that He shows you! You (and perhaps others) know the truth as you walk by the spirit.

Love bears all things All what things? All the direction, assignments and anything else that God gives you to do as His agent, walking by the spirit. This includes all the unjust consequences that may happen as well!

(love) believes all things All what things? All the direction that God gives you. As you obey, spiritual believing goes into action and the power of God is invoked to accomplish the assignment.

(love) hopes all things All what things? All the things that God has told you to hope for; things that are not available to have right now, but will be in the future. This kind of hope is enabled through the power of holy spirit. The religious realm presents many false and worthless hopes which do not require the operation of holy spirit.

(love) endures all things All what things? All the direction, assignments and anything else that God gives you to do as well as any unjust consequences. “Endure” and “bear” are very similar words but may have some significant differences. The point here is that the bearing and enduring have to do with your relationship with God and your functioning as an agent for him.

The things that God has you do to exhibit His love may seem to be completely contrary to what everyone else considers to be loving. No matter what, you do what He directs, not what others say is loving or not loving. You are not obligated to explain yourself or apologize to anyone, either.

Since you are walking in love as an agent of God, this should give you a completely different mindset than what you had before. Accusations against “you” are against the new, spiritual self; against God and His son, Jesus Christ. Your mindset can be “…how can I show God’s love to this person, or the audience? What is God’s will for this situation, these people, right now?” Understand that you have the authority, the authorization and the calling to think like that, no matter who or what is confronting you!

In the gospels, there was a time that an evil spirit was working through a person who was mouthing off at Jesus in public. Jesus told him to shut up! No one saw the spirit, so Jesus could have been accused of being rude and unkind! In this case, for God’s love to be shown to all concerned, the instruction was to shut the spirit down and then cast it out. All this was known and accomplished as Jesus walked by the spirit.

In Acts Stephen preached to the leadership of Israel. God was lovingly providing them with one last chance to partake in the more than abundant life through the accomplishments of Jesus Christ. From a human point of view, the critic could say that Stephen was not conducting himself in a loving manner. However, Stephen’s love was for God, so he conducted himself as God directed, regardless of the response.

As you learn to love as God would have people loved, do not be surprised when God starts showing you his heart. Of course his heart is so big that no one can comprehend it all. This will happen to you and it will be amazing! Pay attention and be thankful when it happens!

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(C)2019 Keith S. Radcliffe