Take the Step: Love by Faith

Practical steps to making love a reality.

Agape love frequently expresses itself as a flow of compassion. Jesus said, "Rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me." Compassion is one of these rivers. It is a gentle stream of tenderness and concern for another person's need. Such love compelled Jesus to feed the hungry, comfort the sorrowing, heal the sick, teach the multitude, and raise the dead.

Most of us at some time in our lives have experienced this flow of love toward someone.

Perhaps you felt it while washing the dishes, or while working on the job, or driving down the freeway, or sitting in a classroom. You couldn't explain it, but your impulse was to do something special for that person.

Start Asking God How to Love by Faith

I encourage you to take the first step; start loving by faith and follow that flow. It is Gods compassion streaming toward the one in need. The tug of love within you means that He is filling you with godly compassion and that He has chosen you to minister to that individual.

Ask God to manifest His tender compassion through you in some way today. As you pray, ask Him to lay someone on your heart. When you sense God's love flowing through you to that individual, find out his need and begin ministering to that need. By following the leading of Gods Spirit, you can help those whom the Lord has prepared for His transforming touch, and you will become part of His miraculous provision. When God leads you to help someone, He will enable you to do what He leads you to do.

A Japanese magazine has a picture of a butterfly on one of its pages. Its color is a dull gray until warmed by one's hand. The touch of a hand causes the special inks in the printing to react, and the dull gray is transformed into a flashing rainbow of color.

What other things can be thus changed by the warmth of your interest and agape love? Your family? Your church? Your city? This hurting world is hungry for the touch of someone who cares -- who really cares! Through God's agape kind of love, you can be that someone.

Make a List of Those Who are Difficult to Love

But what about those who seem unlikable? People with whom you may have difficulty getting along? Individuals whose attitudes rub you the wrong way? I encourage you to make a list of people you do not like and begin to love them by faith.

Perhaps you will place yourself on the list. Have you thought of applying the truths of 1 Corinthians 13 to yourself by faith? Ask God to help you see yourself as He sees you. You have no reason to dislike yourself when your Creator has already forgiven you and demonstrated his unconditional love by dying for you!

If Christ is in you, you are complete because Christ Himself is perfect love, perfect peace, perfect patience, perfect kindness. He is all goodness, and He is in you! Whenever Satan tries to attack you by reminding you of sins which you have already confessed or by magnifying your weaknesses and shortcomings, claim in faith the forgiveness and righteousness of God, and thank Him that, on the authority of His Word, you do not have to be intimidated by Satan's accusation.

Thank God that you are His child and that your sins are forgiven. Thank God that Satan has no control over you except that which is allowed by God. Then cast this care on the Lord as we are commanded to do in 1 Peter 5:7.

Perhaps your boss, a fellow employee, your spouse, your children or your father or mother is on the list of those whom you will love by faith. Pray for each person. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with Christ's love for all of them. Then, seek to meet with them as you draw upon God's limitless inexhaustible, overwhelming love for them by faith. Expect God to work through you! Watch Him use your smile, your words, your patience to express His love for each individual.

Love by faith every one of your "enemies" -- everyone who angers you, ignores you, bores you or frustrates you. People are waiting to be loved with God's love.

A homemaker who, through a long cold winter, had seen her family through mumps, measles, a broken nose, 3 new teeth for the baby and countless other difficulties, reached the point where these pressures and demands became too much for her. Finally, on her knees, she began to protest, "Oh Lord! I have so much to do!" But imagine her surprise when she heard herself say, "Oh Lord! I have so much to love!" You will never run out of opportunities to love by faith.

Remember, the agape kind of love is an act of the will, not just an emotion. You love by faith. By faith, you can claim God's step by step, person by person.

"The fruit of the Spirit is love..." Like fruit, love grows. Producing fruit requires a seed, then a flower, then pollination, then warm sun and refreshing rains, and even some contrary winds. Similarly in daily life, your love will be warmed by joy, watered by tears and spread by the winds of circumstances.

God uses all that you experience to work His will in your life. He is the one who makes your love grow. It is a continual, ever-increasing process. As Paul says, "May the Lord make your love to grow and overflow to each other and to everyone else..."

Let Love Motivate You

Now, how does loving by faith motivate you to engage in aggressive personal evangelism and contribute to the fulfillment of the Great Commission?

When you begin to truly love God by faith with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbors as yourself, you will begin to see men as God sees them -- as individuals of great worth, as those for whom Christ died. As a result, we shall be motivated by the same love which constrained the apostle Paul who said, "Everywhere we go we talk about Christ to all who will listen."

Love, God's kind of love, causes the Great Commission to become a personal responsibility and privilege. When non-Christians observe believers not only saying that they love one another, but also proving it by their actions, they, like their first-century counterparts, will marvel at "how they love one another" and will be drawn to receive and worship our Savior with us.

How exciting it is to have such a dynamic, joyful force available to us! And it all comes from our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, who explicitly promises in His Word all that you need. You need not guess, nor hope, nor wish. You can claim this love by faith, right now, on the basis of God's command to love and His promise to answer whenever you pray for anything according to His will.

Why not make this prayer your own: "Lord, You would never have commanded me to love had You not intended to enable me to do so. Therefore, right now, on the authority of Your commands for me to love and on the authority of Your promise to answer if I asked anything according to Your will, I personally claim Your love -- the 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love -- for You, for all people, and for myself. Amen."

Remember, How You Can Love by Faith is a transferable concept. You can master it by reading it six times; then pass it on to others as our Lord commands us in Matthew 28:20, "Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you." The apostle Paul encouraged us to do the same: "The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2).

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Adapted from the Transferable Concept: How You Can Love By Faith, by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Campus Crusade for Christ. All rights reserved.