(A 12 Minute Read)
There is such a wonderful gift that comes out of being a child of the living God. It’s a transformation from the inside out or, as Pastor Henry Wright likes to say, a frame off restoration. God wants to renew us and refresh us in every part of our being – spirit, soul and body. An important component is removing the rust but then all of the good and beautiful things get to be added back on, the paint, the chrome, new upholstery, window etc. God can see our old rusty selves and see the potential in us and, with our cooperation, will help us remove the old and transform us into the new, classy chassis that He envisioned when He created us.
He develops us not by our own works or performance but by our openness to participate with Him and His Holy Spirit in our lives. There are the uncomfortable times in this transformation process of scraping or cutting away of the old ways of thinking that are causing spiritual and physical breakdown in our lives. And though they may be uncomfortable they are absolutely necessary (Strength in Adversity) but then there is the renewal and the healing part of our journey where God begins to form us into His image, His perfect and complete design.
The first and most important element to this renewal process is love. Love is an integral part of our design. In fact, our health and well-being depend on it because in love is where we will find perfect peace and freedom from fear.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 KJV
The Word says that God created us in His image. We were created to resemble our Father not just physically, but He wants us to resemble Him spiritually as well. In fact, we cannot be like Him if we aren’t submitted to His Holy Spirit that will teach us and grow us up into all things. That’s why the character qualities that God would like to grow us up into are called the “Fruit of the Spirit.” We cannot conjure them on our own because we are limited by our own understanding of what each fruit represents. We need a deeper revelation and understanding of what love is based on God’s influence on our hearts; His grace and mercy.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 KJV
The first and arguably the most important fruit of the spirit is love. The Word says that all of the commandments in the Bible are fulfilled in love.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40 KJV
All fall outs – mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally occur when we are separated from love with God, ourselves and/or others. The Word indicates that we actually have to grow up into love; this is the beginning of all restoration and healing in every area of our lives.
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. Ephesians 4:15 KJV
Second Peter talks about the steps that are necessary for us to be able to grow up into love and godliness.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 KJV
We first need to seek His Word in faith and ask Him to show us His heart in it. If we come to Him in skepticism, doubt, or fear, He cannot meet us because there is a block of the enemy in the way of us being able to receive from Him. So we must remove any blocks by repenting for listening to those things and commanding them to leave us in Jesus’ name. If you have a hard time getting into the Word, there may be blocks in the way that keep you from reading it and understanding it. You can ask Father God to help you recognize those things so that you can remove them and move forward.
In this learning process, we also must develop patience for ourselves as we grow up. God has not put a time limit on our recovery and neither should we. We know that according to the original Greek translation of the word “grace” that it is God’s divine influence on our hearts. “Mercy” is the time He gives us to get it right. So, as we are growing up into love, God gives us grace and mercy to grow us up into maturity in what we learn. When we meditate on His Word and learn how to apply it to our lives we grow up into godliness which is God’s nature in us.
Our first step is to learn how to receive God’s love for ourselves through the revelation that He gives us in His Word by His Holy Spirit. This must be by faith that we read and receive the good things that He has spoken to us. We may find ourselves stuck again if there are any blocks in our lives to being able to receive His love. They may include bitterness towards God, ourselves or others, unloving, rejection, accusation or fear.
As we learn to walk in and receive His love and begin to grow in relationship and trust with Him, we can develop love for Him. A key factor of learning how to trust God is pouring out our hearts to Him and learning how to be vulnerable with Him as King David was in the Psalms. We need to conclude in our hearts that He is a safe place and that we can safely rest and trust in Him, even in our messiest state.
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. Psalm 32:1-7 KJV
He already knows everything we think so nothing we can say will surprise Him. But when we talk to Him in complete honesty about what is going on in our hearts, what’s bothering us, what our desires, hopes, and dreams are He can begin to work with us and bring clarity and guidance to us.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6 KJV
It is amazing the level of freedom we receive when we just talk to our Heavenly Father and realize that He is on our side and is fighting for us. In fact, He is full of compassion towards us, He knows our human struggles and wants to help us through them, not punish us for them.
Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103:13-14 KJV
As He does His work on our heart in healing, recovery and maturing we can develop an attitude of praise and thanksgiving. We can ask Him to help us to do this and to remind us of all His blessings and His goodness and faithfulness towards us from the Word and in our personal lives.
I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:1-4 KJV
Finally, we need to learn how to walk into love and relationship with others. For many of us, this may seem like the hardest part. Often times we are dealing with unspiritual people and, at best, we are dealing with fellow human beings who are subject to similar passions and struggles as we are. The Word says that while we were still sinners, He loved us, this is the attitude that He wants to develop in us as well. He wants to establish the same compassion that He has towards us in our heart towards others too.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 KJV
This is where the rubber meets the road. God has been restoring us by His love and now we have to learn to apply it on the roads of life. It certainly would be easier to remain separated and isolated from others so that we wouldn’t have to deal with their stuff. But that is like having faith without works, it’s dead. Whatever you’ve learned and grown in is useless if you cannot apply it in real life by faith and in confidence of who you are as a child of God.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 KJV
God’s greatest calling on our lives is for us to grow up as His beloved children and then to represent our Father and His love to others. Once again there is grace and mercy involved in this learning curve. It is important to note that there are different types of love. In the New Testament alone, there are over nine Greek words that translate into the English word, “love.”
Two key words are “phileo” and “agape.” The King James Version of the Bible sometimes differentiates between the two by calling “phileo” – brotherly kindness and “agape” – charity. A good example of the two is found in 2 Peter 5:7
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 2 Peter 1:7 KJV
“Phileo” and its various derivatives means: to love as brethren, to have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling.) This is the kind of love that is grown in personal relationship especially within the body of Christ.
The next step from brotherly love is agape love which is translated in this verse into the word “charity.” This is God’s love that is not determined merely by personal relationship but by an act of will; a heart to love others unconditionally. Part of its definition includes the phrase “love feast” it is an outpouring and abundance of love that is complete and fulfilling. This kind of love is only possible in our hearts, as a work of the Holy Spirit, as we grow up and mature in relationship with God. It could be considered unnatural in the sense that it defies our human concept of loving because someone or something is loveable. It is loving because we believe in and receive God’s love and compassion for us all and as a result, His love and compassion flows through us towards others as a work of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 13 defines exactly what God’s agape love looks like:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth… 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 KJV
Both types of love are good and acceptable to God but Agape is specifically and uniquely God’s all-consuming type of love that is a marked goal for us to aim for.
This article is not intended to accuse anyone of where they are or aren’t in their growing up journey but is designed to help us understand how God can work with us to develop His nature in us. There is an incredible peace that comes when we are filled up with and walking in love. The kingdom of self: rejection, unloving, fear, envy, and jealousy, has to fall away in the presence of love. No longer are we introverted, focused on our own issues, struggles and problems but we are looking outwards. We are first looking to our Heavenly Father and receiving His love and then, as we grow up in love and relationship with Him, we learn how to love others as He loves us.
We can keep that end goal in perspective but still have our peace in where we are now. It’s essential to be honest with ourselves and with God about where we are so that we can realize where we need to go from here. We can then pursue God and His love with our whole hearts as the ultimate prize and our highest goal.
The Be in Health® Team