The Power of Love
We are told in scripture: “There are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 TPT)
My friend, Clay Nash, offers the following insights on the subject of relationships.
“When I began teaching on relational authority and turned those teachings into my book, Relational Authority – Authentic Leadership, my focus was on leaders in the church. I offered biblical principles for strengthening the leadership of the body of Christ, so people could be led by competent, relational leadership. Little did I realize the relevance this teaching would have on our nation today.
“We are a nation fractured to its core. People groups are rising against people groups. We no longer listen to each other. Instead, we rail at one another, scream through megaphones, call each other names, and fight anything we perceive as a threat to our point of view. Believers who do so hinder the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“The journey we are on—the manifestation of God’s Kingdom on the earth—should arrive at the human heart. All our prophecy, declarations, convocations, and conventions should lead to the redemption of the hearts of men and women for the glory of God. Everything we build must include this.
“The way to a person’s heart is through love. I can attack his deeds with a megaphone or a Twitter account or a flaming email. I can even freeze his liberty with legislation. But I’m not going to convert him through Holy Spirit apart from the power of love.
“What does this look like? I’m glad you asked:
It looks like sharing our lives.
It looks like common meals.
It looks like listening without judgment, and caring without condemnation.
It looks like overcoming our revulsion as we enter into realms unknown to us.
It looks like eschewing labels as we rebuild the bridges that sin has burned to ashes.
It looks like gazing into the eyes of an enemy, past his rage, to his damaged soul, acknowledging his pain, healing his wounds, and answering his cry with the Word of God.
“In my book, Relational Authority I state that: ‘A person’s most powerful, life-shaping experiences come from their relationships.’ Indeed, the work involved in a relationship is the hardest thing we will ever do, for it takes us out of our comfort zones, even if those zones are spiritual battlefields. Some are more adept at battling our opponents than reaching their lives of darkness.
“The gospel of Jesus Christ can be plastered on billboards, printed on tracts, spewed on street corners, but until it reaches the heart, its effectiveness is nil.
“The people we need to reach may not live attractive lives. They construct barriers designed to repel anyone who embodies the life of Christ. We will not be welcomed…not at first. That’s a given. But get past the barriers, the lies, the spiritual minefields, and napalm, and you will find a heart in need, one desperate for the truth.
“Indeed, the times have never been better for the outpouring of God’s Spirit.
“Think about it. Would people—misguided though they are—be taking to streets, smashing buildings, and burning neighborhoods if they were not hungry for change? Would gender-confused people mutilate their bodies if they were not desperate for fulfillment? Their answer will never come from a doctor’s scalpel.
“For us, the key is perspective. Separate your heart from them and you will see a riotous mob and a sick populace. But get closer and you will see heart-afflictions common to all mankind: confusion, doubt, fear, lies. . .and a lack of love. People take to extremes when they are desperate. When the enemy exploits the wounds of a sin-fed heart, chaos reigns. But their needs are also exposed—and their hearts are as open to the word of God as they are to the enemy.
“Flood a valley and there is destruction, but it leaves behind fertile soil. Likewise, explode the searing consciousness of an oppressed people and there is fertile ground for planting. The question is: Plant what? The enemy wants to sow discord through deception. Jesus wants to sow the gospel of peace.
“My friends, it is time to sow into fertile heart. . .one heart at a time.
“In John 4, Jesus’ disciples were shocked to find Him speaking intimately to a Samaritan woman. In fact, He had just revealed Himself to her as the Messiah. The disciples were shocked that He spoke to A) a woman, B) a Samaritan, and C) a loose or immoral woman—three labels that kept them apart from her and her kind. At least they had the good sense not to challenge Jesus. (Though I suspect John had his hand firmly clamped over Peter’s mouth.)
“Jesus, sensing their disquiet, however, spoke to their disfunction. ‘Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!’
“My friends, the fields today are white for harvest but they are not white with purity. They are a mess. As such, they are ready for Jesus’ ministry to be carried forth by His sons and daughters.
“Yes, we are called to the pulpits, the stages, the media, but we are also called to the wells—the places of watering where thirsty souls seek sustenance. What will we give them? Will we throw the gospel message over a wall? Inscribe it on a brick and toss it through a window? Or will we seek out the neediest, open our hearts, and deposit the love of God into those who desperately need it.
“The announcement of the resurrection of Jesus—the powerful force to transform all of mankind—began with a single person.
“Quoting again from my book Relational Authority: ‘When Jesus arose from the grave, He first met a woman who had been close to Him—not one of the crowds or the group of 70 or even the 12 disciples. Instead, He greeted Mary and passed on to her words of relational covenant bought with His blood and sealed with His spirit: “‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God (John 20:17 NAS).’” There could be no closer bond, no greater relationship, no deeper covenant, or more profound peace. All had been fulfilled. . .at great price.
“Just as Jesus started with one, let us go and do likewise.”
Pray with me:
Father, we repent of judging the masses, and we confess to retreating to the company of those who are like us. We acknowledge Your desire to reach those in greatest need, and we ask that you show us their hearts—their true hearts—even as they oppose us.
Lord, we declare that hearts will be open and that the schemes of the enemy will not divide us from those who need You the most. We call forth light into the darkness. We call forth laborers who will not shrink from the onslaught of deceived people.
Lord, we declare the gospel shall go into all the world, on earth as it is in heaven. We will be those who will carry Your love and Your truth.
In Jesus’ name! Amen.
We decree that the power of love will heal our land and produce a GREAT HARVEST!
Clay Nash contributed to today’s post. You can find out more about Clay and how to purchase his book Relational Authority – Authentic Leadership here.