Love is Your Best Weapon

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 GWT

Happy Wednesday!! I have a lot to be grateful for: God has moved in my life in a major way. Because of my detox I have actually been receptive to God so that I can just watch and participate. He has also been moving in the lives of my friends and family. Oh wait yes…the first semester of law school is over!!!!!!!!! Hallelujah!!! Glory, glory!

Anyway, I’ve written a lot of posts lately via Facebook and Twitter on the importance of guarding your mind and the war we face against the enemy. But I realized something today in listening to Joyce Meyer’s message on Spiritual Warfare. Don’t laugh, but I just thought about a Boondocks episode with Stinkmeaner lol and how they overcame his hatred was with a like mind, and in essence, in love (what both Stinkmeaner and Uncle Ruckus loved to hate lol). As a result, they were able to cast him out of Tom. And that is the lesson: you fight the enemy through unconditional love, love that loves them when they don’t love themselves, pure and uncontaminated love, Agape love, the God-kind of love. How you do this is you make it up in your mind that you will smile and be kind to the grouch, you will open doors for the bigots, you will pay for the meal of an elderly or homeless person, you will give to the person that asks…yes all this and more!

As she was preaching, it made me think of some things. One thing in particular…I loved a man…(I think that is in a song…yep Lauren Hill lol!) This love I had for him was different from any I had ever experienced in my life. Before this, with my ex-boyfriend, I had purposed in my heart to love people the way that God does. Loving my ex-boyfriend was extremely difficult. It is hard loving a broken person, someone who had been abused and in turn dished out that same abuse. (Hmmm, I know that is something God could say about me…and you too!) But with this other man, the love came naturally and was easy at first because it was fun and there was a transparency I never had. I loved him like I loved my brothers, not romantically, although I felt I grew to love him that way. I felt like it was okay to be Marquita–almost, but I was afraid to really love him. Then things started to go sour, and strangely enough, I loved him more. I wanted to pour out all the love that God had placed in my heart on him, to help heal him from the pain he had, because whether he admitted it or not, there was pain. I could see it…because having been in that same kind of pain, I knew what it looked like. At some point over the last year or longer I finally gave up–and did exactly the opposite of what was above. I realized my ‘keeping hope alive’, lol, was from a selfish place. I was truthfully not walking in love towards him by getting caught up in my feelings. Finally, I realized one day, I was only thinking about myself. So I had to let God lead me as I tried to stop loving someone who did not love me back and still walk in love towards him in spite. How did I do that, you ask? Well, I knew that we are instructed to love–so I had to keep interceding, praying and trusting God with that person. It meant putting everything into the perspective of his soul being saved instead of being caught up in my feelings, especially when it meant our relationship was over for good.

You see it is those very things…feelings…that keep us bound in the hurt that a person inflicted on us, and sometimes they do not even know what they did (blinders to our shortcomings sometimes prevent us from seeing who we hurt while we are hurting). Can’t you see that this battle is in our minds?! Our emotions, thoughts and feelings all tell us to protect ourselves and retreat in defeat instead of warring in the Spirit through the love of God! Not only do we fight war in the traditional sense of binding and loosing the enemy, but we war by giving that person the same love that God gives us. You must make a conscious decision in your mind to seek God for the strength to love everybody His way. Love even the person that broke your heart, your mom who lied or put you in the middle, your family that did nothing but tear you down, your ex-boyfriend who physically put their hands on you…or that best friend that abandoned you. We must love these people in spite because God loves us that very same way.

I love 1 Corinthians 13 because it speaks to my heart. Before my dad passed, I had already purposed in my heart to speak and share how God taught me what His love was in the four months that it took for the cancer to steal my dad from us. I saw friendship, forgiveness, and love between my parents like never before. My prayer was that God healed him, so that I could keep seeing that smile and light emanate from my mom. I searched in an unfulfilling, mentally and emotionally taxing relationship to create the love He put right in my parent’s home! At the prayer vigil, I read and I guess I preached, from this chapter. The passage above shows us the very actions that the Agape, God-kind of love does and what it is, and this is our guideline. You war in love: you are patient, allowing the process and let God’s work take place. You are kind because you remember God is kind to us especially because we don’t deserve it. You get rid of that jealous spirit; don’t get mad because you have to share your friends, your spouse, family or children with others. But wait, let me be real here, don’t envy someone else’s relationships because your relationships are not what you envisioned. When you love others you don’t always point out the things you’ve done and conversely you don’t remember every wrong they have done to you. I can and would go on, but you see what I mean. We war over those we love and God has assigned to us by these scriptures. You fight these battles with agape love: keep praying, keep hoping, keep interceding even when it hurts. The enemy hates nothing more than when you spread your love on those who have hurt you. He would hate nothing more than your being loving to all you encounter. Perfect love casts out fear; perfect love dispels hate. That’s how you fight the enemy! You can bind the spirits but then you have to work on the mind by loving them in spite. Get over yourself and let God’s love transform you!

Love sincerely. Hate evil. Hold on to what is good. Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other. Don’t be lazy in showing your devotion. Use your energy to serve the Lord. Be happy in your confidence, be patient in trouble, and pray continually. Share what you have with God’s people who are in need. Be hospitable. Romans 12:9-13 GWT

Growing Through Your Going-Through Season

Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.

Genesis 45:4-8 NLT

How many of you feel like you are going through a tough time, maybe even the most difficult period in your life? Do you perhaps have a dream, and once you shared that dream publicly, it was discounted and questioned–let me be blunt, attacked by the enemy? Joseph went through a tough decade or so, all so he could give birth the dream that God gave him. Joseph was sold into slavery, thrown into prison, all to be elevated to second in command to Pharaoh alone. But from that nearly 13+ year span from the time he had the dream until it actually manifested, he was going through some things. I can attest to that experience.

Joseph was ‘hated on’ by his brothers for being the favorite son of their father. His dad made him a coat of many colors (Gen 37) to show how much he loved him. Joseph was a dreamer, and had two dreams that he shared with his brothers; these dreams would dictate his destiny and kindle a fire of hatred within his brothers. Their hatred grew so strong that they plotted to kill him. Fortunately one brother came up with an alternate idea to put him in a pit instead so that he could later rescue Joseph; in his absence the other brothers decided to sell him into slavery. Unknown to them, their act of jealousy and hatred towards Joseph propelled him into his appointed place.

In Genesis 39 Joseph is chief servant to Potiphar (elevation in the midst of slavery), and again, the enemy tried to abort his destiny through Potiphar’s wife. She wanted Joseph so bad that she lied when he refused to sleep with her. So this time, Joseph is put into the king’s prison. Important to note is that throughout all of this, God’s favor was on Joseph. He went from imminent death at his brothers’ hands to slavery (although some would argue this is any better). He went from being a slave to being the chief slave/servant in charge of all the affairs in Potiphar’s household. Even in prison, he was the head prisoner, in charge of all the affairs of the prison. It is also notable to recognize that the people Joseph worked for were blessed because of that same favor.

I am sure during that time period, God purified Joseph from any bitterness, anger, hatred, and resentments he may have had towards his brothers. Because Joseph honored the Lord, God promoted him in the midst of his sufferings, right where he was. Joseph chose to grow where he was planted and God blessed everything he set his hands to. And when his opportunity came to go before the king, God gave Joseph the tools he needed to manifest his own childhood dream as he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. When its your time and season, God will give you everything you need–or rather remind you of what He has already put within you. The trials you experience are for your testing; if you have been taught and learned something all semester, the only way for you to prove what you know is through passing the test!

"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." 1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV