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

Basic Training

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 NLT

I am familiar enough with the military to know that basic training is difficult. In basic training, you learn the basic skills necessary to be successful to enter military service–in a vacuum, I might add. The key things you learn during the process are discipline, endurance, and faith. But the process prepares you for battle, and for more learning.

This is a time of warfare friends. The Gospel being preached now doesn’t prepare us for the attacks of the enemy and his forces. Let’s be clear, we do have an enemy. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."(NASB) This tells us that he is here, in our lives, operating through the people we work with, hang out, sometimes live with, and even fellowship with. We have to seek God with such fervor so that we can be trained properly on how to deal with him. This training enables us to pass the tests and be promoted in rank, which of course, has more training and more tests.

So then, what is basic training for a Christian? First, you must accept Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. (see John 14:6,7,13) Jesus is the way to the Father, and if you ask anything in His name, He will do it, so that the Father is glorified. Next, feed on pure spiritual milk. (1 Peter 2:2) But allow God to grow you. Next, study the Word, call on God, and seek divine wisdom! (see Jer 33:3, James 1:5) As babies grow and mature to understanding, so must you. Study, says Paul to Timothy, to show yourself approved, rightfully dividing the Word of truth. (paraphrasing 2 Timothy 2:15) After you have studied, you must become trained in what weapons are available for your use–see Ephesians 6:10-18. You can know the Word but not putting it to proper use won’t do you any good! You have to know to protect yourself and others with the Word. You have to know that calling on God in prayer and seeking wisdom for how to deal with the situations that will come is the strategy, something that you learn from studying and becoming well versed in the use of the weapons. These situations come to test you and sometimes to break you.

After basic training, the enemy is sure to come; he knows that God has a purpose for you and so he will come at you more intensely. So using that wisdom and discerning the attacks of the enemy–whether it be through things that happened in the past or unforeseen circumstances that will arise–you can rest in God knowing that He will give you the tools necessary to succeed and He is sure to guide you into deliverance. Like the enlisted soldier, once you pass basic training, you are ready for deployment to gain the specialized skills necessary for walking in your purpose. Don’t make the key mistake of failing to train; because when the heat turns up, you will be put to the test!

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. 1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory; 1 Peter 1:6-8