When developing your faith in God’s love, you must not only allow it to flow to you but through you to others. As 1 John 4:12 says, “…If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.”
Remember the old saying practice makes perfect? That’s absolutely the truth. The way to perfect God’s love in you is by practicing that love toward other people.
Don’t just practice it on the easy ones either. Don’t just focus on loving the people who are kind and gracious to you. (The Bible says even rank sinners can do that.) Determine to love those who irritate you and act ugly toward you. Purposely love those who have hurt you.
Start by making sure you have forgiven them of any wrong they have done to you. Even if you don’t emotionally feel like forgiving them, do it anyway by faith. Say, “Father, I am forgiving this person out of obedience to your Word. I refuse to hold anything against them. Right now by faith I receive from You the grace to love them.” Then pray for that person. Ask God to help them and bless them.
Don’t sit around waiting for some kind of supernatural warm, fuzzy feeling to make you do it, either. Just pray for them by an act of your will. Ask God to help you see that person the way He sees them.
Faith without action is dead, so take the time in prayer to “see” them the way God does. Start by picturing them in your mind and then visualize Jesus coming right up behind them and taking them in His arms. See them totally engulfed in Him. Then think Yes, Lord, that’s the way You treated me. You loved me and had mercy on me when I didn’t deserve it. Help me do for them what You did for me. Lord, I let Your forgiveness and compassion for them find expression through me.
You may think you can’t do that right now. But I guarantee you if you’ll step out in faith, you’ll tap into the love of God and find out you can. You’ll find that the more you believe the love God has for you and the more you practice it toward others, the more it is perfected in you.
Through listening to Him and communicating with Him, in living communion with Him, grace and peace are multiplied to us.
What is the wisest thing for you to do? Go after more of God. Pray in the Spirit. Pray with your understanding. Spend time with your Father. Read the Word and meditate on it. Think about it. Ask Him to teach you the truth. Ask Him to lead you. If you need to know something, ask Him about it. He is the teacher.
If you were a student in school and did not know what to do, you would ask your teacher. In the same way, the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds directly from God, is living in you, and He is your own private tutor—your teacher. I know it is a difficult thing to fathom. You have to receive grace to believe it. You have to allow the Spirit of God to reveal it to you. Why would you walk in the dark or live in confusion when the Spirit of God is in you? There is only one reason—failure to listen to Him and do what He says.
The Spirit of God ministers grace to us on a day-to-day basis. That makes us want to be obedient so He can manifest His blessings in our lives. The obedient are blessed of God. It always has been that way. The Apostle James wrote:
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:4-7).
Very often, people quote this scripture only partially. They say, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” First it says, “Submit yourselves to God.” Then it says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Satan flees from the obedient.
Jesus was anointed with the same Holy Spirit Who anoints the Church, the same One Who lives in us. God expects us to obey His Spirit, then He will do the work. Everything we are told to do, we can do. We have the easy part. If we give Him place, He will do the rest.
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).
The knowledge of God will bring us everything that His divine power has already provided for us. “All things that pertain unto life and godliness” are wrapped up in the Holy Spirit (see 2 Peter 1:3). As we listen to Him, hear His voice and obey, the things pertaining to life and godliness become ours in the earth.
Look at 2 Peter 1:2: “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.” How are grace and peace multiplied? Through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. We receive that knowledge from the Holy Spirit as we listen and obey Him in the written Word and obey His prompting inside us. Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee....” As we keep our minds on God, we will think about the right things, such as the Father, Jesus, the Word of God, faith, obedience, the glory of God.
We learn about God by reading and studying the written Word. We are enlightened and illuminated by the Spirit of Truth. He leads and guides us. Not only does He teach us the Word, He also reveals God’s will for our personal lives. He gives us the full knowledge of God because He is God’s Spirit sent to live in us and teach us the things of God.
As we obey the Holy Spirit, those gifts of grace will become profuse in our midst. Miracles will come to pass constantly because grace operates unhindered as we obey Him. As the Holy Spirit ministers grace, people are miraculously healed and delivered.
There are different areas of healing. Not all healing results from a gift of the Spirit. As believers, we have authority over sickness and disease. We also receive from God just because we believe and act on God’s Word.
But through the gifts of healings, God personally takes care of a matter. He comes on the scene and gets the job done. He says, “Let Me take over on this one.” This is the way He wants to operate in our midst. He wants us to become so obedient to Him, that He can do as He desires in the whole earth through us—and not just to the Church, but through the Church to those who sit in darkness.
See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.... Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:25, 28-29).
It is only through the favor of God given to us by the Holy Spirit that we are able to come to a place of obedience with Him.
You may think, I would love to live for God. I would love to live in obedience to Him. But I know I could never do it.
You are right. You could never do it—by yourself. But you won’t have to do it alone. You have the Spirit of God to help you. Remember, He is the Great Enabler. Just take the instructions of the Lord one step at a time. Prepare your heart. Feed on the Word. Pray in the Spirit. Do as you are told, and He will work in your behalf.
Jesus said He could of Himself do nothing (John 5:19). But with the Holy Ghost’s power in Him and on Him, He could do anything! He was not alone. “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts 10:38).
Strife will cause the grace of God to fail in our lives. Strife, unforgiveness, being critical—these things restrain the Holy Spirit from moving on our behalf. He will be hindered in blessing
and favoring us, because the Spirit of God ministers grace through our obedience.
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). We are to love as Jesus loved. If we don’t walk in love, we won’t be able to walk in the manifested grace of God on a day-to-day basis. If we fail to keep this commandment, the work of God’s Spirit is greatly hindered in our lives.
If you have been praying for some specific needs, but have not been getting results, check your love life. Are you loving the people with whom you come into contact? If not, the power of God is restrained in your life because you are walking in disobedience. Until the love of God begins to operate in your life, the Holy Spirit will be unable to minister unhindered to you to accomplish in your life the good that God desires.
The Bible says when man subverts his ways, his heart frets against the Lord (Proverbs 19:3, The Amplified Bible). Many times we go about living the way we want and simply expect God to fill in the gaps when we get into trouble.
When trouble comes, we say, “God, why did You let this happen to me?”
God did not let it happen to you. You let it happen to you by being disobedient.
You might say, “Well, I didn’t know any better.” Then you need to become more knowledgeable. You cannot stay in ignorance and stay in blessing at the same time. Satan will cram defeat down your throat as long as you will stand there and take it.
The word grace means “free, undeserved favor.” The Greek word for grace is charis. When Christians believe in the gifts of the Spirit, they are called charismatics. What are the gifts of the Spirit? They are simply gifts of God’s grace shed abroad in our midst. We don’t deserve them. We can’t earn them. They come at God’s will. They are a manifestation of His grace. Many times a person who receives a gift will not even be standing in faith. (In this situation, someone’s faith is active, but not necessarily the one who receives.) God just comes down by His grace and distributes the gifts of the Spirit as He wills. Why? Because God is good. The gifts of the Spirit are gifts of grace. God lavishes them upon us because of His goodness and His mercy.