“Let everything you do be done in love” (1 Cor 16:14)
One of my grandchildren, who is not yet three, has a balance bike. It is a toddler’s bike without pedals, on which she takes her first steps in learning to keep her balance before graduating to a “proper” bicycle. She can’t go far on it, but she is learning the first principles of riding a bike.
For us, the pedals of discipleship are love. The heart of Christ is the love of the Father, who sent Jesus into the world to pay the price for our sin so that we could spend eternity with Him. Sometimes I forget that God didn’t give me eternal life just so that I can have a blissful time in Heaven when my life on this earth is over, but so that I can spend eternity with Him, as He will spend eternity with all of His children. I cannot be a disciple of Jesus unless I carry His love, the love of the Father, in my heart. Unless I do, I have no power to move forward on the path.
I write a lot about the gifts and the power of the Holy Spirit, but we must always see that power as an expression of God’s love. He heals, makes whole, and delivers because He has compassion on our pain, our brokenness and bondage. He speaks prophetically into our lives because He wants us to see that He has a plan and a purpose for our lives, to give us a hope and a future (Jer 29:11). He brings revelation through words of knowledge and words of wisdom because He knows we cannot see the way or the truth for ourselves. He gives us the gift of tongues because He loves to see the edification that comes to His children from that connection between His Spirit within us and our own. He gives us faith for miracles because He loves to see us reaching into His abundance and believing that He is who He says He is, and will do all that He has promised to do. But He makes it clear (1 Cor 13) that all of these gifts are worthless without Love. It’s a love that serves without pride, seeks only to bless and to give, and thinks only of the well-being of others, even those whom we consider our enemies. It’s the love that has died to the flesh. Prophesy, faith, miracles, tongues, all the supernatural manifestations of the life of the Holy Spirit within us, are absolutely worthless unless they are delivered and expressed from its heart.
God has already seated us in heavenly places in Christ, and it is His good pleasure to give us the Kingdom. In Him we have everything we need as we move along His paths to bring His Kingdom to others, but it is only love that matures us, and it is only love that can take us forward. The late Bob Jones, who was a senior prophet with a ministry attested by many miraculous signs, died (for the first time – he died finally in 2014) and went to heaven in 1975. He saw a line of people on what looked like a conveyor belt on their way to eternal darkness, and a very much smaller line, the one that he was part of, walking towards Jesus. The Lord asked each person just one question, and it was the same question every time. It was this: “Did you learn to love?”
Are we learning to love? Without love we have no pedals, and we are no more than toddlers on a balance bike.
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh.”(2 Cor 5: 14-16)
Next: the brakes.