What we need today is a revival of love. The Holy Spirit partners with those whose gaze is fixed on Him in truth and love.
One of the passages I've feasted on recently is from 1 Peter 3:8-10: "Finally, be all of one mind, be loving toward one another, be gracious, and be kind. Do not repay evil for evil, or curse for curse, but on the contrary, bless, knowing that to this you are called, so that you may receive a blessing. For 'He who would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.'"
What struck me in this passage is the power that is available to us through the Holy Spirit to live a life of love. You can prophesy with incredible accuracy, but if you don't have love, it's nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-2). You can manifest the miraculous power of God in all kinds of signs and wonders, but if you don't know who you are and don't display good, godly character when you move in power, you become dangerous. The Holy Spirit doesn't just want to manifest power. He wants to manifest Jesus, and Jesus is love. When Jesus is lifted up and magnified in our lives, people will be drawn to Him. We get to demonstrate to the world around us what He looks like, and by His power we manifest His love.
I love the fact that this passage from 1 Peter tells us to pay people back with a blessing rather than an insult. We have subtle ways of getting around this; I've done it myself. When someone does something mean, we want to be Christian enough not to repay it outwardly, but we inwardly put up a wall to distance ourselves. But when we start engaging with the pattern of the world and step out of love, we grieve the Holy Spirit, and He jealously yearns to help us recognize what is happening. Those subtle barbs at the people who have hurt us don't fit in with who we are anymore. We are brand-new creations with the capacity to love even our enemies. In our new nature we can do good to those who are nasty to us. We get to bless people because of the revelation of God's love continually being revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
I used to think that was so unfair. If I bless people who hurt me, how will they know to stop? If I pray for them, shouldn't I pray that God would convict them of their sin so they can see how wrong they are? My whole approach, even if it was just inside my own heart, revolved around the offense. Sure, I would pray for them—for God to bless them with conviction and repentance. But I found it really difficult to want to see them blessed because they might misinterpret the blessings that came their way as signs that God was OK with their bad behavior. But I discovered that I can trust the Holy Spirit to handle those things. He's actually on my side. Instead of praying, "Lord, bless those people that are being so nasty," I dropped the "nasty" and just prayed for God to love them, give them favor and bless their marriages, families and finances. I can trust Him to give them exactly what they need at exactly the right time.
That does something powerful. It releases you. When you retaliate, no matter how subtly, you are stepping out of the Holy Spirit's ways. Every time you see the person, the pain resurfaces. But when you begin to move in the opposite spirit from what feels natural, the enemy can't drag you down. You no longer have any need to try to judge what they've done. You are free to love, forgive and bless. God is able to sort things out in their lives on His own.
This attitude frees you up to love people, which is the true heart behind revival. God's great move will be an outpouring of love because that's who He is. God is pouring out His Spirit on all flesh and will use anyone who will yield to His leading. He's going to reveal His glory and His heart through those who can humble themselves in love. Will you be one of those God uses?
Adapted from "Life With the Holy Spirit" by Katherine Ruonala, copyright 2017, published by Charisma House, Charisma Media/Charisma House Book Group. This book will help you develop greater fellowship with God, experience His power and partner with Him in ministering to others. To order your copy, click on this link.
Prayer Power for the Week of June 11, 2017
This week ask the Lord to show you where you may need to change your attitude toward someone who has hurt you, and to also help you stop the superficial "going through the motions" type of prayer for blessing. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the right heart attitude so that you can genuinely forgive and bless. On that note, continue to pray for those affected by recent terrorist attacks. Pray for the wounded, the families who lost loved ones, and those working to bring healing, harmony, peace and direction. Move with compassion as you share the gospel with others, and show them God's comfort and unconditional love. Continue to pray for our president and those working with him to secure and lead our nation. Remember the persecuted church when you pray for Israel and our allies. When you pray for worldwide revival, pray for more laborers for the harvest (1 Peter 3:8-16; 1 Cor 13).
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