The Freedom and Authority of Loving First(2.26.12)
1John4,19: "We love him because he loved us first."
Matthew 19,19: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Every relationship God has he makes the first move, a move of love.
It's not "I'll love you if you do this, or if you have that." He so loved us first, and past Calvary, no ifs at all.
When we love first, it's a sign our hearts are still alive. If we love second, the love is still a blessing, but it has a pulling teeth quality to it, at least a condition or two, and is not nearly as Godly as the overflow of loving first. You could say it's easier to resist the pull of love, than resist the outpouring of it, because Godly love makes itself known now, and first.
Loving first is also patient and kind and looks outward beyond the operative principle of me.
If we Christians have God's Spirit living in us, then we have the ability to love first, and open our church doors, and not miss the people sent to us. In other words, there's some Godly freedom in our love, a freedom to say Hallelluia more, and bark less.
We all like freedom, so why not the freedom of loving first?
Likewise and just as importantly, there's also fearlessness and authority that comes upon people who love first.
This second point about loving first seems obvious to me now, but the fact is it took me thirteen years of wrangling with and teaching (not very well I might add) the following excerpt from Frank Frangipane.
He builds the point using 1John 4,18 (love casts out all fear) and Matthew 7,29 (Jesus teaches not as a legalistic scribe but as one who has authority):
"As wide as our sphere of love is, to that extent we have spiritual authority. We see this in the mother who loves her child. Such a woman has authority to protect, train and nurture her offspring. She has authority to protect what she loves. The same is true of the husband over his family. His authority is not merely to rule but to establish his home in the life of Christ. True spiritual authority is born of love. ...
The testing ground of all spiritual things is love, for love alone purifies our motives and delivers us from the deceit of self. Even authority in [faith] warfare must be rooted in love. David gained the skills to slay Goliath defending his father's sheep from vicious predators; he did not learn these skills on the battlefield. He loved the sheep so much that he would even risk his life for them. So also we grow in authority as we protect our Father's sheep, the flock he has given us to love. ...
Authority is the muscle in the arm of love. The more one loves, the more authority is granted to him." ("The Arm of Love" Arrow Publications 1994, p. 12)
That is some fine and holy and rich teaching on loving first.
So check it out dear people made in God's image. Love somebody first, like Jesus did you. Let the fearful control freak in you go on a much needed vacation (you deserve it, really). And then taste the freedom and authority of loving somebody first.
Who knows if enough of us folks down at the First Confederate Church of Tithes and Offerings loved other folks first, the doors might really be open, not just propped on Sunday, to new folks and new friends and the Holy Ghost, and angels, and folks of that ilk and nature.
(and then, well, if collection goes up, so be it.)
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...