The revelation of truth can only come through love.
—Brian Simmons, I Hear His Whisper
I really thought I had written my last post on this series. Then, suddenly, the Holy Spirit whispered something again, that He first whispered to me many years ago,
“When you lose your love—you lose your way.”
Just as suddenly, words started flooding into my heart, and I knew, “Put down your Kindle, set aside your book shopping, and write.
That’s often the way His inspiration comes with these posts for my blogs.
They lapel me!
I am really loving these new devotionals by Brian Simmons, and the quote from above just jumped off the screen this morning.
I was reading the devotion this quote comes from and the Holy Spirit brought back Ecclesiastes 4: 12 to my mind,
An enemy might defeat one person,
but two people together can defend themselves;
a rope that is woven of three strings is hard to break. (NCV)
And then, I thought of The Church; the three fallen pastors with their respective church fallout; and that holocaust of a church-split I had walked through.
I thought of the ruins, the wreckage, and I remembered.
Losing our way…
Definitely these churches with their fallen pastors lost their way.
They lost their love first.
And when I pondered this verse in Ecclesiastes I saw the cord of three strings this way:
- Yes, we must preach the Truth, but we must also live the Truth.
- Yes, we must walk in Love, but we do that by obeying the command to love.
- And, the essential Third Strand is obviously staying loyal to our First Love, Jesus.
If The Church, any church, becomes this cord of Three? From the leadership on down to the smallest child—this cord will indeed be, “… hard to break.”
Love is a “Life or Death” revelation
By that I mean, I have seen churches that are healthy and thriving, and I have seen churches that slowly die. And it all began right here—with LOVE.
- Gossip and slander cannot survive in a church that loves.
- Greed and selfishness cannot peacefully co-exist with people who love by thinking of others first.
- Anger, offense, and bullying cannot partner with love.
- Corruption, compromise, and complaining will be driven out by love.
This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but it is meant to make a point. Every one of the above problems is a surefire way to kill a church, and love is the answer to each.
God IS love.
Lose your love, and you absolutely will, lose your way.
A cautionary tale of three pastors
I realize here that I am swimming in shark infested waters. For that reason, (and for love itself) though I have talked about these dysfunctional experiences briefly in a few posts, I have never named names, and will not. I have never given specifics about who these three churches are, and I will not.
(My hope is that all three pastors, and these churches, are in some level of recovery.)
Actually, I was quite angry with God after experiencing three fallen churches in a row.
I know for a fact, God led me, to each one of these churches. But honestly, I was full of confusion and resentment over being led into situations that turned out so wretchedly. And, I remember exactly, when and how I pushed God away, when He tried to speak to me in the aftermath.
My illusions about The Church were destroyed.
(I didn’t want to know what I knew.)
I remember asking God, “Why did I need to walk through this?”
Really angry with God
Now I know, some of you who are way more spiritual than me, think you could never do such a thing like getting angry with the LORD. And I confess, this is not easy to write. But I also know that many prodigals walk away from The Church, wounded, offended, angry and broken, with the intention that they, “Will never return!” and I contemplated that.
I looked into, (what looked to me like an abyss of darkness) and I pondered it—spending the rest of my life—angry, distant, and unchurched.
But, the love of God simply wouldn’t allow it.
He reminded me of the one and only time He allowed me to “speak” during the church split. It was a Bible verse. Everyone in that church was commanded from the pulpit to fill out a “comment” card to the pastor. It was meant as a trap, of course. I knew that. And, though God had previously commanded me to be silent, the Holy Spirit whispered that morning, “Write this…”
Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish his love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations, dangers, and death threats? No, for they are all impotent to hinder omnipotent love… Romans 8: 35 TPT
All our failings are impotent to love!
So, I say it again.
When The Church loses its love?
It loses its way.
In each case of corruption, in each case of compromise, you can track it back to the corrupting of one, or all, of that three stranded cord.
Whether it is a person’s personal relationship with Jesus, a marriage or a family, a friendship or a church?
The life or death of a church begins, and ends, here.
This is where the enemy starts. This is where the finish comes.
When we lose our love—we lose our way.
The Triumph of God’s Love
So, what does all this mean? If God has determined to stand with us, tell me, who then could ever stand against us? For God has proved his love by giving us his greatest treasure, the gift of his Son. And since God freely offered him up as the sacrifice for us all, he certainly won’t withhold from us anything else he has to give.
Who then would dare to accuse those whom God has chosen in love to be his? God himself is the judge who has issued his final verdict over them—“Not guilty!”
Who then is left to condemn us? Certainly not Jesus, the Anointed One! For he gave his life for us, and even more than that, he has conquered death and is now risen, exalted, and enthroned by God at his right hand. So how could he possibly condemn us since he is continually praying for our triumph?
Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish his love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations, dangers, and death threats?
Romans 8: 31-35 The Passion Translation