By Tom Shanklin
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12, KJV.
The thing that God is looking for in your life more than anything else is love.
Love is the great healing balm which is desperately needed in this world. If we are ever going to fulfill the will of God in our generation, we are going to have to learn to walk in love. The Gospel plan is a love plan. In order to touch our families, our communities and nations for Jesus, we are going to have to flow in the love of God. Fighting political battles, rallying for our causes, and standing up for our rights will not change the world … but when we can walk in the love of Jesus towards them who hate us and abuse us, it will turn heads and change hearts.
In these challenging times, be careful that you don’t lose your love for people. That is Satan’s plan for your life. If he can get you off of God’s love, he can easily defeat you. As the Scripture says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” Hebrews 12:14, 15, KJV.
Many Christians are falling for Satan’s trap. When you stop loving, you lose your joy. When you lose your joy, you lose your strength. When you lose your strength, you are an easy prey for the devil.
I believe that Christians need to be involved in the political system. We need to pray and vote and speak up about the issues. But our main purpose on this earth is not political; it is spiritual. When Satan uses politics to “stir up strife,” he is getting us off our game. He is causing us to not only be distracted but also to become ineffective.
We need to pray for our politicians that they will curb their tongues and be good leaders. James says, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” A lot of what we hear today is lighting a fire from the pit of hell, and all of us may be very unhappy with the result if it does not stop soon.
Instead of repeating or reacting to what the politicians and political commentators are saying, we should be speaking the Word of God. The Scripture says, “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.” Proverbs 12:18, KJV. As Christians, we are called to be followers of good, not evil. We are called to heal, not tear apart with our words. We are to be salt and light and lead our nation into righteousness. It’s time to pray and seek the Lord rather than following the reviling speech of carnal people. It’s time to purge the iniquity from our own lives and pray that God in His mercy would heal our land.
Satan would like to make us think that it all right for us to be filled with “righteous” indignation and our mouths filled with poisonous, hateful words. Folks, these are not biblical attitudes and speech. Just because you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, politics, or religion, you do not need to denigrate them as a person. They are valuable, and Jesus gave His life so they could be forgiven and know the living God. You need to demonstrate your love to those who are out of the way.
The Scripture says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:17-18, KJV. Let us be wise and sow the seeds of righteousness which will make peace in this troubled world.
Here are three keys for keeping yourself in the love of God:
1. Remember God’s love for you. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” 1 John 4:11, KJV. We need to feed on the love of God and absorb it into our being. God loves you! When you are confident in His love, you will have peace. You will be free from fear. You will be able to flow in God’s pure love for others. So remember to pull aside and listen to your heavenly Father. Let Him embrace you in His love and presence. Trust Him with the situations in your life and in your nation.
2. Guard your heart. In Proverbs, we are told, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23, KJV. Today there is a lot of confusion coming at us through society, the media, and political leaders. If you allow it to infect your heart, you will become polluted with the same spirit of hatred and anger that is upon these people.
Do not absorb the venom of radio talk show hosts, television commentators, and politicians, whose attitudes and speech are ungodly. Be careful what you listen to, and how you react to what you hear. Instead of repeating or reacting to words of hatred and strife, let your mouth be filled with God’s Word, and His love and forgiveness.
3. Pray for those who curse you. Jesus said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Matthew 5:44, KJV. When someone is cursing you and hurting you (whether it is a co-worker, your boss, a spouse, a fellow Christian, or someone in Washington, DC), Jesus said to pray for them.
Early in my Christian experience, I took a great offense at something that was said to me by some Christian brothers. I knew the animosity in my heart was not right, but I could not get rid of it. Then a minister of the Gospel gave me this verse, and I began to apply it. Soon the anger and hurt in my heart began to subside. The reason is that it is hard to pray for someone and be against them at the same time. Sincere prayer for others will cleanse your heart and love will once again flow.
We need to resist the temptation to fight fire with fire. Remember what Jesus said when the disciples wanted to call down fire on the people who were rejecting Him.“Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” Luke 9:55, 56, KJV.
How can we bring healing to this troubled world? By manifesting the Spirit of Christ, who said on the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Forgiveness is the essence of the Gospel. When we receive forgiveness and release it to others, the door of reconciliation is opened. Then we are part of God’s plan to bring healing to our families, our communities, and the nations of the world.