For every child of God defeats this evil world by trusting Christ to give the victory
(1 John 5:4
Our Lord tells us that love is the greatest commandment
. Yet long ago I discovered that I could not love people in my own strength.
Like everything else needed to live the Christian life, God had to do it through me. "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:18
, KJV). We must depend upon the indwelling Holy Spirit to keep God's commandments.
I learned to love people "by faith." With God's help, I make a decision to love them, disregarding any of my emotions and feelings. When I do that, God takes over, and loves people through me. I am only a vessel.
When I began to practice loving by faith, I found that conflicts with other individuals seemed to disappear, often miraculously.
In one instance, I was having a problem loving a fellow staff member. I wanted to love him; yet, because of certain inconsistencies and personality differences, it was difficult. One day the Lord reminded me of His command in 1 Peter 5:7
to cast this care on Him and love this man by faith. When I did this, my concern lifted. I knew the problem was in God's hands.
An hour later, I found under my door a conciliatory letter from that very man. He had no possible way of knowing what I had just experienced. In fact, his letter had been written the day before. The Lord had foreseen the change in me.
We met that afternoon and had the most wonderful time of prayer and fellowship we had ever experienced together. Loving with God's love by faith had changed our relationship.
Sometime ago I spoke to a group of pastors on the importance of love -- God's supernatural love. One of the pastors came up to me after the meeting and said, "Six months ago, there was a man in my church who opposed everything I wanted to do. Frankly, I couldn't stand the man, and he couldn't stand me. We were at an impasse, and the church was being split because of it. I heard you speak on 'loving by faith,' and I determined that I would love him. I began to claim God's love for him by faith. Six months have passed, and that man is now my very best friend."
Friends, it works. Try it on someone you have difficulty loving.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.