Love is a powerful weapon of spiritual warfare against Satan, that a believer in Jesus Christ possesses. Satan has no defense or offense against the love of God in our lives. The gifts of the Holy Spirit cannot operate in our lives if we are not walking in love. Jesus commanded us to love our enemies; even those who persecute and spitefully use us (Matthew 5:43-48). When we walk in love, it becomes easier to walk in forgiveness also.
God, Himself will be unjust to ask us to do anything that He knows we cannot do. Loving and living in constant forgiveness are never optional for a Christian to practice. They are the crust of the Christ centered lifestyle. We are able to forgive because of the love of God that we received by the Holy Spirit when we got saved (John 3:16). We cannot choose who to love, or who to forgive. Our God is not a respecter of persons. He is bigger and stronger than anyone, and He is love.
LOVE AND FORGIVENESS WORKS THROUGH THE HEART
The bible says:
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our heart’s by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Romans 5:5 NKJV
Hope is what helps us in releasing forgiveness from the heart, the very moment that we make a decision to walk in love. The moment we got born-again we received the love of God, and with it comes the ability to forgive inside of us; in the very manner as we had been forgiven in Christ Jesus.
Paul told the Corinthians:
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.”
1 Corinthians 14:1 NIV
None of the gifts of the Holy Spirit can effectively work in our lives, if we are not aiming for love as our highest Christian pursuit in life. The gifts of the Holy Spirit only manifests and works, where love is present among believers.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:35 NIV
Paul also told the Corinthians:
“But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.”
1 Corinthians 8:3 TLV
Our ability as believers in Christ to walk in love towards one another, creates an atmosphere for God (who is Love) to manifest Himself among us by His Spirit. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are manifested when we walk in love towards one another.
When we become ignorant about how powerful our ability to walk in love is, then we will be denying ourselves of the blessing of the Lord. We need not be ignorant of the power of God’s love, working through our hearts as we pray and intercede for people. Love is the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit.
There are many Christians who do not really understand, how beneficial is the love of God working as a gift of the Holy Spirit through their lives. It is practically impossible to live in forgiveness, without the love of God prompting us to forgive. Believers who struggle to love are therefore struggling with forgiveness, due to their own ignorance about how much God loves them. Their ignorance makes it hard for them, to walk in their full potential in Christ Jesus.
Love is the synergetic gift of the Holy Spirit, around which every other gifts and works of the Holy Spirit revolves. Without the love of God that is shed in our heart by the Holy Spirit, we would have been no different from the unsaved people of the world.
We must however recognize that God’s love is in our heart and not just in our thoughts. We received the love of God into our hearts, when we received Jesus as Lord and Savior. We are able to love the most unlovable person on earth, because we had been transformed by the love of God. Love and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our heart always works together through us, in manifesting the presence God as we pray. God is love and He manifests Himself to us in love.
The love of God is spontaneous in its works through us when we pray. Love works naturally through the heart of a believer; and it is not something that we need to struggle with at all. It is not normal for a Christian to struggle in order to love people. Struggling to walk in love and forgiveness, is a sign of demonic influences in any human life. Oftentimes when those influences are removed, a person finds it easy to love and forgive.
LOVE AND FORGIVE IN PERSECUTION
We can never love those who hate us or persecute us, if we are taking our instinct or perception to love from the head, rather than from the heart. Love comes from the heart and not from the head. That’s why many are not being effective in prayer, because their head is teaching them to love based on their feelings. God’s love in us does not work in that way. God’s love in us works from the heart.
It is actually unchristian to be praying in accordance with the feelings of the flesh. We will be unfruitful if we are praying to fulfill the lust of the flesh. People who do pray based on their emotions and feelings, can not walk by faith and in love.
There are people who are tuned in to walking in the flesh, whenever they are faced with opposition or persecution; instead of allowing God’s love to cover them in their differences with the persecutors (1 Peter 4:8). Love always covers sins. These ones will even go to the extent of quoting from the psalms of David (in their flesh); to build up their petition before God as they pray. God never hears prayer or petition in the flesh. This act is not only evil, but it is a form of witchcraft. God is Spirit and we can only contact Him through prayer in the spirit.
Stephen triumphed over evil in the hands of his persecutors by praying for their forgiveness. He said while on his knees:
“..Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Acts 7:60 NIV
His heart was full of the love of God towards his persecutors. He was able to forgive them in this way. The result was, as the scriptures says:
“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.””
Acts 7:55-56 NIV
God’s glory was manifested as he loved while forgiving them.
A Christian always loves, and will never pray against the will or desire of another Christian; even while facing persecution in their hands. The devil is the one who will make a believer, to be praying against the will of a fellow believer.
We may not agree on many things, but we sure can love and forgive one another as Christ loves us. It is better not to pray or stand in agreement with someone, who we do know is not praying in accordance with the will of God. Self seeking believers can never walk in love or in forgiveness.
FAITH AND LOVE IN FORGIVENESS
There are also those who will do a lot of confessions, without faith that comes from their hearts. They will quote the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and even speak in tongues; but yet still fail to walk in love, because their confessions are just in the form of mental assent.
Others will often emphasize the doctrine of holiness, but will yet find it hard to walk in love and in forgiveness. Holiness is the standard of God in the life of a believer, but no one can truly be holy without faith which works by love (Galatians 5:6). Our God is Holy, and without holiness no one can see God (Hebrew 12:14). If we are not walking in love and forgiveness, everything we do in His kingdom will all be in vain. There are many whose ministries has been stalled, because of the fruits of love and forgiveness in their lives.
The reason we are blessed is due to the workings of the love of God in us. Any believer that lives in the love of God and in His forgiveness, carries the blessing anointing in him or her (Deuteronomy 23:5). But just because one carries the blessing anointing, does not necessarily make the blessing to flow in the life of that person.
The blessing has to be released in spoken words, with the heart of love and in forgiveness. As we continue to walk in love and forgiveness, our faith will bring the blessing into manifestation.
We must become doers of the written word of God (the Bible), and not just readers of it only. If we want the other gifts of the Holy Spirit to work in our lives as we pray; we must begin to do what the word says: that is to love and forgive always.
There’re lots of people who will often talk about love, but their understanding of it is actually based on their unsaved worldview of it. They may be seeking to love in the way that the Bible teaches, but when it comes to practicing forgiveness, they do often fail.
RELEASE LOVE INTO YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
The bottom line is that we cannot separate walking in love from forgiveness. The two works and flows together in a healthy relationship (for examples): within the family units, body of Christ and our communities.
Walking in love will help husbands and wives to forgive one another. They both are never perfect, but they both will be able to recognize their imperfections, in order to be able to rely on Christ’s perfection in their marriages, and begin to walk in love and forgiveness towards one another.
Walking in love and forgiveness will cause God to make us live long enough, to fulfill the number of our days on earth and be fruitful (Exodus 23:26). If you want to live long on earth and be in good health – walk in love and forgiveness towards all people.
The scriptures teaches us that:
“Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 AMPC
We are able to love because God’s love is in us. But that love of God must always be developed, just as the other gifts of the Holy Spirit are developed in us.
The way and manner through which we develop the culture of cultivating the love of God in our lives, is by abiding in the word of God always. We can only abide in the word of God, so as to do what it says, as we give ourselves wholly to practically exercising the love of God. We must practice what the word says. If we love God we will do whatever He tells us to do in His word.
Often a times the pride of man is the hindrance to his ability to walk in love. Pride is of the Devil and it leads only to self-destruction.
Our ability to forgive empowers us with the ability, to exercise God’s love more through our lives. It helps us to grow up maturely in love.
John, the apostle explains this better:
“We know that we have passed over out of death into Life by the fact that we love the brethren (our fellow Christians). He who does not love abides (remains, is held and kept continually) in [spiritual] death. Anyone who hates (abominates, detests) his brother [in Christ] is [at heart] a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding (persevering) within him.”
1 John 3:14-15 AMPC
We are able to live in love because of our faith in God. Without faith no believer can truly love as Christ did. It is possible to get carried away physically and sensually with many things going on around us daily.
Even though we are spiritual, we must understand that we do live in a real world. In fact, Jesus Himself was both the Son of God and the Son of man. He exhibited both our spiritual consciousness, as well as our humanity while on earth.
The lack of understanding or balancing of this Christ-like lifestyle pattern explains why many are not growing in God’s love. But it is the love of God in us that casts out the fear of not walking in love through our activated faith (1 John 4:17-21). Love always conquers fear, because there is no fear in love.
Forgiveness originates from the center of God’s love in us. When God’s love covers us, we are covered with His forgiveness also. There is no believer without the love of God, but often a times many do allow their sensual love to overrule the love of God in them. This apparently is the reason they find it difficult to forgive one another.
When our heart begins to dominate the head, living in love and forgiveness becomes easier.
PRACTICE TO LIVE IN FORGIVENESS
This attitude of the mind to forgive as we pray, was once addressed by Jesus, when He said:
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings.”
Mark 11:25-26 AMPC
When or while you stand in prayer and intercession, forgive and forget the evil done against you. The enemy uses the absence of forgiveness to keep many from the love of God.
Paul told the Corinthians:
“If you forgive anyone anything, I too forgive that one; and what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sakes in the presence [and with the approval] of Christ (the Messiah), To keep Satan from getting the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions.”
2 Corinthians 2:10-11 AMPC
When we stand in forgiveness during prayer and intercession for the impartation of spiritual gifts, we will receive the power of God to walk in love. The lack of forgiveness is often exploited by Satan against many believers. No one can ever stand before God in prayer with unforgiveness at heart.
A Christian husband and wife were once having a misunderstanding at home. For weeks they refused to talk to one another. One day the wife observed a Christian sticker that she had placed on the kitchen refrigerator.
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
1 John 4:7-8 NLT
She immediately repented and refused to give the enemy a foothold in her home. She pointed out this scripture text to the husband, as she explained to him what the evil one was trying to do against their marriage. The husband got it and repented also. Her relationship with the husband was restored, as they both decided to start walking in love and forgiveness again.
This opened God’s door of blessing and abundance into their home. What they were quarreling about could only be resolved as they decided to walk in love and forgiveness. The devil tried to keep them from doing this, but they were successful in crushing his head. As they walked in love and forgiveness towards one another, the Holy Spirit worked through their lives to resolve every misunderstanding, that they had towards one another.
Try living in love and forgiveness today. If it worked for them, it can also work in your life, in your home, in your Church and in your ministry to the lost world around you.