Jimmy Evans - The Power of Love
When you have wrong expectations in a marriage you're just waiting to get your heart broken. One of the worst things that happens is when young people or older people come into a marriage relationship and they have wrong expectations and so you're set up and so here's one of the worst expectations to come into marriage with, someone's gonna love me. I'm gonna find someone who's gonna love me and they're gonna meet my needs and love me the way that I should be loved. That expectation it breaks people's hearts. You're saying Jimmy are you saying that there's not a person out there that can love me. That's exactly what I'm saying.
Listen, listen to the full statement I'm about to make, okay, people don't have love. They can be attractive, they can be successful, on the outside they can be everything you think that they ought to be, but human beings do not have the capacity to love. And I've seen so many people that the Christianity or a person's spirituality was kind of secondary or third or eighth or maybe wasn't even a factor at all and they went out looking for someone to love them, someone to be married to and they found someone they were attracted to, they checked every box. They found someone was everything they wanted them to be and they got married and then life happened and difficulty and stress and illness and pregnancy and being laid off and having financial problems and having in-law problems and all the things that can happen in life. When life happened what they found was this terrific person that they thought was gonna love them failed them and in some cases left them, in some cases told them I don't love you anymore, in some cases deeply disappointed them, even abused them or whatever. They went into marriage with all the best hopes only to get their heart broken because what they didn't realize is people don't have love.
People don't have love. The Fruit of the Spirit is love. When you're full of the Holy Spirit you're full of love. And so let me say this one more time and I want to make this point very clear before I go forward. We do not have the capacity to love as human beings. The only thing we can do is receive the Holy Spirit into our lives and when the Holy Spirit comes in the Fruit of the Spirit is love. We are able to love each other because we're first of all loved by God. I am able to impart love to you because love was imparted to me by God. The more dependent I am on the Holy Spirit, the more I admit my inability to love on my own and the fact that I need God the more I'm set up for success and the ability to be married properly. The Holy Spirit is game, set and match in marriage.
In Genesis chapter two when God created marriage the first thing he did was breathe his spirit into it and when he breathed his spirit into marriage, marriage was prepared for success. So in our lives we can begin with this measure am I gonna succeed or fail? Am I gonna find a person who will love me or am I gonna be disappointed? The most important standard in that is to marry a person who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord of their life and walks in a spirit dependent way. And when you have a person that you're married to who honors Christ and honors the Holy Spirit you're ready to be loved up. When you don't you're gonna be disappointed. You're gonna get your heart broken.
So I want to talk about how to walk in God's love and how to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. Let's begin with the dilemma of our flesh. This is number one, in order for us to walk in the fullness of God's love, in the fullness of the Holy Spirit in relationships, we have to begin with the fact that we have fallen flesh. This is Romans seven, I ask you to turn there, this is the apostle Paul. I'm going to give the apostle Paul a title that I believe he deserves, the best Christian ever. The apostle Paul was the best Christian ever. He was full of the Holy Spirit, he wrote most of the New Testament, he was an extraordinary man and he's making a confession here that we need to listen to because we can all relate to this.
This is Romans seven and the apostle Paul is talking about his inability to do the right thing. Here's what he says, we know that the law is spiritual. I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing I don't understand. For what I will to do that I do not practice, but what I hate that I do. Anybody ever felt that way? I keep doing what I hate. If then I do what I will not to do I agree that the law is good. But now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me for I know that in me, that is in my flesh, nothing good dwells. For to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I don't find it. For the good that I will to do I do not do, but the evil I will not to do that I practice.
Now if I do what I will not to do it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then that a law is present that evil is present in me, the one who wills to do good for I delight in the law of God according to the inward man, but I see another law in my member warring against the law in my mind and bringing me into captivity into the law of sin which is in my members. A wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?
Well let's stop right there. Let me go back to the title I just gave to the apostle Paul, the best Christian ever. The apostle Paul, I believe, is the best Christian that probably ever lived. And here's what he says, when I want to do the right thing I can't do it and when I want to stop doing the wrong thing I can't stop. Anybody ever feel that way? He's just being honest. He's saying there's nothing good in me that is in my flesh, my fallen, not my body, okay, my flesh is not my body, my flesh is my fallen nature that manifests through my body. So he's saying evil is present in me. The best Christian ever. The best Christian ever is making a confession and he's saying I can't do it. I cannot do it. I keep trying to do the right thing, I cannot do it. I keep trying to stop doing the wrong thing, I cannot do it. And I find that evil is present in me. The one who wants to do good and there's not one good thing that dwells in my flesh. Best Christian ever.
Let me ask you a question if the best Christian ever can't do it, you think you can? Or do I think I can? Let me go back to what I said, love is not in people. We're not good people, we just happen to serve a great God. It's not about Jimmy, it's about Jesus. It will never be about me. It never was about me. It's not about me, it's about Jesus Christ. And the apostle Paul, the best Christian ever, was the best Christian ever because he operated in truth and the truth is I do not have the capacity to do the right thing and I do not have the capacity within myself to stop doing the wrong thing. It's just not in me because I'm a fallen person with fallen flesh and it will be that way til Jesus comes. Okay, that's just the way it is.
So here's the wonderful thing, there's an answer, it's the power of the Holy Spirit. This is Galatians chapter five verse 16, the apostle Paul is answering the question that he brought up, O wretched man that I am who is going to deliver me from this body of death, I say then walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh for the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the spirit you're not under the law. Let me say something now to you. Tomorrow, you're gonna wake up tomorrow, and you have two choices, you're going to walk according to your flesh or the spirit, that's the only choice you have.
There aren't three choices, there aren't eight choices. You're either going to walk in the flesh or you're going to walk in the Spirit and if you walk in the flesh you're going to manifest some of these things that Paul lists here as deeds of the flesh, dissension, jealously, envy, outbursts of anger, all of those kinds of things, those are the things that our flesh actually wants to do. But if you walk in the Spirit you won't carry out the desires of the flesh, why? Because the Holy Spirit overpowers our flesh.
When the apostle Paul says I know the right thing to do I just can't do it, that is unless I'm under the Holy Spirit. If I'm under, here's the wonderful thing the Holy Spirit does, everyday, anytime we ask he overpowers our flesh, he changes our desires and he gives us the ability to do the right thing. He changes our desires. I don't want to do the wrong thing anymore, why? Because goodness is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. He changes my nature to want to do the right thing and I have the ability to do it because Jesus said you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. What you couldn't do five minutes before you prayed for the Holy Spirit to give you power you can do now because now you're not driven by the flesh you're led by the spirit. The Holy Spirit's the answer.
There's therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. How many of you are believers here, you've received Christ, raise your hand. You can't be condemned. Let me ask you, I'm going to ask a question and I'm gonna answer this question why can't we be condemned. If I'm a Christian why can't I be condemned, here's the answer, because God knows I can't. First of all Jesus died for my sins and I've been justified forever by the blood of Jesus. Jesus has forgiven me and I can't be condemned by the devil. But here's the other reason I can't be condemned, God doesn't expect me to do it. God doesn't expect you to be righteous.
The bible says all of your righteousness is like filthy rags. You're saying you mean Jimmy that God doesn't expect us to do the right thing? Yeah, God expects us to do the right thing, but he knows we have no capacity to do it without the Holy Spirit. And so when we do the wrong thing it's not like God's surprised. It's not, we're already forgiven by the blood of Jesus. If you're a believer you're forgiven. You've been perfected forever by the blood of Jesus. Somebody say amen. You cannot be condemned. Okay, but the other part is this, God's not surprised when I sin. He knows I can't do it without the Holy Spirit. God doesn't expect me not to sin, God expects me to walk in the Spirit. I can't do anything about my sin until I'm walking in the spirit.
Jimmy Evans is not a good man. I am not a good man, I am not a good man, but I serve an awesome God. And by the power of the Holy Spirit I have been able to be a good husband to Karen, by the power of the Holy Spirit I've been able to be a good father and grandfather, by the power of the Holy Spirit I've been able to fulfill the ministry that God's given me. Every single thing I've done is because of the power of the Holy Spirit. And so I'm saying to all of us he wants to be in our lives. We were never designed to live without him and without him we can't do anything good, but with him we can do anything God wants us to do. He transforms our lives. Remember Peter, that Peter was a coward that denied Jesus in his hour of trial and after the Holy Spirit fell Peter became this courageous preacher of the gospel who was ultimately martyred for his faith. The Holy Spirit changes everything. And the Holy Spirit doesn't make you weird, he makes you normal.
We'll talk about one more thing and we'll close. This is Galatians five, let me go back to Galatians five and I kind of want to just go through, read through the fruits of the spirit. The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law and those who are in Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the spirit let us also walk in the Spirit. Well first of all the Fruit of the Spirit is God's personality. This is how God acts, this are the standards of God's personality and notice it says those who are in Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Well crucifixion's the most cruel form of death on earth. So when the bible says to crucify something it means be merciless with it. When you're being jealous, don't give that any mercy. When you're being angry, don't give that any mercy. When you find your flesh manifesting don't justify it, don't minimize it, don't rationalize it, crucify it. Those who are in Christ give no mercy to their flesh. But you're going to walk in the Spirit. But the answer again is walking in the spirit.
So let's go into the nine fruits of the spirit and I kind of want to read through these a definition of each of the fruits of the spirit because when we're praying for the Holy Spirit to give us grace and to fill us up and to prepare us to love other people, when we're praying that the manifestation is what we're about to read here. What we're about to read is what we want to see manifested in our lives and if anything else is manifested we're not going to give it any mercy, we're going to crucify it.
Number one is love, agape, God's sacrificial love based out of the will that does what is right regardless of feelings or circumstances. Let me tell you the problem. Agape love is the only love that is not based on emotion. So you fall in love with somebody and they say they love you. That's great, I mean there's all different kinds of love. Eros is sexual love, epithumia is passionate kind of love, storg is a family kind of love, phileo is a friendship kind of love, so there are different kinds of love. Let me ask you a question, when someone says they love you what happens when their emotions change? You can't predict your emotions, none of us can. Agape love is a love that doesn't have to feel to love. In Hebrews 13:5 God says I will never leave you, I will never forsake you.
Let me say this another way, did you know that if God feels like leaving you he won't and if God feels like forsaking you he won't because God is not led by his feelings, God is led by his commitments. And agape love is a sacrificially committed love that says I will never leave you or forsake you. I don't care how I'm feeling, I'm going to treat you the way Jesus would. I have the ability to act above my emotions or to act without emotions. That's what agape love is. I'm always going to do the right thing and you can count on me. I don't have this fragile, fickle kind of a love that's here today and gone tomorrow and everything is based on how I feel. Agape love is the greatest love in the entire universe.
Number two is joy. An abiding sense of wellbeing and hope in spite of difficult circumstances. Even if I'm going through difficulty joy just believes that that God's there. Joy just believes everything's going to work out. Did you know that a depressed person, happiness depends on happenings, happiness is circumstantial. If someone says are you happy, well you can be happy right now and sad five minutes from now. A depressed person can watch comedy on television for 30 minutes and during that 30 minutes they can be happy, but as soon as they turn the TV off they become depressed again, right? So if I change my circumstances temporarily maybe I can change my emotions temporarily, but the number one answer for depression is the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit gives us the joy of God and that joy of God overcomes depression.
And it's not based on circumstances. I can have the joy of God even in difficulty. Joy, in Isaiah 61 it says the oil of joy for morning, for sadness, God gives us the oil of joy. The thing about oil, water evaporates, oil is very durable and it doesn't evaporate. And when the bible calls joy oil, by the way the Holy Spirit's also called oil, it means when I'm asking God to fill me with joy it doesn't evaporate in five minutes, it stays with me all day, it's very durable even through difficult circumstances.
The next is peace, an inner sense of tranquility and calmness again in spite of circumstances. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. And by the way according to Colossians 3:15 peace is one of the most important ways that God leads us. Now listen to what I'm about to say, the peace of God is tangible. You feel it. You sense the peace of God. If you don't sense the peace of God pray until you do. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with peace because when we're making decisions, the bible doesn't say, a lot of times we're making decisions the bible doesn't have anything to say about what we're doing, what school you put your kids in, what car you buy, things like that and peace, according to Colossians 3:15, let the peace of God umpire your hearts is literally what the word means.
So the peace of God in my life when I don't sense the peace about something I don't act because the lack of peace is telling me God doesn't want me to do this. But when I'm sensing the peace of God about something, always in alignment with the Word of God and with what Karen believes in my case, when you're married, but when I sense the peace of God I act. Karen and I have made decisions for the last 42 years and we've never made a mistake when we acted on the peace of God, not one. When we pray and we ask God to show us and give us peace and both of us have peace, we've never made a wrong decision. Peace is a wonderful gift that God gives us to protect our emotions and to guide us in life.
The next is longsuffering, it's the word makrothumi. In the Greek it means to suffer long or to be angry long, it means I have the ability to stay committed in a relationship regardless of how I might feel. I can suffer long with you through a situation. I'm not fragile. I'm not, you know shallow in my relationships.
The next is kindness, good-natured and harmless to others, respectful of others feelings and the inherent value of each individual. Kind people respect people's feelings. Rude people don't respect other people's feelings. Goodness is committed to actively doing what is morally right and in the best interest of others. Again, when I'm praying for the Holy Spirit to fill me he gives me his desires. He changes my nature from a sin nature to a good nature, by his spirit. He overcomes my flesh by putting his nature over my flesh and giving me his desires.
Faithfulness, remaining true and steadfast to my faith in Christ in spite of difficulty or opposition. By the way according to First Corinthians 12 faith is a gift and so God has given to each person a measure of faith, but he'll give you more faith when you pray for it. What does that mean? In the worst circumstances I can believe that my God is able to overcome it. In the worst situation that we're going through in marriage I don't become overwhelmed and cynical and negative, I put faith in my God and I watch him come through. And your mouth can destroy your marriage or your mouth can save your marriage, but when you turn your mouth toward God and you pray God fill me up with more faith, give us more faith in this circumstance he will and it's a game changer.
Gentleness, an attitude of faith in God concerning relations with others. It is strength under control that can express anger or disagreement, but does so in the light of God's sovereign power to change people and circumstances. Some of you might remember, cause this is a powerful word, gentleness is an incredibly powerful word. You remember there was this mother that went to the zoo with her infant, maybe like a one year old child or two year old child and the child fell into the gorilla pit, remember that story from the news? And the child fell over the edge into the gorilla pit and it was the silverback gorillas in there, males, and you could see as soon as the child fell in there you could just see the gorilla coming over and taking the child and throwing the child up against the wall and killing it or something.
The silverback gorilla walked over to this infant that was knocked out, the mother's screaming from above and the silverback gorilla walks up to this child reaches out a finger and strokes the child's back. And when they came to get the child the gorilla backed up and let them get the child. Gentleness is not a weak person, gentleness is a silverback gorilla walking up to an infant and stroking it with a finger. I could kill you if I wanted to. I've chosen not to because my God is going to deal with you, I won't. I'm not a weak person, I just believe that my God can deal with you.
And the last is self-control, the ability to constrain my behavior and to live a life of balance. Again, the Holy Spirit doesn't make you weird, the Holy Spirit puts you in control of yourself. You say I need more self-discipline, no you don't you need more Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit will give you the ability to control things. When the apostle Paul says I want to stop doing it, but I can't stop doing that the Holy Spirit will help you stop doing that.
Holy Spirit give me self-control in this particular area and he does. The Holy Spirit's free, he's God, he's very God of very God, but he's free, he's a gift of grace. And all of us are messed up without him, the apostle Paul admitted his problem and admitted the only solution to take a wretched man and make him into a powerful best Christian on earth was the holy sprit. We all need the Holy Spirit. We were designed by God to operate under the power of the Holy Spirit. Marriages work when they're spirit filled. Relationships work when they're spirit filled. We're able to live our lives the way God wants us to when we're spirit filled and the good news is he's a gift and he'll come into our lives.