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Watch 2022 online sermons » Joyce Meyer » Joyce Meyer - What Is Love? - Part 1

Joyce Meyer - What Is Love? - Part 1

Joyce Meyer - What Is Love? - Part 1
Joyce Meyer - What Is Love? - Part 1

I wanna talk to you, tonight, about "What is love"? I wanna talk to you about what it is because it's a word that we throw around so much. And you know, we love ice cream, and we love Teddy bears, and we love puppy dogs, and we love kitty cats, and we love God. And, you know, we have to learn what real love is, what the God kind of love is. And in Matthew chapter 24, it gives us signs of the end times. And I suppose every generation that's ever lived thought they were living in the last days. We're no different, you know. But one of these days a generation's gonna be right. And it could be us, I don't know.

But there's two things that it says in Matthew 24 that we really need to pay attention to. One, it says that "In the last days, many will be deceived". And you know, I started thinking about that today, and I thought, "My gosh, there's never been any more deception than there is on the earth, right now". And I do think a lot of people are just deceived. And I want you to pray every day that you will not be deceived because deceived people don't know they're deceived. And that's one of the things that's gonna increase in the last days. And the Bible actually says that "If God did not shorten the days for the sake of the very elect no man would be able to stand the deception coming on the earth".

So, don't get a prideful attitude, "It can't happen to me". That's why you need to keep your nose in the word, and always learn the truth. And the other thing it says, in Matthew 24, in the last days "The love of the great body of people", which is us, "Will grow cold because of all the wickedness and lawlessness in the land". And we have to be very careful that we don't get so caught up in all the fighting, all the nonsense that's going on. Not that we shouldn't stand up against it. I don't mean that. But we have to remember that love is the key word that describes Christianity. And in Romans 12:21, it says we, "Overcome evil with good".

Now, please hear me. This is so simple. But the world is full of evil, and the only thing we have to do, to fight it, is to just turn up the goodness and start being as good to people as we possibly can: praying for people, loving people, showing love to strangers, random acts of kindness. Love never fails. And I saw that with my own father who abused me for many, many years, sexually. My mom, bless her heart, she knew what he was doing, but she just was too afraid of him to do anything about it. Which is sad. And it's a long story, but I'll make it real short. As they got older, and they weren't really able to take proper care of themselves, God put it on my heart that he wanted us to take care of them. Well, I rebuked it. I thought it was the devil. I thought, "There is no way God is asking me to do that, not after what he did to me".

Well, see, there is a little thing in the Bible that says, "Love your enemy". We don't get to just love the people we like. But it is time, church, for us to get ourselves off our mind, and all of our own little problems, be more thankful for what God is doing in our lives, and get busy about the business of the Kingdom of God. Amen? We overcome evil with good. My goodness, what would happen if every Christian actually just did one good thing, for one person, every day? Whether that was just encourage somebody, or pray for somebody, or meet somebody's physical need, help 'em with something. The more we have our mind on ourselves, the more miserable we get.

Matthew 5:46 says, "If you only love those who love you, what reward will you get? Even tax collectors can do that". Now, they used tax collectors because they were the most hated of all people in Jesus' day because they were crooks. But he says, "But what difference is there in you and anybody else? What difference is there in me, or any unbeliever out there, if I only love the people who love me back"? See, Jesus died for us while we were still yet in sin. So, if you wanna see an example of what love is, just look at Jesus. Because he said, "If you've seen me, you've seen the father. And God is love".

See, love is not something God does. It's who he is. And so, that's all he does. Even when God chastises us, he only corrects those whom he loves. Everything, everything in the Bible, that God says to do or not to do, it's for our benefit. It makes our life better if we do what God tells us to do. If we could ever get that through our heads. Quit thinking that God's just trying to make it hard on us, "Well, that's just hard to do. It's just hard. It's hard. It's hard to love people that have been mean to you". You know what? Maybe they don't deserve your forgiveness, but you deserve peace. Amen?

And I'll tell you one thing. Forgiving 'em may be hard, but hating 'em is harder. If you wanna do something hard, you just hate people all your life. I watched my dad do it, and he did not have any kind of a life. But we took care of them and bought 'em a house, bought 'em a car, and took 'em to the doctor, and had their house cleaned and all the things you do. It took three years, but my dad got saved. Amen? And I can tell you. I don't believe that real love can fail. I think that love softens hard hearts, and I think it changes people. But sometimes, you have to be willing to love somebody that's not loving you back, for a long time. And I'm not suggesting that you stay with somebody that's abusing you. That's not what I'm talking about. You can love people from a distance. And some people, you have to do that.

God's not asking us to be around somebody that just mistreats us all the time and downgrades us all the time. But love is not how you feel about somebody. It's praying for them, and not talking bad about 'em behind their back. And it's meeting a need, if they have a need. Boy, that blows em away. "Why in the world would you do that"? You know what my dad said to my husband, whenever he finally apologized to me? He looked at Dave, and he said, "Dave, you have never done anything but love me". And he said, "Most men in your situation woulda killed me. But you've never done anything but love me". Wow, I always say, "I thought I was buying a house, but I was actually buying a soul".

See, it cost Jesus a lot. It cost him to save us. What we have as a free gift from God, cost him. Every person that gets helped: it costs somebody else. And I guess I'm just wanting to ask tonight: are you ready to start paying what it costs to take other people to heaven with you? And I don't intend to shut up about this. I may just preach some version of this from now until Jesus comes back. I don't know. But we just can't, I mean, I've lived both ways. And I can tell you, selfish is miserable. You cannot be selfish and be happy. And when you really get this love thing, and you understand that it's not just something you're gonna feel like doing. If you're waitin' to feel like it, you can forget it. It's something you do on purpose.

The Bible says, "Above all that you put on, put on love". And "Put on" is an action word. I have never gone in my closet to put on my clothes and had them jump off the hanger on my body. I have to pick them out. I have to think about it. And if I put on something and it doesn't look good on me, I take it off and I put on something else. And I'll tell you, there's a whole lot of Christians running around out there with stuff that doesn't look good on 'em. Bad attitudes, and grumbling, and murmuring, and gossiping, and complaining, and going to church on Sunday, and then going back out and doing the same thing all over again. Love is action. It's not just a message we preach. It's action. It's not a theory. It's not just a word, but it can only be seen and felt in deeds.

And the book that I wrote on love is the worst selling book I ever had. And you know what? We laugh. I laugh. But it's really not funny. Because the truth is, you know why people didn't buy it? They didn't think it was important. "Oh, yeah. Love, love, I hear about that all the time. Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so". Jesus loves us first. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit," because God never expects us to give away something that he doesn't give us first. But everything he gives us, he expects us to grow up spiritually, and let it flow through us to other people. We are God's hands, and feet, and mouth, and ears, and eyes, on the earth.

How are people gonna see Jesus if they don't see him through the church? And it's gonna take more than a bumper sticker. If you're not gonna act like a Christian, get that thing off your bumper. I mean it. It's worse to have it on your car, than to have it on your car and drive down the road speeding, yelling obscenities at somebody. You'll have to excuse me tonight. I haven't got to do this for a long time. For two years, I've been preaching to three cameras. And there's no reaction. And they don't laugh when I'm funny. But I did it. Jesus said, "If you've seen me, you've seen the father". And then, he said, in John 14:6: "I am the way". He's the way to live.

You know, Christianity, at one time, was called "The way". There is a way that we're supposed to live, and it's not like the world. We're supposed to be different. Not weird, not religious, but different. There's not very many people out there that are walking in love. So, I'm gonna tell you what, if you start loving people at work, you're gonna stand out. You start really loving people in your neighborhood, "Well, what does that mean"? Well, maybe, it means cutting the elder lady's grass across the street. Or maybe it means bringing in your next-door neighbor's trash cans. Or maybe, it means, when you see 'em out shoveling snow, you go out and help 'em. I don't know what it means. God will give you so many creative ideas, you won't know what to do with 'em, if you will just open yourself up to him, and say, "I want to be part of the team".

There's four love, four loves, there's four Greek words that are translated "Love". And they're all translated love in the Bible. But they're different kinds of love. And one of 'em is Phileo, which means friendship. One is spelled s-t-o-r-g-e, which means family love. And that's only used in the Bible two times. Phileo is used several times. Eros is Romantic love. And that word is never used in the Bible, although the idea of it is there, when marriage is talked about. But agape, which is the God kind of love, divine love, that is used 200 times in the Bible. I really tried to study this word, agape, out, to get the most out of it that I could.

For people who donate to charity out of the goodness of their hearts, agape love is at play. Doing something for another person, whether you know them personally or not, is a shining example of this particular kind of love. I wanna talk to you, tonight, a little bit about random acts of kindness, doing things for people that you don't know, that don't know you, and probably, the opportunity will come up, "Well, you know, I'm just, I'm a Christian. I love God, and he's been good to me, and I just wanna be good to you," or, "I just want to bless you". It just like people, just like, they don't know what to do with you. They just, it's like, and I got some stories I'll tell you later, but. It's a shining example of this particular kind of love. If you still can't grasp how agape love is different, than any other kind, look at Jesus. Agape could be defined as charity. However, we often think of charity, nowadays, as giving away money or things, which doesn't encompass all of what agape is about.

Now, I want you to listen to this. Agape love is unconcerned with self, and concerned with the greatest good of another. I'mma read it again. Agape love is unconcerned with self and concerned with the greatest good of another. I'm not there yet, but I wanna get there. Agape is not born out of emotion. It's not how you feel about somebody. It's not a feeling. It's not familiarity. It's not attraction. But agape comes from the will and is a choice. If there's anybody sitting in this building tonight that is mad at anybody, I pray God that you will make the decision before you leave here to forgive, to drop it, to leave it, to let it go, and to get on with the business of living.

"Well, Joyce, you just don't know what I've been through". Well, I know what I've been through. And I know what a lot of other people have been through. And I know what the Bible says. And I know that God never asks us to do anything that's impossible to do. And if he said forgive, then you can do it. Agape requires faithfulness, commitment, and get ready for this, 'cause this is hard. And sacrifice without expecting anything in return. This is the kind of love the New Testament talks about. And it's in the New Testament 200 times. 1 John 4:16 says, "And so we know and rely on the love that God has for us. God is love". And I love this. I just have to stare at this. "Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God lives in them".

See, God is love. So, any time you're loving somebody, God is there. That's God, love. I've been thinking about that for 20 years. And I still don't know that I've just, because, you know, I love, I study a lot about being in the presence of God and enjoying the presence of God. And that's one of the great privileges that we have. He's with us all the time. The Holy Spirit lives in us. We're the home of God. We're never without him. But I wanna enjoy the manifest presence of God. I wanna hear his voice. And so many people look for God all their life. And he's love. God is love. You really have to think about that a while. Where love is, God is. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God lives in them.

Wow. But this is something you have to pray about. You have to study, you have to read about it. You have to pray about it. You have to study. You have to think about it. You have to talk about it. You have to pray about it some more. Every day, you gotta pray about it. You gotta think about it. You gotta study it. Because, you see, selfishness will never go away. Our flesh is still just full of ickies. But what we wanna do is feed the spirit, exercise the Fruit of the Spirit, so that it gets stronger, and stronger, and stronger. So, then, when selfishness tries, when there's an opportunity, the Bible says in Galatians 6:9, "Don't let any opportunity to help somebody or to show love pass you by".

We didn't charge you anything to come to this conference. You can come, sit there, and do absolutely nothing. But it's not wise. Not for us, I'm saying that for you. I finally know what Paul meant when he said he was not talking to them about offerings because he wanted their money, but he wanted the fruit that would increase to their credit. And see, I know that givers are happy people. I mean, really, tell me what does anybody want other than to be happy? That's really what you want. So, we think we can buy it, so we buy things. We think we can marry it, so we marry somebody. Then if that don't work, we get rid of 'em, and we marry somebody else.

Come on, you know how it goes. You might as well keep the one you got 'cause I'll tell you, the next one ain't gonna be any better. People have asked me, "If anything happened to Dave, would you ever get married again"? No! No! No, way would I ever spend one more year of my life trying to get used to another man. I got mine. We've got our own deal worked out. We get along good. We're having fun. Just quit thinking about everything that's wrong with the person you're married to. Don't throw stones at me. But you gotta few things wrong with you, too.

Romans 5:5, "And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who's been given to us". So, we have love in us. It's a Fruit of the Spirit that comes into us when we're born-again. But it comes as a seed. You know, you have muscles. You may not look like it, but you got 'em. Maybe nobody can see 'em, but they're there. And the only way anybody is ever gonna see 'em is if you exercise 'em. Well, love is not gonna grow if you don't exercise it. Kindness won't grow if you don't exercise it. Humility won't grow if you don't exercise it.
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