Joyce Meyer - Walking In Love
I love to study about love because I find if I don't keep it in front of me on a regular basis, that it's easy to forget the importance of it. And Jesus said, "One new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another just as I have loved you." "One new commandment," he said. "You do this one, everything's gonna be taken care of". And in 1 John chapter 3, verse 17, it says: "If anyone has this world's goods (resources for sustaining life) and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, and closes his heart of compassion against him," I love that because, as I said this morning, you've got everything that you need on the inside of you to walk in love.
You have compassion. It's in your spirit as a born-again believer. But you can open that heart of compassion or you can close that heart of compassion. You can decide to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, or you can decide to say, "No," to it. "How can the love of God live and remain in that person? Little children, let us not love in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity)".
I remember praying one time quite fervently, and to be honest, I was a little bit disturbed in my heart about all the unrighteousness and wickedness in the world. I've seen some despicable things as I've traveled around the world, children living in trash dumps, and just unbelievable things. And I said, "God, why don't you do something about these situations"? It's kinda frustrating sometimes when you kinda know that God could, but he doesn't.
And the answer came back very quickly in my heart, and I know that it was God, and I know that it's right. He said, "I work through my people. I'm waiting for my people to become activated and rise up". Now, just think about that. We're not waiting on God. God's waiting on us, and the world is waiting on us. And the world is not gonna be won by a handful of preachers on TV or by just the sunday morning pastor. That all helps, but I can tell you, the way the world is gonna be affected is if every believer, every believer, every believer gets out in the world and acts like one. Did you hear me?
And I don't mean put on an act. I mean, get out in the world and really act like a believer. Walk in the fruit of the Spirit. Walk in love. Forgive people, be patient with people. Be kind to people, and help people. Nothing says more to people than when you give them some time or money or whatever it takes.
Now, you know, we have the ability to do this because actually, truthfully, if I told you who you really are, you are an amazing person that has been you've been born again. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:10: "In order that you might do the good works that God preordained and prearranged before the beginning of time". We are recreated by God to be like Christ, to do the good things that he's done.
You have a desire in you to be good. You have a desire in you to help people. I do too. But we also have a flesh. We also have an opposition that comes against us. God works through our spirit. The devil works through our flesh. And so, while God's tryin' to motivate us to do the right thing, the enemy is pressing against us, trying to get us to be selfish and self-centered.
And as I said this morning, we need to declare war on selfishness. Now, I believe that God takes it very personally when we mistreat people. And I can tell you that not meeting a need that you could meet, that you believe God is leading you to meet and not doing it, that's mistreating people.
We don't have to overtly mistreat people. Sometimes we can covertly mistreat people by simply just not doing what we could do if we would do it. It's not up to everybody else. It's up to us. When I'm talkin' about helping people, I'm not talkin' about people that are lazy and don't wanna work. I'm not talkin' about people that are just wantin' to live off of everybody else. I'm talkin' about people in need.
I'm talkin' about people who are doin' the best they can, or people who are just ignorant and don't know any better. They've gotten themselves in some terrible messes. And let me tell you somethin'. Everybody who gets our help doesn't have to deserve it, because God doesn't wait for somebody to deserve his help before he helps them. "Mercy triumphs over judgment," the Bible says. And when we begin to judge people as to whether or not they deserve help, then the love walk is shut down and it's impossible to love them.
And what I'm telling you this weekend, yes, it's helpful to other people, but more than anybody, it helps us. There's nothing more powerful or better that we can do than to help other people, to have the attitude of a servant. And when I say, "The attitude of a servant," I'm talking about an attitude, an attitude that says, "I'm not any better than anybody else. I'm as good as everybody else, but I'm not any better than everybody else. We're all one in Christ, and I'm not too good to do anything that needs to be done".
Yes, I can help you. Yes, I can encourage you. Yes, I can forgive you one more time because God has forgiven me one more time, amen? Now, because God really takes it personally how we treat people or don't treat people, let's look at Matthew 25 and really try to get an even deeper revelation on what these scriptures are saying. Although I know that you've probably heard them if you've heard very much of the Bible at all, it's still worth looking at them again tonight.
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory (his majesty and splendor), and all of his Holy Angels are with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. And all nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them the people one from another as a shepherd separates his sheep from his goats". Now, sheep and goats, they have two different natures. Goats are very stubborn. Sheep are very easily led.
And he will cause the sheep to stand at his right hand, but the goats at his left. And then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'come, you blessed of my Father you favored of God appointed to eternal salvation, inherit (and receive) the kingdom that has been prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you brought me together with yourself, you welcomed and entertained and lodged me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see me.' then the just and upright will say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, when did we see you thirsty, when did we see you a stranger, when did we see you sick or in prison?' and he says, 'if you've done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.'
Wow, I just gotta sit here "If you've done it unto the very least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me". You know, I take these things seriously. And about, I don't know, I guess about 12 years ago, I said, "You know what? We need to be working in the prisons".
And so we developed a prison team, and their full-time job is to go to prisons, cell to cell if they're allowed to. In most places, they do get to do that. Tell the prisoners, "God loves you". We send 'em a letter from us. We wanted to put my books into prison cells so people could have the gospel. And they told us in the prisons, they said, "Well, you can't give 'em anything spiritual if you don't give 'em somethin' practical".
So we gave 'em a bar of soap, a bottle of shampoo, and one of my books, and a letter that tells 'em how much we love 'em. And at this particular point, we have now put right at 1 and 1/2 million of my books in prison cells around the world. And we have had some absolute unbelievable testimonies. I won't take the time to share them with you, but it is just phenomenal what God does through that shampoo, the soap, the letter, and the book.
You might say, when people are in prison, you have a captive audience. And since they don't have too much to do, if you get a book into their hands, there's a good possibility that they might read it. I know they don't all, but many of them do, and so I take these things seriously.
I believe that if Jesus says, "Don't forget the people that are in prison," then we shouldn't just write 'em off and forget 'em because they committed a crime, and maybe a terrible crime, because we have to remember that they still are redeemable, and they still need someone to care about them.
Come on, now. So many people are lookin' for a ministry, but I really wonder if people are looking for a ministry, or if they're looking for a platform. Now, I happen to be called to a public ministry where I have a platform, but I've done all kinds of things before I got to this point that had nothing to do with this. I taught a home Bible study for five years, and I didn't get paid for that.
I had quit a full-time job to prepare for what I thought God was calling me to do, which, you know, half the time, I thought I was crazy, but it was so strong in my heart that I had to do it. And when I quit that full-time job, Dave and I didn't even have enough money to pay our bills. There was sacrifice involved in that, and we had to believe God for a miracle every single solitary week. And as I ministered to these people in my home, they could've helped us.
Nobody did, and I don't blame them. God didn't want 'em to at that point because it was a test for us to see if we would do it just for God, and not for what we got out of it. I cleaned my pastor's house. I answered his mail. We took our children and went on the streets of downtown st. Louis every saturday morning in the winter, and passed out gospel tracts.
One summer, I got a group of ladies, and we put 10,000 gospel tracts under the windshield wipers of cars in parking lots. And for that, I got chastised by the elders of the church because I didn't get their permission. I didn't know you needed permission to try to get somebody saved. Sometimes when you step out and try to do somethin' good, you'll get some opposition from the enemy. But I have kept on keeping on, and, yes, now I have a platform, but I didn't start there.
Don't worry about havin' a platform and bein' in front of a bunch of people. Just do somethin' to help somebody. Whatever's in front of you to lay your hand to, lay your hand to it. And then, if we read the rest of this, which I won't take time to do, he went on to say, "When I was sick, you didn't visit me. When I was hungry, you didn't feed me. When I needed you, you didn't come". "Well, when did we not do that"? "If you have not done it unto the least of these my brethren, then you have not done it unto me".
And I'm glad that we see both sides. "When you did it, you did it unto me. When you didn't do it, you didn't do it unto me". We need to walk in love, not just talk about love. It's easy to preach on love. It's real easy for you to sit here and hear these messages. And your heart agrees. You're like, "Yeah, praise God, I'll buy the bracelet. Might even buy the book. Might order the teachings from the seminar, I'm not sure," 'cause people usually don't, you know, they don't buy stuff like this as much.
It aggravates the tar out of me, but they don't. I do get aggravated about it. I get aggravated that people don't realize what they really need. I've been doin' this long enough, and if you trust me at all, even one thimbleful, let me tell you that the only way that you can have a happy, powerful life is if you get yourself off of your mind and do somethin' for somebody else. It's just that simple.
Get yourself off your mind and do somethin' for somebody else. Walk in love. Ephesians 5:2 says: "And walk in love". Don't just talk about love, but walk in love. You know, love can be seen. It can be felt, and we need to make sure that our love is real. And it manifests in many different ways.
Let's take the time to read 1 Corinthians, the first eight verses. Every time you're patient, someone is seeing love. And if they don't know what love is, that's refreshing to them to see that. And if they know you're a christian and you show them patience, that verifies to them that you really are what you say that you are. How many of you are not just real patient? Come on, when you have to admit to somethin', don't do this...
Okay, well, I already said this morning that would probably be one of my greater weaknesses, but I'm growin' in that area. And I'll tell you what, we need to learn to be patient. I remember back in the early days of my walk with God when I didn't know anything and he was tryin' to teach me everything. I'm tellin' you what, if there was a slow clerk anywhere in town, I would get 'em. And I didn't want anything slow. I wanted to get in there, get out, get home, go on to my next thing.
And so help me, I wouldn't have prices on my items, or the clerk would be new and wouldn't know what she was doin', and, you know, we have our ways. Even if we don't open our mouth, we can show by facial expressions and body language. "Well, I mean, really"? The whole time, we've got our rhinestone Jesus pin on.
Come on, you know 1 Corinthians 13:1: "if I can speak in the tongues of men and even angels, but I don't have love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion that is inspired by God's love for and in us), I'm only a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal".
How many of you speak in tongues? All right, well, if we speak in tongues and we don't have love, then we're just a big noise. And then he says, "If you have prophetic powers and so much faith that you could move a mountain, and you don't have any love, then you're a useless nobody".
Verse 3: "If I give away everything that I've got to feed the poor, and even if I surrender my body to be burned in order that I might glory, and I don't have real love, I gain nothing". So, he's sayin', "Even if we do somethin' good, but we do it to be seen or to be well thought of..."
Somebody said this to me today, and I thought it was a great statement: "I can give and not love, but I can't love and not give," amen? That's very good.
Verse 4, now here we come with the facets of love: "Love endures long and is patient and kind; love is never envious nor jealous, it is not boastful or vainglorious, it does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); love is not rude (unmannerly), does not act unbecomingly. Love (that is, God's love in us)," which, that's the kind of love that God is askin' us to give the world, not a human kind of love, but the agape of God that he has given to us freely by his grace. God expects us to give that away.
"It does not insist on its own rights or its own way, it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it". Are you a good accountant? Are you able to count up every wrong thing that everybody does and remember it for 20 years? And I love this part, "It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when truth prevails. Love bears up under everything and anything that comes, it is ever ready to believe the best of every person," I think that's one of the greatest facets of love.
It's always ready to believe the best and not to believe the worst. Boy, it can give us so much peace if we'll just choose to believe the best of people in every situation instead of automatically believin' the worst. "Love never fails never fades out, never goes away". We need to learn how to walk in love.