|- Ray & Doris Prinzing -
"God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." [1 John 4:16].
The progressive challenge of the holy Spirit is certainly working much within God's "first fruits," with a view to their becoming fully identified in all that He is. Now the attention is focused upon His nature of love, which must become an experiential reality, if we are to truly be like Him.
It was the "I AM THAT I AM" that was embodied in the man Christ Jesus, and it is the SPIRIT of this same "I am that I am" who is becoming personified in God's elect today, even as Paul declared, "By the grace of God I AM WHAT I AM." [1 Corinthians 15:10].
All that once was referred to in the term "I WAS," or all that is expectantly referred to in the term "I WILL BE," must be merged together in the fulness of the ever-present "I AM," until our state of being manifests the reality thereof. And this position shall be obtained solely by the inworking of the grace of God. Thus Paul not only maintained that "I am what I am" by the grace of God, but he went on to add, "His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain." To receive this transforming power of the grace of God,' as inwrought by His indwelling Spirit, and then to refuse to recognize His identity in us, WHICH WE ARE BECOMING, not only does despite to the very Spirit of grace, but also will crucify our Lord afresh, and put Him to open shame.
So much of our confession has not been of what we are in Him, but of what we are outside of Him. By that we mean, there is too much personal boasting of what men think they are, without the pre-eminence of the grace of God in their confession. HE, at all times, must be the central supremacy of our life. It is what we are IN HIM that shall be consummated and brought forth into manifestation, and then our very state of being shall be the witness to declare His inworking. But, inasmuch as the Spirit of grace IS WORKING IN US, we must also be careful not to dis-credit what He is doing, but to hold steady and allow Him to bring to completion what He has begun. There is a change going on within, changing us from glory to glory, praise God for it, acknowledge it as His grace, and then keep your eyes on Christ, following on to perfection. Once He has begun a work within, don't disallow it, nor think it down, but praise Him for what He has wrought up to this point of development.
Now, inasmuch as we are "transformed by the renewing of our mind," [Romans 12:2], we must yield to the mind of Christ as HE reveals HIS identity and ours. While it is true that our nature is acquired through the birth process, and we are in that process of being fully born of God, yet this process shall be climaxed at the appearing of Christ, when it shall also be made visible that we are "like ones to Him."
GOD IS LOVE, but love is not GOD. We do not worship love, for love's sake, but we worship God, and rejoice in His nature of love. We find here that the word "love" is without the definite article. The presence of the article "the" in the Greek language identifies, its absence qualifies. Here its absence gives emphasis to QUALITY, nature, essence. GOD, AS TO HIS NATURE IS LOVE.
"Love is of (ek, out of) God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth (by experience) God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." [1 John 4:7-8].
There is no need to delve at length into the three kinds, or dimensions, of love, but merely to refresh our memory we briefly list them for you.
1) Eros, which speaks of a natural love, a self-gratification kind of love which easily perverts into all kinds of eroticism. This love gives in accordance as to how it shall receive again in personal satisfaction. Because SELF is the center of this love, it is easily turned into forms of hate, which are merely negative expressions that we love self more than the object of our hatred. Eros is not necessarily evil, it is that natural love which is found in the physical realm, and kept within its proper boundaries, it is wholesome and good, but it can be easily perverted.
2) Phileo, which speaks of that fond affection, brotherly love, and deals more with the soulish realm, as two minds flow together, and mutual fondness develops. Brotherly love is found in families by virtue of the knowledge that they are brothers and sisters, possessing the same likes and dislikes inherent in their common nature. It is found in religious realms by those who all subscribe to the same creed, being of like mind and desire. Compatability of personalities, respect and esteem for another, and this fondness develops into a strong bond which can span the years and mature into deep friendships.
3) Agape, which speaks of that divine love which supersedes all other forms and dimensions of love, and is self-sacrificial in its expression. This is God's love for us, it is His nature. And while one might feel both a strong physical love (eros) and a deep fondness, respect and affection (phileo), there must be this added dimension of love to unite all together and bring true love and peace into a home. Also, this divine love is truly required if our acts of kindness toward humanity are to be kept on a higher plane, and not degenerate into personal, selfish motivations.
When love is passed through the PRISM OF SELF-ABSORPTION it breaks up into a spectrum of many segments, varying from the pure to the most perverted. Though we have received the love of God, for "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Spirit." [Romans 5:5], and yet we wonder why it is so hard to manifest this love at all times, it is because when we have received of His love, we have absorbed it, and then tried to express it through SELF. But when self tries to express the love of God, it finds that it cannot do so in itself, and thus people often hurt the one they love the most. They do not want to, but the old nature of selfhood has perverted the love they try to express, and it comes out negative.
In John 12:43, we read, "They loved the praises of men more than the praises of God." This word "love" is the Greek word used for God's love, but note how they perverted it. Love, absorbed into an UNCRUCIFIED SELF, turns to receive the praises of men, whereas love flowing through the abandonment of a CRUCIFIED SELF rejoices in the praises of God. But what a waste to take divine love and use it for the receiving of the praises of men, centerizing in self, and turning everything into self-absorption, expressing itself and seeking its satisfaction only in the praises of men.
We know what it means to pervert true love through self-absorption, but consider also the restoration of love, for, as all the segments of love, however perverted they might have become, as they are passed through the prism of self-abandonment, they are restored again into the purity of the love of God.
LOVE IS THE MOTIVATION OF LIFE. The more perverted our love, the more we are motivated and impelled to seek for self-gratification, fulfilling the demands of our own self-lust. But the purer our love, the more self-sacrificing we become.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." [John 15:13].
"For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. NOT AS CAIN, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother..." [1 John 3:11-12].
We should love, but not as Cain. Was Cain expressing love when he slew his own brother? Yes, but it was a perverted love, for when one hates another he is manifesting that he loves himself. Cain, being so extremely self-centered, desiring all the glory and praise, could not stand to see the blessing fall upon his brother Abel, so he slew him. Hate is the very lowest vibration of love.
Since God is ONE, in complete unity in Himself, we must combine in our understanding both the motivation of love and the energy force of fire. Then we shall understand that HIS LOVE motivates all the action of His fire, hence its results can only be that of ultimate good.
People have tried to "balance" love and hell-fire, by placing them on opposite sides of the scale. This cannot be done, they must be merged into one, for God is not divided, HE IS ONE, and His love motivates all of His actions manifested through fire's force.
When we consider some of the severe fiery trials that have come our way, and we can also identify them with LOVE'S MOTIVATION, we will have a different view of the purpose and plan of God. It was the "I AM THAT I AM" who embodied Himself for expression in the bush which burned with fire, the unusual manifestation which attracted Moses, for the bush was not consumed. Moses saw it, and drew near, and there began his instruction in the nature and power of our merciful God, Who is long-suffering, "abundant in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin..." [Exodus 34:6-7]. This makes no allowance for sin, for He will visit the gross iniquity of man, and deal with it accordingly, even with the severest measures of His energy force of fire, but being motivated by love it shall result in the salvation of the man, and the removal of the sin.
"The love of Christ constraineth us..." [2 Corinthians 5:14].
The original text reads, the love of "THE CHRIST," giving it that special identity. This is not just any kind of love, but the love of The Christ, our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not the love of just "any anointed one" though lesser vessels may be anointed by the Spirit, but yet express a love of a lesser degree, and so often tainted with self, etc., but this is the love of THE CHRIST, PURE, DIVINE LOVE which constraineth us.
The word "constrain" used here comes from the Greek word meaning TO HOLD TOGETHER, but it has within it the thought of impelling action, or motivation. The Wuest Expanded translation brings this out, as it describes this love as the kind which "presses on me from all sides, holding me to one end and prohibiting me from considering any other, wrapping itself around me in tenderness, GIVING ME AN IMPELLING MOTIVE, having brought me to this conclusion, namely, that One died on behalf of all. .."
What a beautiful understanding of Christ's love! How that One, Christ, died for all, therefore HIS LIFE was given for all mankind, and eventually all men must be completely blessed thereby, receiving His fulness of life. The more this divine love wraps itself around us it will also give us an impelling motive. What motive? namely that all of our action should be enwrapped with the same kind of love, for the purpose of reconciling the creation back to God. Oh, that in just everything we would find LOVE is holding us together, and motivating our work. The Amplified gives, "The love of Christ CONTROLS and URGES and IMPELS us."
We know that the Word of God serves as our Guidance during our process of becoming, and much instruction is given on the need to exercise the fragments of our love we now possess, to love our enemies, to love the brethren, to love one another, etc. And then there is the repeated command that all labour is to be prompted, motivated by love. "BY LOVE SERVE ONE ANOTHER." [Galatians 5:13].
But all of these commands are swallowed up into fulfillment when our WHOLE NATURE is one of love. There will be no need for a command to DO things in love, once our whole nature IS love, for then there can be no other expression but that OF love. Therefore we desire that our process of BECOMING shall soon be consummated in a new state of being. When we have become LIKE ONES TO HIM, then it is self-evident that all of our motivation will be that of HIS LOVE.
1 Corinthians 13:2, Amplified, "If I have not love (God's love in me) I am nothing― a useless nobody."
That is why we long for the consummation of our entering into His identity, because only IN HIM are we something― only IN HIM can we say, "I AM," as we now become that new creation species of the Himself creatures, where it is no more "I," but forever, "Christ liveth IN me."
In 1 Corinthians 13:1, the Wuest Expanded inserts an explanation, "The Greek word here used of God's love produces in the heart of the yielded saint by the holy Spirit a love that impels one to DENY HIMSELF for the sake of the loved one."
Jesus said, "If any will come after me, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross, (fire-processing), and follow Me." [Matthew 16:24].
Therefore, we understand, the manifestation of the nature of God is that which constantly denies self, for HIS LOVE is self-sacrificial in its expression, not self-absorbing. God so loved the world that He freely gave― this glorious OUTFLOW being the very purest expression of His love. And yet in this manifestation God is identified in a clear view, He becomes revealed as a LOVING FATHER, a FAITHFUL CREATOR who is fully conscious of the needs of His creation, His children, and He is ready to expend of Himself in any way to bring them into the fulness of joy and victory. THIS GIVING, this freely imparting to all of Himself, reveals the heart and nature of God in away that nothing else could. How glorious! How wonderful!
While the qualities of love are limitless, note this one: "LOVE THINKETH NO EVIL." [1 Corinthians 13:5]. Proverbs 23:7 declares, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he."
One might impute a thought to another, but you do more damage to yourself, than you do to the one to whom you impute the thought, since YOU PERSONALLY BECOME WHAT YOU THINK. Ah, it has been so easy for the natural mind to think evil, but love thinketh no evil, neither of another, nor of ourselves. All of this self-condemnation, fostered by the enemy, has to go. We learn to accept ourselves for what HE IS MAKING OF US TO BECOME, and not to despise any of the process while we wait for its completion.
Again, our imaginations have so long been negative, and we view a situation and immediately deduct from it the supposition that there is evil involved, or else we at least fear there could be something wrong. Then, if we allow our thinking to continue in this negative channel, we soon find that "fear hath torment." And "he that feareth is not made perfect in love." But, "there is no fear in love; for perfect love casteth out all fear." [1 John 4:18].
How we need divine love to undergird the very formations of our thoughts, that HE might guide all of our thinking into channels of righteousness. Since, as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he, then how we need to have these little fragments of love which we have already received of Him, to do the THINKING IN US, so that LOVE, thinking no evil, but only thoughts of righteousness, can help to work in us the needed transformation. When all of our thoughts are girded up to love, even the little measure of love that we might now possess, it will hasten the work in us, until the whole shall be leavened with the new, even with His pure nature.
Love "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-pays no attention to a suffered wrong." [1 Cor. 13:5, Amplified].
Herein is the nature which we desire to be OUR NATURE, not as a position which we struggle to attain and maintain in ourselves, but that which we BECOME IN CHRIST, our nature, our essence.
The word "essence" is given as one of the meanings for "nature," and it is defined as: "that which in being underlies all outward manifestation and is permanent and unchangeable." Therefore a nature of love speaks of how love is the undergirding of all the outward manifestation, for it remains a permanent and unchangeable nature within God's new creation.
The lower form of love which we often yield to, which is more self-centered, motivates all action towards self-satisfaction. But the higher the form of love in us, until it is totally His divine love, then the more our motivation will be away from self, and towards the good of others. Self-absorption, or self-abandonment, these two words reveal much concerning what vibration of love now dwells within us. THE MORE EXCELLENT WAY IS THE WAY OF DIVINE LOVE.
Now we come to a very interesting verse, found in Zephaniah 3:17. "He will rest in His love..." This word "rest" comes from the Hebrew word "charash" meaning: to hold one's peace, keep silent.
What does it mean to hold one's peace, to keep silent in their love? It means that there is no struggle to maintain that love, there is no effort or work to be able to manifest love, it is just a pure emanation, a ready outflow, because such is our true inner nature.
Right now, in present incomplete development, if certain things begin to happen so that the atmosphere becomes somewhat agitated, and we remember that we ought to manifest love over the situation, we sometimes have to struggle to do so― we seem to work at our loving. That is not RESTING in our love. True, we praise God for those who will seek to manifest love even if it is an effort to do so, but we are challenged that there shall come an hour, when brought into the very fulness of our redemption, swallowed up into the completeness of His nature, we will be able to rest in our love. When our nature is LOVE PERSONIFIED, then we shall simply LIVE what we are, and love shall emanate from our being, a radiant outflow that shall draw men and women unto Christ.
It is to this end― to become one in His nature of love― that all of the present processes come in, with the fire, the trials, the pressures, that we might be cleansed and purified from all the self-centered motivations, until His life and love freely flow through us. It is learning to deny self that makes the crucifying process necessary.
Betimes we get into a situation where we think we are the only ones trying to manifest any degree of love, but then again we are reminded, "love thinketh no evil," and to think that no one else is making any effort to show love, is to immediately impute that charge to their account. What a toll the old Adamic nature has taken through its carnal-mindedness. How we need the mind of Christ to take over completely in us, so that we live and walk by His royal law of love.
Then, how precious, when we come to that point where we cry out, "O Father, I cannot fight this battle any longer, it has become too much for me," and so we cast all of our care upon Him, roll our burden upon the Lord, and find that He not only sustains US, but lives HIS LIFE through us. It is then that we begin to learn some more of what it means to REST, to rest in His love, without struggle, without effort of self, but to have the freedom of the outflow of the Spirit of God dwelling within.
Yes, He does dwell in the midst of His people, and it is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." [Colossians 1:27]. Therefore, there is the love of God within, and we are finding that the more God leads us onward, to perfect our UNION IN HIM, the more we also are coming to the point where we can "hold our peace" and just BE what we are IN HIM.
A people with a purpose, yes, to become totally one in His nature of love, for the greatest person to person ministry will not be one of words, but of that love flowing out of our hearts to others, an emanation of the Christ within. There is a realm in the "spirit" where natural effort and works will not be needed, and we shall truly REST IN LOVE, knowing that "LOVE NEVER FAILETH" and hence the victory is secure-love will do the work, drawing all men to Christ, until all shall know Him, from the least to the greatest. To God be the praise!
HIS NATURE OF LOVE
Like ones to Him-what a vision in view,
When the transformation is made complete,
And all of our nature He doth renew.
Purged from all self-love, the nature of man,
That gratification of carnal flesh
That limits its goal to the human span.
No more the absorbing for self hood's gain,
Till love is expressed in perverted ways,
Yielding its harvest of pain.
But through self-abandonment love returns
To bless and restore the wounded of earth,
And balance the score while the fire bums.
For love is the motivation of life,
And when it's perverted as lust its force
Genders an atmosphere cloudy and rife.
But love that is pure impels one to give
The whole of their being in sacrifice,
Humbly and freely, that others might live.
Like ones to Him in His nature divine,
Love in its purity, tender and true,
Perfection of all that He doth refine.
Writings in This Series: