Three Things to Focus on in 2014 (part 2)
But when the Son of Man returns, how many will He find on the earth who have faith? (Luke 18:8 – NLT) Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:12 –NLT). Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead (1 Tim 4:1-2 –NLT). Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God (2 Corinthians 7:1 –NLT).
Yesterday I mentioned the importance of faith in our daily lives in 2014. Today, I want to talk about the importance of pursuing love in 2014. In these days prior to the rapture, the tribulation, and the second coming of Christ, self-centered living will come to the forefront in the world.
Notice the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:12 (various translations): And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity (Amplified); For many others, the overwhelming spread of evil will do them in — nothing left of their love but a mound of ashes (The Message Paraphrase); Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold (NIV); There will be more and more evil in the world, so most people will stop showing their love for each other (New Century Version).
Jesus also mentions an attitude of offence that will be prevalent before His second coming and I believe this is already beginning: And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another (Matthew 24:10 – NKJV); And then, going from bad to worse, it will be dog-eat-dog, everyone at each other’s throat, everyone hating each other (Matthew 24:10 – The Message Paraphrase).
When we’re born again, Jesus places an ability to love the way He loves in our human spirit. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5). He has commanded us to love the way He does (John 13:34-35). Love is to be the guiding factor in every word, thought, and action of life. Ask yourself constantly, What would love do?
Notice the call to love from 1 Corinthians 14:1 (Amplified): 1 Corinthians 14:1
Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire this love [make it your aim, your great quest]…
Before I walked with Jesus, I had hardened myself to others. I was hyper-critical, cynical, and uncaring about other people. After I had received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, the Lord emphasized to me the importance of living a lifestyle of love. I read 1 Corinthians 13 over and over again. I adopted 1 Corinthians 13:5 (Amplified) as my love gauge, my personal love thermometer: It takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
During that same time period of just coming to know Jesus intimately over 37 years ago, the Lord impressed Psalm 119:165 upon me. I knew that I must make this verse a passion of my life. It reads: Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them (KJV). I’ve made up my mind that regardless of what others do, I will not be offended. I’ve passed up some great opportunities for offence over the years!
Love enables us to overlook the petty faults, failures, and idiosyncrasies of others. Love acts as though others have done no wrong. It is a tall order to walk in love, but Jesus has commanded it, and we must obey!
Notice 1 Peter 4:8 (Amplified): Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].
Make a decision today that in 2014 ,you going to walk in love; that you’re not going to make mental lists of the wrongs done toward you; that you’re going to treat others as though they had done no wrong. Make a decision today that in 2014, you will refuse to take offence at anyone over anything! Make a decision today that in 2014, you’re going to love others fervently, and you’re going to forgive and disregard their offences! This love has nothing to do with feelings.
It’s a choice to honor Jesus and to obey His command of love, probably with no feelings in most instances! Be a lover in 2014!