Call to a Higher Life, Part 3
March 22, 2017
Fr. Dino M. Jorvina
I believe in my heart that God is going to use you to minister to families. We are a social being and we have associates in business. We have classmates, and we have community friends. God is going to use your words to minister life and for situations in families. I believe that the healing power of Christ will so transcend the lives and the situations. It is regardless of how bad the situation in families may be. We know that God is able to heal! God is able to save us and we just trust Him!
Let us make some declarations. The Bible says that the Spirit of God has given us the love of God. The love of God is God. It is He Himself, and knowing that the love of God has been shed in our hearts, we can make that confession that we have this love in our lives. Declare it with this song:
I’ve got the life of God in me
I’ve got the life of God in me
I’ve got His life and His nature and His ability
I’ve got the life of God in me
God gives us His love and we have to believe this in our hearts. The love of God that is stagnant in our hearts will do nothing unless we reach out to others. The purpose in our lives is found can be sung in this song:
Your love is to me like an overflowing stream; Your love is to me like an overflowing stream reaching out Lord, reaching out Lord.
Lord, I have Your love, yes, I have Your love; I have Your love to overcome.
Lord, I have Your love, yes, I have Your love, I have Your love to overcome.
God’s love in us gives us the power to be overcomers in every situation. It is always victory in Christ, but it takes a people who truly have their focus on Him and Him alone.
Tonight, turn our eyes on Him and allow Jesus to work and to speak through us.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
These past two Wednesdays, we have been in this Body-building Love series. The liturgical theme of our Church is: Building up Itself in Love – Discipleship through the Family. Each Session has taken its foundation from this theme. The source of this theme is in Ephesians 5:1, “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you.” This love is truly a call to a higher life. This is a love far different from what most conceive love to be.
For the first Session, Fr. Gary centered on the theme of “joy.” In 1Corinthians 13:6, it says that, “Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with truth.” This will not work with human type of love that is self-seeking and self-serving. St. Paul wrote to the Romans that love rejoices in hope and a lack of joy betrays a lack of hope and a lack of love. They were told that if they love, they will rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. For the body of Christ to be strong and built up, we must share each other’s joy and sorrow as well.
The purpose of sharing one’s joy is to help them to return to their place of joy. Only through divine love, which is sensitive to each other’s hurts and needs, can this happen. This is not what man is taught today.
Fr. Gary also showed a painting where students were supposed to look at the painting, but were busy looking at their notes in their phone and not at the artwork. He showed us a point that we are to look intently about things. Love looks intently. Love pays attention to something other than itself. Love is able to tell when someone is rejoicing or in sorrow and shares this experience. This is what makes a strong Body. Walk in the joy of love and help others to do so as well. The focus of Session One was joy. Love has joy in it, and it is not just a feeling.
For our second Session, Fr. Roberto shared about the purpose and the goal of the Season of Lent. It is for us to have the life of Jesus to become more evident. This life is the one that desires and pursues the well-being, the improvement, and the advancement of the life of others. Fr. Roberto focused on “patience.” 1Corinthians 13, St. Paul listed one attribute of love: love is patient. It is a virtue. Love is translated as being patient. Patient love is long-suffering. In Greek, it means forbearing, enduring love. This is the kind of patience that is directed to people, and the literal word is long-tempered.
Patient love is also persevering, patient love – a love that is directed to the circumstances of the events in our lives. Regardless of what we go through in life, love, as a substance of God in our lives, makes us endure. We become a people that can endure any kind of circumstance. Patient love brings us the resources, the provisions, and it gives us the ability we need to live a godly life. It is to live a life with the heart of Jesus – the “Corazon de Hesus.” It is the heart of divine mercy and love. Having the heart of Jesus is being able to love patiently.
Loving patiently takes place within us when we learn to walk in daylight. One of the things that I keep learning in my Christian walk is the disposition of delight. If we are immersed in the Word, regardless of the situation or whatever goes through in life, we will carry a disposition that is different from the world. We learn to wait in delight. We were given the example of Jacob who falls in love with Rachel and waited and served for seven years to get Rachel. It seemed only a few days for Jacob because of his love for Rachel. Love for God lasts forever.
Loving patiently also takes place when we learn to humble. The third thing that takes place when we love patiently is that we are devoted in prayer. Fr. Roberto said, “Hurry is the death of prayer.” There is a time when our quiet time is really immersed in the presence of God. We learned that natural hunger becomes a spiritual hunger. In the Penitential Season of Lent, we are taught to fast and abstain; and this creates in us a need to be physically hungry towards a spiritual hunger. We fast physically, so that we can long spiritually for the things of God.
Fr. Roberto shared about the prophetess Anna in Luke 2 where she never left the temple, but worshipped night and day fasting and praying. In Habakkuk 2:1-3, it shared about Habakkuk praying and standing on guard at the watchtower while waiting for the Lord’s answer. Don’t give up in prayer; persevere because this is what loving patiently is all about.
As I gave the word earlier, I believe that God will put people in your heart and God will use you to minister to them of strength and healing. What has touched me are families that are so reckoned with strife – husband and wife in disagreement; children rebelling against their families. We can identify with these, and probably we have friends who are in these situations. God will use you to be an agent of love and healing in their lives. Expect God to prompt this to you to minister to people in our realm of influence.
This is our third Session, and we will go into two virtues: kindness and self-control. The first attitude that we must develop in this love-walk is to imitate God. It seems like a very tall order for us like saying, “Let there be light!” How do we imitate God? In Jesus’ life, He saw what the Father was doing. In John 5:19, “Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.’”
In our lives today, the only way we can see what the Father is doing is through His Word. This is why we are called to immerse ourselves in the Word. We have this “Around the Word in Forty Days,” and it helps us be immersed in God’s Word. This is the only way we can actually see how God responds in situations, how God uses things, and therefore, we can now apply these things in the various situations in our lives. We know what Jesus would have done in certain situations. This makes it exciting because to imitate God is to imitate Him through His Word.
Love is kind, therefore, God is kind. 1Corinthians 13:4 (AMP) says, “Love is patient; love is kind.” Kind is defined as compassionate; benevolent; good. “Love is not jealous, does not brag and is not arrogant. Love endures long and is patient and kind; love is never envious nor boils over with jealousy; it is not boastful or vainglorious and does not display itself haughtily.” Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be without hypocrisy, abhorring evil and clinging to what is good.”
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” One of the very strong attributes of God is: God is kind. In the Old Testament books, we would have an impression that God is always an angry God like how He dealt with the children of Israel. Opposed to this is the reality that God is kind. In the New Testament, Jesus very strongly says, “When You see Me, You have seen the Father.” How do we explain the Old Testament through the eyes of the New Testament? Seeing the life of Jesus, we know that God is kind. We will never have any doubt when we go through the perils and think, “The Lord is punishing me,” or “The Lord is not pleased with me.”
The Benediction we receive says, “God is not angry with us.” Even though our minds and thoughts would think otherwise, the truth is God is kind. True kindness is built in God’s loving-kindness. In the Old Testament, one of the battle cries in Scripture is: God’s loving-kindness is everlasting. They are declaring that God is the kind-type of God. He loves us. He cares for us.
Having established that God is kind, it commands us to do likewise. As His children, we ought to be kind. We go through the pressures and stress of everyday life, and sometimes, we can be very, very unkind to people. There is a familiar saying, “You don’t know the battles of what people are going through in their lives.” This calls us just to be kind. As much as we desire people to be kind to us, we also ought to be kind. As God is kind, we ought to be kind, too.
The next virtue is to practice self-control. The Penitential Seasons of Advent and Lent are the best times to practice self-control. In reality, we cannot actually control ourselves. We have to choose to let God take control. It is not a matter of mind over body. There are many Eastern practices that make mind over body and I am not saying this is not effective. The only way that we can be a people of control is when we let God control our lives.
In 1Corinthians 9:24-27, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” We need to have self-control in all things. We get into peril because we lack self-control in things in life, but we need to practice self-control.
In Ephesians 5:15-18, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” We need the Holy Spirit to be our Helper. We need the gifts of the Holy Spirit in our lives. As Charismatics, I believe this is so important. Getting drunk is not only with wine, but it can pertain to money or having a good time with your friends but leading you to be rowdy. Be filled with the Spirit.
Related to practicing self-control is controlling our tongue. We perhaps get setbacks in our lives because we lack self-control with our tongue. Is there any wonder why we want the Holy Spirit to take control of our tongue? In Ephesians 5:1-10, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things, the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore, do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”
It is very important for us to control our tongue because we can be very careless with the things that we say. Immerse ourselves in the Word. The Word that is filled in our hearts, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouths speaks. The best evangelism is not showing how spiritual we are, but the way we respond to situations, the way we view things will make people see what kind of a person we are.
It is a call for us to be the holy people. It is not just holy in our behaviour, but being set apart. We are to be different. People may have differences in issues, but how we respond is very essential. The way we respond is what people will pick up from us. The way we view things will either minister or not minister to people around us. Evangelism is in the manner of how we speak. A person who has self-control will know what to do and what to speak at the right time and the right place.
In James 3:1-12, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4 Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.”
When we begin to walk in the gifts of the Spirit, we will allow the Lord to control our tongue. It may cause fire or damage in people’s lives, but the opposite is also great. With the tongue, we can bless people. With the tongue, we can speak life to the dead. With the tongue, we can give healing to the sick. With the tongue, we can give encouragement to those who are broken-hearted. With the tongue, we can minister to a person who perhaps will never listen to any other person.
As we are led by the Spirit, we speak truth that will set people free. Proverbs 25:11, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.” In Tagalog, I would say this as, “Nagdidilang anghel.” When we speak, it happens. During my college days, this teaching came very strongly to me. I would always encourage a sister in the Church and her classmates every time we would meet because they were so worried about their requirements. One time I said words to uplift them, she said, “Sana magdilang anghel ka.” Because I planted words of encouragement to her, she gained confidence and was able to apply for a course that she wanted.
In your life, I am sure that you ran across people and friends that just needed the hope. We have the hope because we walk in the love of God. At the right timing, we could say the right words in any given situation. The truth is not only with regards to giving good news. There are times, as a people of God that we have to speak the truth in love. In Proverbs 27:5-6, it says, “Better is an open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” The tongue, used in a rebuke, will always build. The tongue used to correct will always build another person. It is not destructive. It may be a painful rebuke, but if it is the truth, it will always build.
We are talking about love, called to a higher life, and if the truth is concealed, it is not really love. Love is something that just flows like a river in our lives, reaching out. In the Amplified version, it says, “Open rebuke is better than love that is hidden. Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
There is another danger in the use of the tongue, that is, the use of flattery or pleasing self-deception. In Proverbs 28:23, “He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favour than he who flatters with the tongue.” Flattery is like setting a trap to somebody. We always flatter people, but we have to be careful. It is one thing to encourage, but not to the extent of flattery beyond truth.
Talking about self-control of the tongue, remember that we have the power to minister life. The love walk would require us to have self-control. A person who is walking in love has self-control, including the tongue. Sometimes, we are careless with our words, and the only way that we can grow as a people is to allow God to take control of our tongue. We pray that our tongue would produce things of God to other people. We sing, “Your love to me is like an overflowing stream reaching out.” This is the reason we live and we sing. We let the love of God be experienced by other people.
Practice speaking in tongues. Instead of putting earphones, speak in tongues. With this practice, we allow God to use our tongues, so that wherever we go, God can use the things that we say.
A self-controlled life is the life of the wise. Why? God is calling us to be wise – not in our own intelligence or ability. James 3:13-18 says, “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behaviour his deed in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so life against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
A self-controlled believer is a life of the wise. God is calling us to be wise men, and in order to be such, we are to operate in the wisdom of God. We need that in this generation that is not anymore understanding of what is good and bad; what is righteous and unrighteous. It is all depending on how people perceive things. The standard is God is His Word. The standard of morality is not found in the opinion of a person, but in God’s Word. We need the wisdom of God. How do we know that we operate in the wisdom of God? The wisdom of God is first pure, then peaceable, gentle (being kind), reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy, and those whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
We are called to be wise men and women, not of our own intelligence, but with the wisdom from above. The Book of Proverbs shows the wisdom of God and studying this will help us to respond in life.
In Colossians 4:6, it says, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Let our words be seasoned with grace. Let this be a guideline in our lives. Before we speak, we should ask ourselves, “Will our words minister grace to those who would hear it?” If it’s a juicy tale about a brother or a sister, it is not going to minister but will cause strife. This is why God wants us to minister to the strife-stricken families because there are lot of them existing today in society. We are called by God to reach out to them.
One of the Cathedral of the King’s strength will always be in the strong families. This is what we want to promote, and is one of the tools for evangelism. Strong families within the Church will call people towards Christ. We are to minister grace to one another and allow God to use words to minister grace to one another.
The last point that I would to share in walking in love is walking in power and victory. When I talk about being kind, it can be misinterpreted as being a martyr. Walking in love is walking in power. Jesus is our prime example of walking in love. He walked in the love of God. He was God’s love to man. He always walked in obedience to God. They tried to throw Him off the cliff. People tried to take His life, but Jesus gave His life. You will never be a doormat if you walk in true love and kindness.
There may be seeming setbacks and defeats in our lives, but these are not failures. For in love, we have the victory. When we walk in love, kindness, and self-control, we will not become weak. To walk with God is to walk in the strength of Him. We would be patient; we would have the joy of God. It is walking in victory, walking in the love of God.
Let us dedicate ourselves to walking in love. Love is a very misused word in the world. God wants us to walk in His wisdom, to walk in His love that is kind to others. Let us dedicate our lives to be used by God. God will bring us to situations and He will use us to speak the Word of God to them. God may prompt us to talk to a complete stranger, and but just minister love to them.
Part 1 of 2 parts
Part 2 of 2 parts