How Does Faith Work Through Love?
Galatians 5:6 (LEB)
6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love.
What does faith working through love mean? Have you ever asked yourself this question? The above verse tells us at least two important things: (1) that faith works through love; (2) that the only thing counting for something in Christ is that faith working through love. It seem there is a powerful relation between faith and love. Now, if you are a Christian like me who wants to see his faith working more effectively and yielding better results in holiness, healing the sick, raising the dead, and prosperity, then you will also be interested on how faith relates to love.
Possible Interpretations of Galatians 5:6
One possible interpretation of love’s role in the working of faith is that faith will work better the more I do the things that keep myself being loved by God and on His good side. Those things are abstaining from sin, prayer, worship, reading the word, etc. However, there are two problems with this interpretation that makes it invalid. The first big problem is self-righteousness or a righteousness based on works. Whenever God’s love towards me and the level of faith working in my life depends on how well I perform and on how holy I am, I have fallen from grace into a righteousness based on works. The second problem is that I can never know when I did enough of those godly things so that my faith would start working. I don’t have a real way of measuring my progress.
Another possible interpretation is that the more I love God and other people and the more I manifest love towards people, faith will start working better. However, me trying to love God and people is again a human work and the motivation for doing that can be ungodly. If I try to love God and people just so that my faith would produce more results (healing, prosperity, success, holiness, etc) and not just for the sake of loving them, then my motivation for love is corrupt. Moreover, I also have the problem of measurement. When do I know that my love towards people and God is enough to start seeing my faith working for instance in healing the sick or raising the dead? There is no way we can tell.
Another interpretation that I find more biblical is that faith will work better and better the more we keep ourselves aware on a regular basis of how much God loves us, irrespective of our performance and good deeds or level of ministry. 1 John 4:19 says that “we love because He first loved us.” We, the new creations in Christ, are able to love God and others only because He first loved us and only when we are aware of that love. If you are born again in Christ, you are God’s beloved no matter what. God likes you, God is in love with you. You are the apple of His eye. He is always on your side no matter how bad things seem to be in your life. Nothing and no one in this universe can make God love you less or separate you from that love (Romans 8:35-39). Being aware of this love in our whole being (mind, emotions, heart) on a regular basis is vital to our faith working and it’s a continuous source of life and peace.
Fear vs. Faith
1 John 4:18 (LEB)
18There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear includes punishment, and the one who is afraid has not been perfected in love.
Perfect love casts out fear. Being perfected in love drives out fear. Being perfected in love means being sure 100% in your whole being at all times that God loves you and He’s on your side in any circumstance and even in your sin or while you sin. If I think about my 3-year old son, there is nothing that I wouldn’t do to know that he is well and happy. I enjoy spending time with him and seeing him smiling and laughing. I buy his favorite food and toys, I take him to theme parks, just to see the joy on his face. His joy is my joy. I make sure he goes to the best school and does the best activities for his age. I provide for him the best and healthiest food, the best clothes. If the teachers from school call me to tell me that my son is not well or something happened to him, I immediately put everything on hold and go check on him or take him home. I want to know how he feels, what frustrates him, or why is he sad. I love hugging him and kissing him. I love snuggling him to bed. When I have to discipline or rebuke him, I do it, but with great difficulty because I don’t enjoy it at all. Now think about this: if I am like that with my son as a human father, how much more God loves us and is interested in every detail of our lives!!! He loves to see us laughing and being joyful. Many of us might not have had such a great experience with their earthly fathers. Some earthly fathers are abusive, violent, cold, or disconnected and never present. However, our heavenly Father is never like that.
What is fear? Fear is the opposite of faith, it’s faith in the negative circumstances. Fear shows up when in our minds and hearts we are not aware or sure of God’s love for us. Fear cannot coexist with faith or love. It’s either one or the other. One of the biggest strategies of the devil is to disconnect believers from that love, to make us, Christians, think in our minds and feel with our hearts that God is not on our side, that we are on our own, that God has forgotten about us, that God is too busy with other important things than to bother Himself with small trivial things that frustrate us, that God is too holy to even look at us, or that God is angry and upset with us for good reasons because we sinned too much to even expect God to still love us or help us. How does Satan accomplish that? The main way is through tempting us to sin. The moment we sin, our conscience automatically condemns us, although God and the Holy Spirit does not condemn us anymore. In that moment of sin, a gap is created automatically in our minds between us and God, we feel disconnected, and fear gets in. From that moment on, Satan can take a break because our conscience and ourselves will do the rest of the job for him. Another way that the devil uses to disconnect us from the awareness of God’s love for us is through daily innocent and reasonable distractions of all kinds and with anything other than the word of God for a prolonged time.
How to Keep Ourselves in Love?
When we are sure of God’s love for us, faith in the Word is released naturally out of our spirit without being forced. But how do we keep ourselves in that love on a regular basis? What should we do when fear creeps in and we feel disconnected from God and out of faith? We need to start ministering God’s love to ourselves, by declaring verses about God’s love for us or by meditating on them. For example, we should start saying things like: “I am God’s beloved”, “nothing and no one will separate me from God’s love”, “God likes me no matter what I did”, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ”, “I am free of condemnation forever”, ”fear has no place in my life because as Christ is so am I in this world”. Or along the same lines we could start thanking God for His goodness and faithfulness: “thank You Father that You are always faithful to me, You are always good to me, You are full of goodness, mercy, and grace towards me”, “thank You Lord that You always have the best intentions for me, that You are never tempted to do evil to me”, “thank you God that You will never forsake me or let me fall”, “thank you Father that You are always on my side, You always make me triumph in Christ and be victorious and successful”. Another way of ministering God’s love to us is by rejoicing in the Lord and beginning to praise Him, focus on Him, and fill ourselves with the Holy Spirit as Ephesians 5:18 tells us. Another powerful way in which we keep or bring ourselves back in the love of God is by regularly praying and singing in tongues. Jude 20-21 tells us this:
Jude 20–21 (LEB)
20But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith, by praying in the Holy Spirit,
21keep yourselves in the love of God, looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.
When we pray in tongues, we build ourselves in faith and keep ourselves in the love of God. We keep ourselves being aware with our hearts of God’s love for us and that changes everything. That is the power of love unleashing faith in our lives instead of fear. One of the main purposes of our daily devotional time is not to feel ourselves spiritual, or to fulfill a godly duty. It is rather to refresh in our minds that sense and awareness that God is with us, God is on our side, and we are not on our own. That is always true in the spiritual world according to the Word of God. However, with our minds we tend to think carnally and fleshly and we always need to come back to thinking according to the spirit, according to the true reality of things and not according to what we see, feel, or hear.
One of the greatest needs of us humans, that when fulfilled it unleashes unimaginable joy, energy, creativity, and strength to overcome any obstacle that life may put in our path, is the need of being accepted and loved by others or by someone. That is why, when are in love with someone of opposite sex, we feel like flying, like we can conquer the whole world. However, when the most powerful person in the universe accepts and loves us unconditionally and forever, irrespective of our failures, shortcomings and mistakes, and when we are aware of that love, then our life here on earth becomes supernatural all together. We start living at a completely different level of peace, rest, joy, power than the rest of the world.
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