“You Must Learn Love” Nita Johnson
“YOU MUST LEARN LOVE”
I would like to talk with you about a very important subject: Love. This is what He is after. There is no higher blessing, no higher calling, and no higher gift appropriated than to become a true Christian. Someone might say, “Wait a minute. What do you mean by a true Christian?” There are those who get saved, and they never let their carnality go. That is not what it means to be a true Christian. God is looking for integrity. O God. I just saw a vision. He is looking for a heart that is aglow with the Spirit of God.
May I tell you what I think one of the greatest sins is in people who walk the face of the earth in Christ? It is one word: self. The life of self. How in the world do you get away from that sin? Paul saw it so deeply. He was in such a fettered state, he did not know what to do with himself. He realized that at the core of it all was the most ugly thing he had ever seen; self. But one of the most beautiful things that God looks upon is a heart aglow with His Spirit.
1 Cor 13:1-3 Amp. If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.
Aren’t those words strong? They are so powerful. It is the conviction of the wrong, and a tremendous invitation for the right. So many in the Church lust after prophetic powers, and I do not think that is wrong. It has its place, but the highest is love.
1 Cor 13:4-8 Amp. Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It 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 [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
Isn’t the phrase “superseded by truth” wonderful? I like that.
1 Cor 13:9-13 Amp. For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect). But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded). When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God]. And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Cor 14:1 Amp. Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), especially that you may prophesy (interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching).
Eagerly pursue love. It is not a sin to desire to be used in the gifts. God has given them to us for our use to minister to and to bless others. He wants us to desire the gifts. Most of all, desire prophecy because prophecy opens up the things of the kingdom. But above prophecy is love.
All week, the Lord has been speaking to me about love. We are coming into a time in our nation when our nation needs to see love from the Church. Do you know that every human being has been given a measure of faith? The Bible tells us that, doesn’t it, in Romans 12:3. Every human being has also been given a measure of love. Everyone. When someone says, “I can’t love you,” they are making a choice to give the devil something that God already gave them. They are making a choice to give up love—the very gift that God gave them—and to place it into the hands of the devil.
We have to come to a place where our zealous desire is love. We have to recognize it, see it, and chase after it. Do you know that you cannot have the deep things of God without love? It is the one thing that will prohibit your ascension in God if you do not have it. So this Christian walk must be exercised to seek after and pursue the greatest gift of all, and that is love. We must pursue love for God, and love for our fellow man. John said:
1 John 4:20 Amp. If anyone says, I love God, and hates (detest, abominates) his brother [in Christ], he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, Whom he has not seen.
So here we are standing at this edifice that we have created in our hearts, and we are called to make a decision every day: will we learn love? God has put someone in your life to teach you love. Who is that person? He has put someone in your life to teach you how to overcome self. Who is that person whom we really do not want to love? It amazes me as a minister to talk to someone who wants to be in the ministry. I say to them, “You need to learn how to love this person.” They say, “No,” and they walk away believing that they can fulfill their call with stubbornness in their heart. They will not learn love if it is inconvenient, but they want to be a servant of God. This is amazing to me. How can someone want to be a minister and not want to exercise the gift that made Christ so great? Love must be supreme.
Can I tell you why people do not want to love? It is going to shock you, I think. If I do not want to love, it is because I love gold more than God. If I refuse to humble myself that His love may be released through me, it is because I have chosen the things of this earth over God.
May I tell you that passions have colors in the Spirit realm. They also have a smell or a fragrance in the realm of the Spirit. If you choose a virtue, then the colors and the smells are fragrant. Those colors are similar to the pastels of the rainbow. If you choose negative passions such as jealousy, anger, resentment, or to be critical of someone rather than love, the colors you emit are not brilliant, but they are colors with gray or a soot-like color mixed in with them. Instead of a pure, luminous green, the green appears more like a grayish green. It is very unattractive. Do you know who sees these colors? The Spirit realm. So if you are saying nothing, but you are fuming inside, what color are you emitting? You are emitting colors from darkness. The Spirit world sees those colors, and they are drawn to them.
You also emit smells into the Spirit realm. For instance, fear has its own smell. Anger has its own smell. Lust and covetousness each have smells. They are smells from hell. May I just be blunt? The Spirit realm smells those odors. They see the color, they smell the odor, and the evil spirits are drawn. That is why sometimes you can get in an argument with someone, and you are just a little angry, but within minutes you feel like you are going to explode with rage. It is because you have been visited by many evil spirits that have been drawn to you through these colors and these smells.
There are also spirits that watch you, called watchers. They watch your every move. They watch your eyes. The eyes are the windows of the soul. If the spirits, for example, are trying to get you to commit adultery, they will stage things in your life to get you into a rebellious state. Then they watch to see what you will do with it. If you are a man, and you and your wife have a fight, they will send thoughts through your mind and watch to see how you respond. They look to see if there is a time when you will seriously, even for a moment, think about adultery. The minute they see that glimmer—even if it only lasts for thirty seconds—they know where your weakness is. They will begin to take advantage of it until they finally get you to fall for adultery. This is true for male or female. If you have a weakness in the area of money, and you take money that does not belong to you—maybe twenty cents here, thirty cents there, a dollar, or ten dollars—they watch. They observe what makes you do it, when do you do it, and how do you do it. They look at how long you might contemplate doing it before you do it. Then they begin to set up circumstances until they have you stealing more and more. They are called watchers.
Why am I telling you this? Because the evil kingdom does not want you loving. If you love, you overcome. If you do not love, you are overcome. They do not want a Church who will fight to overcome in love. They will try to stop you from loving with all they have because they get in big trouble if they do not prevail.
Everything that comes into your life—both good and bad—is put there as a brick of decision. Will I choose Christ, or will I choose self? If you choose Christ, you will fight for love. If you choose self, then you will fight for self.
Now we are coming into a time and a season in the body of Christ and in America where you really want to walk in love because in love is the strength of grace. In grace is the power to overcome all things. Choosing to love will give you grace, strength, and spiritual virtue. Virtue, in turn, will give you spiritual stamina. God will let you endure many trials in life if you have the noble hunger to know Christ. Why? Because in the trials, He develops love if you will let Him. If you will not, you will not know the deep things of God because love is the only thing that is strong enough to carry them.
In the bosom of love you will find the seed of humility. This is a very high and noble thing in the eyes of God. The Bible says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3) How can you walk with Christ unless you agree with Him? If you do not love with the love of Christ, you are not agreeing with Him. His formative and powerful love will lead you into places you cannot go by yourself. Without love, you will not even recognize them as God’s paths.
Love is a force. Do you want to know how to change a man’s heart? Love him. Do you want to know how to change a sister’s heart? Love her. Do not preach at them. Let your actions of virtue do the talking. Let your actions of humility do the walking, and the message will come home.
About thirty years ago, I went to a service, and the person who was preaching called me out of the audience. He said to me, “I see a clock, and I see a pair of hands that are tearing the clock apart until they have all the parts laid out on the table. Then the hands pick up the clock and start looking at every part.” He exclaimed, “That’s what you do with God! You seem to need to understand every part of Him.” I started crying because it was so true. Then he said, “I see another thing about you. You have determined in your heart, for whatever reason, that you are going to learn the love of Christ before you go home to heaven. You are going to learn how to walk in the love of Christ. Because of that, the enemy has asked to sift you to try to stop your ascent in love.” He paused for a moment, and then he said, “But you’re going to win. It is because you have really determined to do that.”
So the enemy knows who is really willing to make the choice. But God limits the enemy’s intrusion to that for which He has given you the grace to overcome. Nothing can enter into your life that Jesus has not approved. He has to approve it before He will allow it. Most will never make it even halfway up the mountain because they will not take responsibility for their behavior. They always want to blame it on someone else. I hurt when people make those kinds of decisions because no one wins. Most of all, the Lord cannot win.
He says that the most important thing is what—praying in tongues? Being a martyr? He says the most important thing of all is love. Every time that you are challenged by the person or the situation that God has placed in your life, He has done it. Jesus has done it. Is there someone that you do not like in your life? I want you to know that Jesus has placed them there. Is there a circumstance that you do not like in your life? Jesus allowed that to come to you because He wants to build in you the integrity of love. He wants to do that to make you a shining example of Christ in the earth. He wants you to become the glory and the representative beauty of His grace. Isn’t that exciting?
Many years ago, my brother went home to be with the Lord at about sixteen years of age. He was in a terrible car accident and was killed instantly. Before he went home to be with the Lord, he had a tumor on the pituitary gland and underwent surgery to remove the tumor. This was many years ago, and at that time, that type of surgery left the patient with many afflictions as side effects of the surgery. The tumor would have to cause so many problems that it would warrant what you would end up with to remove it. So my brother suffered with many maladies as a result of that surgery. For example, in Michigan, where we grew up, it is very hot and humid in the summer. It can be miserable. My brother had no sweat glands, and if the temperature rose above seventy-five degrees, he had to sit in a tub of water. I could go on and on because the effects of this surgery left him in complete physical misery. But Kenny was so kind to everyone. The tumor had caused him to stay very small and also very temperamental. To correct this, he was given hormones so that he would grow. The hormones caused more problems, one of which was obesity. He became obese and tall. People made fun of him all of the time because of his weight. But his kindness would always win them over. When he died, his funeral was the largest funeral in the history of the city of Pontiac. Kenny had loved so completely with such kindness that he had learned Christ.
After he was taken in the automobile accident, I asked the Lord, “Why did You take him so young? We hardly got to know him.” His answer was very simple: “He learned Christ at a very young age.” All of his sufferings had created the image of Christ. Everyone knew it, and everyone loved it.
Our trials are allowed or given for the purpose of creating Christ within. If we cooperate, Christ will be created within. If we feel sorry for ourselves and do not cooperate, we will become ugly, cantankerous, and constantly challenging. You just become someone that no one likes. But moreover, you will become something that Jesus does not like, and that is the worst of all. Jesus wants to love you; He wants to teach you how to love. May I be very honest with you? We are going through a time when every fiber in you is going to be touched and stretched. You do not have to look to money to survive it because that is not the answer. The Lord spoke to me many years ago. He said that the ones to whom He will look to save and uphold in this difficult time will be those who have developed the virtues of Christ. The reason for this is because if you have not learned the virtues, you need to learn them. He will let you struggle until you pull away from all of the negative forces in your character and in your personality that have held you back from Jesus. Amen?
Lord Jesus, how we love You. We love the way You are. We do not want to be a clanging gong or a worthless nobody in the Church. We look to certain things that we do, or certain things that we give, and somehow we think we are going to buy your favor, but our character is in a serious condition. We see a little bunny, and our heart is pulled within us to touch, to pet, to cuddle, and to love it. Yet there are people in our world whom we do not want to love. We stubbornly cling to our pride and will not learn the way of Christ. How many there are in Your body, Lord, that love animals but do not like people. When we arrive home, You will congratulate us for our love for animals, but the crown which we would have received for loving people will be withheld.
When we look at what You have done for us, Lord, it calls out of us the most noble sacrifice of loving the unlovable. We stand at the foot of the cross, and we see how You suffered for us when we were estranged from You. We did not love or desire You. It calls out of us nobility, greatness, and excellence in Christian virtue. Lord Jesus, when someone hurts us, we are called to think about their need more than our own and to love and pray that You will do what is needed for them. Hate is a force; love is a force. A critical spirit is a force; a generous spirit is a force. Teach us to walk in those things that speak most about Christ.
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord, I come to You. Teach me how to love, Lord. Teach me to walk with You. Nothing I have is mine; all things are Yours. Call me to come and love. Call me to be one with You.
Lord, let Your Spirit touch our hearts and deal with them. Help us not to hold on. Help us not to let pride harden our hearts, Lord. Help us to look at ourselves squarely. Am I like Him? If I am not like Him, where do I lack? What is it I need? What must be changed? What must I repent of, Lord? Show me those things that weaken me in Christian virtues.
Open your heart before God. Let’s be really honest. Help us to be broken before You, Lord, for there is nothing more beautiful than a heart that is broken and contrite over sin. Lord, there are some that have been deeply hurt, and they need Your grace to forgive. Help them, Jesus, to lay that person on the altar and to choose love. Let Your conviction flow, Lord, like honey upon our hearts. Give us faith, hope, and love so that we can overcome. We want to be strong in the days ahead, Lord. Let love become the foundation of our ways. Help us to repent of pride, jealousy, bitterness, a critical spirit, stubbornness, resentfulness, and unforgiveness. Help us to repent of this thing that says, “I will not love my sister or my brother.” Help us to let go of this thing that refuses to reconcile and to instead choose forgiveness. We will be healed when we quit judging, Lord, and we take responsibility for our behavior.
You are the very essence of love, Lord, the very beauty of love personified. You are our example of love. It is possible because in You, all things are possible. Give us strength to do what is right. Lord, we need grace and humility. We need that part in You that enables us to stand with the nobility of love in the face of the one who challenges us. Help us to see, Lord, that at times we can be so self-centered that we cannot see the forest for the trees. We need the grace of love for the sake of compassion and mercy. Help us to overcome this mountain of self and to choose the beauty and the humility of Christ. Help us to choose love.
I will never forget the day that Jacob met Esau, his archenemy. He said to him, “My brother, to see your face is as if I had seen the face of God.” (Gen 33:10) Jacob had come full circle, Lord. He went through years of much suffering, being cheated and swindled. Everything he had done to Esau was done to him until he could come to a place of saying to his brother and his worst enemy, “Seeing you is like seeing the face of God.” Help us, Lord. Help us to understand Christ. Help us to embrace You and Your beauty. Help us to forgive. In His precious name. Amen.
God is love. Will we be love? What makes Jesus so beautiful? Is it not His love? To be loved by Him—isn’t that what we desire in Him more than anything? What He desires more than anything is to let you know experientially His love. He wants you to know the way He sees and the way He feels.
Jesus, You are love. I see a vision of a red rose. It started out as a rose bud, and then its petals began to unfold. As the petals opened and curled back, it became gold. The Bible says that the words of the Lord are tried and purified seven times over. (Ps 12:6) I think His love is also tried. He is looking to bring you forth as pure gold. There is a beautiful passage in Job:
Job 23:10 Amp. But He knows the way that I take [He has concern for it, appreciates, and pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold [pure and luminous].
He is looking for the roses that He can bring forth pure and luminous. Praise the Lord.
Father, I release each one who is reading this into Your care. I pray that You will give them victory in all areas concerning their soul and that they may in this lifetime walk as Christ walked. In Your precious name, heal them. Let them feel the joy of their salvation. We love You, Lord. In Jesus name. Amen.
In His Love,