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Trouble in our horizontal relationships can only be overcome by a proper vertical relationship with our heavenly Father. So before we can love others properly, we must first cultivate our love for God.

Now, when you hear the word cultivate, I'd like you to realize that it is you who will have to do something to make this thing come to pass. It is not something that you can pray and hope about and then wake up one day and find it is there. It is something you have to cultivate and deliberately work to develop.

To cultivate something means that you must work at it and work it.

For instance, if I want to pick collard greens out of my back yard, I have to do more than say, "Oh, dear God, I want some collard greens; please let 'em be in the back yard." No. I have to plant; I have to water; I have to cultivate. I have to keep the weeds out and do what's necessary to earn that harvest of collard greens.

When I've done all that's required to develop those plants, then I can eat the fruit of my labor. I can enjoy a mess of collard greens with my cornbread because I've cultivated my garden and worked to bring in a harvest.

And in the same way, we must actively cultivate the fruit of love towards the heavenly Father. Remember, we're talking about cultivating and developing love towards the heavenly Father first.

If we can develop a right vertical relationship with our Father in heaven, then we will establish simultaneously right horizontal relationships here on earth. In other words, if we can develop the correct relationship between man and God, then we will have no problem establishing correct relationships between man and man.

Our problem has been that we've tried to carry on horizontal relationships with other people without first establishing the vertical relationship with God. And that won't work.

It won't work, because God is love and the system won't work without Him. It's only as we learn to love God with the kind of love the Bible describes in 1 Corinthians 13 that we'll be able to apply this kind of love to our relationships with ourselves and with other people. It's only as we learn to love God that we will become able to love ourselves and others.

You can try to witness to certain people to get born again, and you'll say, "Jesus loves you. God loves you." But they say, "What has God ever done for me? If He loves me, then why am I in the mess I'm in right now? If He loves me, then why am I going through what I'm going through? God doesn't love me. Where is His love? How can you say God loves me?"

That's why it took me such a long time to get born again. The only reason I didn't get born again sooner was that I didn't know why I should love God. The only reason I could see was that people talked about it and they went to church. But it was just a religious practice to me. I saw no reason to get born again. I couldn't see where God did anything as far as I was personally concerned.

Now I see why I should love God - He died for me. He died for me before I was even formed into a thought. That's staggering. When I didn't even exist, He made a decision to die for me. Jesus died for me before I was formed into a thought.

He died for me. He died for you. Why would He die for you and for me? Because He loved us.

Source: How To Trouble Your Trouble by Creflo A. Dollar Jr.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishing

Author Biography

Creflo A. Dollar
Web site: World Changers Church International
Creflo Dollar is a founder and senior pastor of World Changers Church International (WCCI). He's a world-renowned Bible teacher, sought-after conference speaker, and bestselling author with hundreds of books, CDs, and DVDs in distribution worldwide. Recognized for his cutting-edge revelation and humorous, pragmatic approach, he enables thousands to experience grace, restoration, healing, and financial breakthrough by applying simple, biblical principles to their lives. He is the author of such game-changing books as "The Radical Life of Grace" and "Why I Hate Religion", and his award-winning Changing Your World television broadcast reaches nearly 1 billion homes. His ministry includes an app available on mobile devices and smart TV's, a dedicated YouTube channel, and the Changing Your World Network, a 24-hour online channel. A thriving social media presence has allowed him to connect with World Changers worldwide.

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