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How much do we really know about love? We've talked about it. We're familiar with all the scriptures about it. And we've heard so many sermons about it that, if we're not careful, we'll just let them flow in one ear and out the other.

But in spite of all that, most of us don't know the first thing about the real power of love.

Did you know, for example, that walking in love is good for your health? That's right! I saw a documentary that focused on stress. It explained that researchers had discovered there are two kinds of stress. The first is the kind you experience when you're working hard to achieve something, pressing yourself to reach a goal. That kind of stress, they said, is natural and good. It doesn't hurt you. The second kind of stress, however, has such a negative effect that it's physically dangerous.

Do you know what they said causes that kind of stress? Hostility. Or, failing to walk in love.

Now when you think of hostility, you may think of the type of anger you feel when something serious happens, but according to this program, that kind of thing isn't what really causes the problem. It's the little things. When the dry cleaners ruin your favorite outfit, for example. Or when the cafeteria lady puts gravy on your mashed potatoes after you've specifically told her not to.

In short, what researchers have discovered is what God has been telling us all along. We need to be living in love.

Isn't that something? God is so smart. And the longer I walk with Him, the more I realize that everything He instructs us to do is for our good. He's not trying to improve our behavior. He just wants us to experience the very best He's got.

Think about that. When you're yielding to the fruit of the spirit, you're going to be enjoying the best God has to offer: Love - peace - joy. The whole world is chasing after those things. People are trying to reach out and get them through drugs and alcohol and immorality. But they can't do it.

The fruit of the spirit doesn't come from the outside in. They flow from the inside out. But how do you get them to flow? Jesus told us in John 15:4-5. There He said:

"Dwell in Me and I will dwell in you. Live in Me and I will live in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me (cut off from vital union with Me) you can do nothing" (AMP).

The fruit of the spirit is the natural byproduct of the supernatural life within you. And that supernatural life doesn't come from obeying a set of rules. It comes from a vital union with Jesus. It comes as we fellowship with Him.

Years ago a great man of God who knew personally this kind of intimate relationship with Him, wrote that he'd once asked God to show him the key to living perpetually in this supernatural flow. The Lord was quick to respond, saying, Go in My love. Give My love to everybody, and I'll go with you.

Love was the thing God told him it would take to stay in the flow of the Spirit all the time. That's because love is the very foundation of the higher life. You'll never walk very far with Jesus of Nazareth unless you begin to walk in love. That's not hard to understand, really.

The Bible says God is love. That's His being, His nature. And since He is the vine and we are the branches, we must have that same nature flowing through us.

Please understand though, I'm not talking about the kind of love you see on television or in the movies. I'm talking about the God-kind of love. The kind of supernatural love described in 1 Corinthians 13. The kind of love that loves when nobody loves back. It's hallmark is unselfishness. It joyfully sacrifices itself for the benefit of the loved one. Take a look at this:

"Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy.... 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, pays no attention to a suffered wrong" (vv. 4-5 AMP).

Imagine the benefits of living like that. What would happen to stomach ulcers and tension headaches if we never paid any attention to a suffered wrong? They'd disappear! How much stress would we avoid if we were quick to forgive?

You see, our bodies weren't made to live with hostility flowing through them. They were designed to live according to love.

Fear is another thing that causes great physical damage. We weren't designed to live with that either, for the scripture says perfect love casts out fear! (1 John 4:18).

The Bible also says, "Love never fails" (1 Cor. 13:8 AMP). So when you start living in love, you won't fail!

In the light of those overwhelming benefits, why don't all of us constantly live lives of love? Very often, it's because we're still wrapped up in old, worldly habits of thinking and reacting. We continue to live from the outside instead of from the inside where God (Who is love) dwells.

Do you remember the account in John 11 of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead? If you'll go back and read it, you'll see that when Jesus stood before the tomb, He called out, "Lazarus, come forth!" Sure enough, Lazarus came forth. But the Bible says he was still bound up. The grave clothes were wrapped around him. So Jesus said, "Loose him, and let him go!"

That's a good illustration of our situation. When we were born again, our spirit man came forth. We were born of God. But the self-centered habits we had acquired while living under the law of sin and death were still in place. They still had us bound.

Well, Jesus wants the same thing for us that He wanted for Lazarus. He not only wants us alive, He wants us free! He wants us walking in love because that's the only way the new life He's put within us can get out!

When we walk in love, we step out of the natural realm into the supernatural. Nothing can hold us back anymore. But the grave clothes, those deadly habits of unforgiveness, impatience, irritation and selfishness, have got to go.

Do you want to be free from the habits of hostility that have you bound? Then say the same thing Jesus is saying. Get into agreement with Him and say to each one of those deadly habits, "Loose me and let me go! I will go on with God. I refuse to be held down. I will walk in love. I put hate and unforgiveness and selfishness behind me. I will go forward in the power and the glory of God. So, loose me and let me go!"

It doesn't take weeks or months to switch over from natural to supernatural living. For a born-again follower of Jesus, all it takes is a decision to yield to the force of love. After all, God has already placed it within you. But love won't do any good if you keep it locked inside.

"Put on the new man created after God," the Bible says. Don't leave him trapped inside. Bring him to the outside. Dare to release what God has put within you. Strip off those grave clothes and live the life He has called you to live.

Dare to step into the supernatural. Dare to give yourself over to love.

Excerpt permission granted by
Eagle Mountain International Church, Inc.
aka:  Kenneth Copeland Ministries

Author Biography

Gloria Copeland
Web site: Kenneth Copeland Ministries
For the last 50 years Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have been passionately teaching Christians all over the world how to apply the principles of faith found in God's WORD to their lives.

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