Oh, River Of Love, Flow From The Heart Of God To My Heart
He will show the dark parts that you have hidden away that others must not see. There was a time when in my heart there were dark corners, sins which I just whispered to God, but they were still there. I knew if my heart were made of glass, and others could look in, they would see things that would make me hang my head in shame. If you were made of glass, and I could look in, would it bring a blush? I used to tell my fellow Christians of my victories, but my defeats I hid, and whispered to God. When we prayed together, I told the good things, until a day came when God said, "You are dishonest. You are deceiving your fellow workers. You are willing to walk in the light with Me, but you are walking in the dark with others. Won’t you tell them?"
A night came when I brought them out not caring what it cost. I wanted a life of power. Some one may ask, "Are you not sorry that you brought out sin with God and man?" No, I am glad. Many souls have come to me since that night with hidden need, and God was able to meet them. Do you want a life of power? Then pray this prayer, not – "Lord, give me power," but "Lord, give me Thy searchlight to show me what is keeping out Thy power."
When Isaiah longed for the life of power the searchlight fell first. Isaiah was a prophet, a child of God, and yet he needed it. Do you know what happened when it fell? He fell on the ground and cried out, "Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips" (Isa. 6:5). He did not hide his sin; he wrote it in a book for us to read, to make us honest. He wanted honesty, so a living coal touched his lips, and he was cleansed. If the searchlight falls into your heart you too will fall down and cry out. When the searchlight has fallen, power will fall; when power has fallen the fruit of love will follow in our lives.
Lovelessness, One of My Sins
If there were no blood, no cross, I would not have spoken; rather would I have hung my head in shame, because lovelessness was one of my sins. Across the classroom where I taught there was often written not love, but impatience; I wonder whether a week passed without my being impatient. I was ashamed to tell the students that Jesus could give a life of victory. They would have said to me, "Why do not we see that life in you? Why do we see anger sometimes, or impatience? Your lips tell us of the love of God, but your life tells us of anger." I often wept while those girls were asleep, shedding tears over my impatience, because I knew I was failing God.
Is that sin in your life? Does God see that your heart is broken over it while others sleep? Or does it never bring tears? If you want a life of power, first find the life of love.
One night God showed me there was blood to cleanse such a loveless heart as mine. He poured in His love, a love not my own, but coming from Calvary. I went back to the same classroom, the same circumstances, but life was different! Before that time when I failed Him day after day, when the summary of my life in the classroom was impatience, often I would fall down at His feet and say, "Lord, forgive me, I have been impatient again. I cannot look up. I have failed on the same point."
And then a tender hand, a blood-marked hand lifted me on to Calvary, and love flooded my life. The girls did the same things, but I interpreted them differently. Oh, the difference! The atmosphere now was love; the simplest commands were given in love. Sometimes I would stop for a moment just to worship God for the consciousness of His presence among us. And revival came to that classroom.
God is going to weigh each life. Will the verdict be, "Weighed and found wanting in love" – the love that is written on the expression of the face, in the tenderness of the voice, in choice of words and treatment of others. The tender language is love, the loudest language is love. You may be praying daily, faithfully for one, but if they hear the language of impatience from your life – you will be the hindrance to your own prayers! When once you have learned the secret of love, the same tests will come, but you will interpret them differently.
The Kindness of Love
"Love worketh no ill to his neighbor" (Rom. 13:10); and "Love…is kind" (1 Cor. 13:4). True love understands.
There you learn the kindness of love that understands that stubborn relative, or roommate, or servant, or child. Love that is kind to the one who is not kind to you! Has your life won the love of those who are not good and kind to you? Look for tokens of love to show that one. "I will win her love because she must see in me the love of God."
Love to the person that is unreasonable; love that gives when it is undeserved; love that can love those who, you feel, are preaching a wrong doctrine – to love them even if they differ; to love those who do not understand you, for perhaps you do not understand them either. There on Mount Calvary you learn to love Him, and loving Him you love others. When they treat you unkindly you take it as a love gift from God to give love for His sake.
If you only love those that love you, what do you more than others? Do not the publicans even the same? Will your life stand the love test? Shall we test ourselves with those who treat us well? No, it costs nothing to love those who treat us well. His standard is to be kind to the one who wrongs us. "Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you" (Luke 6:27-28). Do you do good to them that hate you? Do you ever go out of your way in order to be kind to the one who is never kind to you? God is looking for such deeds. Are you the intercessor for those?
Two things were of great help to me once when I was reminded of one who was unkind to me. The temptation came not to love her. But as I looked at her deeds I saw a hand being placed over those deeds, and as I looked at the hand I saw the wound-mark, and to look at unkind deeds through a wounded hand was enough to melt my heart. Thus melted by His love, I wanted to love her.
And so, remembering that she was a child of God, I remembered that she loved the Lord Jesus even if she believed that one could not have a clean heart. So I said to Him, "Lord, for the sake of her Friend whom she loves, I want to love her."
One of the truest tests – as to whether or not you are sanctified indeed – is if you love those who wrong you, and are tender with those who are hard with you.
The Love That Forgives
The love that forgives is an all-pardoning love. "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye" (Col. 3:13).
The love that forgives does so before the offender has asked for pardon. A husband went to his wife to make restitution and ask for forgiveness, but before he could ask, she said, "You are forgiven." Is yours the love that forgives, or the kind that says, "I cannot forgive"? Is there someone against whom you bear a grudge? Have you forgiven everybody, even the one who treated you most unjustly, and the one who betrayed you, or the ones who have never come to tell you they are sorry?
Or do you know in your heart there is an unforgiving spirit, and you can never feel the same toward that one again? "Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you" (Eph. 4:32). "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses" (Mark 11:26).
An all-forgiving love will find that there is no one whom it cannot forgive. Oh, what we miss when somewhere in our hearts there is something against another which we have not fully forgiven or forgotten!
I remember a child of God came to me because her heart was not satisfied. Somehow she could not take what God had so lovingly provided on the cross – blood to cleanse and to cover. I could not discover the hindrance. Then suddenly I asked, "Is there by any chance someone whom you have not forgiven?" "Yes, and I never will. She came between me and my husband, and two months ago my husband died." For the human heart it was a hard thing to forgive.
Then I showed her that God could not forgive her (Mark 11:25), and I reminded her of another heart, how the arrows of her sins had shot into it and caused it to bleed, until there was no blood left.
So I said, "Will you not forgive for the sake of that love; for the sake of your greater debt?" (Matt. 18:21-35). On her knees she said, "Lord, I forgive her, and forgive me for not having forgiven her sooner, and I will go to her and ask her to forgive me because I have been forgiven." That was Calvary love. When you have been forgiven, it is easy then to ask others to forgive you. A love constrains you to go and put it right! Oh, the pain we spare others when we learn to love!
An All-Forgetting Love!
Love consumes the very remembrance of those who have wronged you, harmed you, treated you unjustly. Cannot the God who has enough water to wash all the shores of all the world twice a day wash it out of your heart?
An All-Covering Love
"Love covereth all sins" (Prov. 10:12), and "He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends" (Prov. 17:9). "Above all things have fervent love among yourselves: for love shall cover the multitude of sins" (1 Pet. 4:8).
Is yours the love that covers the sin in others’ lives, telling no one; or do you talk about it? Then your lips bear the marks of sin. When your brother exposes your faults what should you do, expose his? No. Keep silence? No, go and expose his good points. He has spoken evil of you, you speak well of him in return. Is it a love that covers the faults of a difficult nature? Somehow love finds it hard to criticize. Oh, I think that of all the inventions of the devil to rob, to drain us of power, this is his masterpiece. The lips that criticize and then pray will find there is a lack of power. The lips that criticize and then preach will find there is a lack of tenderness. The lips that criticize and then testify will find there is a lack of response.
Love is faithful. "Open rebuke is better than secret love" (Prov. 27:5-6). Faithful are the wounds of a friend. "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone" (Matt. 18:15; Lev. 19:17). When I do discover faults in another, God gives a reproving love – the love that will understand and be kind to that difficult one, not overlooking the wrong, but being firm and faithful, and yet loving and kind. Pray with them.
When love sees something wrong it does not discuss it with the dearest friend, but speaks to that one alone. It is one of the hardest things to do. And when you speak, that one will see it costs you pain. A good cause may be lost by the way you speak.
The language all people understand, even those with whom we work, is the language of love, that love that covers the fault but reproves the guilty one. But such Calvary love must come into your heart before you go to them, that it will bring you greater pain to give the reproof than for that one to receive it. If you can easily discuss the shortcomings and sins of any; if you can speak in a casual way even of a child’s misdoings, then you know nothing of Calvary love. The faithfulness of love will not break confidence!
The Longsuffering Love
"Forbearing one another" (Eph. 4:2). Love is patient. One said to me of her fellow worker, "I just cannot be patient with her; she is so inconsiderate, wanting her own way, noisy when we want rest, comes late to meals, etc." I replied, "You have not learned the secret of love. Love is patient when others are impatient." When God met her need and filled her with love, she came again and said, "How can I make up to that one for my impatience?"
An All-Conquering Love
Love will get on well with those who do not treat it well, with difficult people. Oh, how it must grieve God to see His children not getting on well together! A missionary came to me for a talk and told me how hard it was to get on with her fellow worker. When I saw her again she said, "We have decided to live in separate houses, and now we get along much better." I said, "Oh, what you have missed! You have robbed your own soul of God’s school of discipline." Her immediate problem remained unsolved. The love that can fit in with a difficult nature was not there!
The Love That Returns Good for Evil
"Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head" (Rom. 12:20). Love pays back, not in the same coin, but in a richer coin, no matter what is deserved (see David and Saul, 1 Sam. 26:8-16; Joseph, Gen. 45:4-8; 50:15-21).
The Unselfishness of Love
Love "seeketh not her own" (1 Cor. 13:5). When you have found the life of love, you will forget your own interests, and remember the interests of others. Is yours the love that forgets self, and gives the best to others? How many disputes would never arise if this were practiced!
The Honesty of Love
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another" (Rom. 13:8). "Speaking the truth in love…" (Eph. 4:15). "Lie not one to another" (Col. 3:9). A missionary, broken under conviction of sin, came to the place of honesty after she had unburdened her heart. She called the nurses together and said, "I have been dishonest. I preached a message that was not my own." Not only must we be honest in that straightforward way, but honest when subtle temptations creep in. If we do not live a transparent life with God and man – others will get a far better impression of our life than we have a right to!
As you have been open with victories, so be open with defeats. "Nothing to hide" should be characteristic of the child of God. A translucent gem is the only thing that never casts a shadow. Can you say, "If my life were written across the skies, I would have nothing of which to be ashamed"? Sometimes a double motive comes in; if so, bring it out in the light.
A child of God came to me one night and said, "I have victory in every sphere but one." One great fetter held her, but when she had been honest about it, and brought it out, I showed her the true color of the sin and then the remedy that never fails – the blood of Jesus Christ. Somehow the power of secrecy was broken. God set her free, and she confessed, "A week ago I took a meeting and spoke on ‘The coming of the Lord draweth nigh’ (Jas. 5:8). I was not ready myself and stood before them as a hypocrite; I will go back and tell them that I preached to them and was not ready myself." When you climb Mount Calvary, your life becomes an open life as it never was before, and you will be honest also in the little things.
The Humility of Love
When you have learned to love, your life will become a humble life. Love will stream out of it. Then you will take it graciously if you are corrected, even though you may not be corrected graciously. You have learned the law of humility. You have learned to be least, as well as how to put things right with others. (Read John 7:37-39).
Love will take correction. It will take suggestions. Humility has surrendered all her rights to be consulted, honored, respected, obeyed; and therefore it takes kindly all that is contrary. Love will take the second and the twentieth place victoriously, letting others get the gratitude for what it has done. The straight path that leads up is the path that leads down. When you are in the place God wants you, you will see the blessing flowing to others. Oh, a river of love is flowing from the heart of God today for the life of His defeated child!
With bleeding heart does He love! With crushed hand will He unbend your fetters, even if your defeats are bringing infinite pain to the heart of God. The moment you are willing, He will forget His pain and give balm to heal your wounds and soothe your grief. "Child, ‘I have loved thee with an everlasting love’ (Jer. 31:3). Your defeats have caused you to miss My fellowship but not to lose My love. I have not grown discouraged with you, and I have not ceased to care" (1 Pet. 5:7).
It matters to Him about you. It matters to God whether you are enjoying a life of power, and liberty, and cleansing, and fellowship which He has for you – nearness to His heart. Does it matter to you? Come unto Me, and drink of My love. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after love for they shall be filled. Lord, evermore give me this love!