The life of a Christian is supposed to be one of victory in all things. Though there are many obstacles and trials that try to prevent us from walking in victory, we can experience the victory that God has ordained for us as recorded in 1 John 5:4 “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world; our faith”. This is where faith comes in. We have to walk by faith if we are to experience the fullness of victory in all areas pertaining to our lives. Through faith we have access to the spiritual inheritance God wants us to walk in for our marriages, our families, our jobs and everything else that pertains to our lives. No wonder it says in Hebrews that without faith we cannot please God. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Faith Works through Love Today, I want to talk about the relationship between faith and love. Faith works and operates through love. This is one of the most important principles in the release of our faith. Without love working in our lives we will never know what it is to have our faith released effectively. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6) The Relationship between Faith & Love For Paul, the governing principle of life is faith expressed in love, as it was in the life of Christ. The essence of Christianity is not legalism, but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ which is characterized by faith and love. The Christian faith comprises of three basic things: · An encounter with the love of the Father as revealed through the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus; · The transforming power of that love in a believer to produce conformity and empowerment; and · An expression of that love by faith through you to the world. We see the connection between faith and love time and time again in the writings of Paul: “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints...” (Ephesians 1:15) “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love...” (Ephesians 3:17) “...since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;” (Colossians 1:4) “...remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father...” (1 Thessalonians 1:3) “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8) “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2) Characteristics of Love When you think of love, what comes to mind? The marks of love are found in 1 Corinthians 13. These are the characteristics that release the faith in our lives so that we are able to receive what God has for us: Verse 4: Love suffers long Love is kind Love does not envy others Love is not prideful, lifting up self Verse 5: Love does not behave unseemly (bad conduct towards others) Love does not seek for itself (is not selfish) Love is not easily provoked (made angry) Love does not think evil of others or think of evil in general Verse 6: Love does not rejoice in iniquity (does not take pleasure in doing wrong or hearing wrong about others) Love rejoices in truth (not lies and gossip) Verse 7: Love bears all things (even hard things) Love believes all things (believes in others) Love hopes in all things (does not give up hope in God or others, despite the circumstances) Love endures all things Verse 8: Love never fails (regardless of the circumstances) Love is:

longsuffering kindness a lack of envy is not provoked self-sacrifice humility self-abasement kindness § good behavior § unselfishness § hope § believes all things patience rejoicing forgiveness endurance

These are the qualities that faith must pass through if it is to be released effectively in our lives. Love is the acid test for your labour in Gods Kingdom. Your work for the Lord is to be a labor of love: “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love…” (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

“…For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10)

The Example of Jesus Feeding the 5000

Jesus performed many miracles while He ministered on earth. He always demonstrated a perfect faith which was always motivated by a genuine love for people. Your love should abound, meaning it should continually increase. “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment” (Philippians 1:9)

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men…” (1 Thessalonians 3:12)

In the miracle where Jesus fed the 5000, we see how perfectly love was the motivation behind that miracle. This was great victory for Jesus and for the people. In fact they were ready to make Him their king following this miracle.

Background - The pressure of circumstances over the death of John the Baptist – a foreshadow of His own death in the following year - forced Jesus to retire privately for rest, not only for Himself, but for His disciples who had just returned from their first mission. With them were the disciples of John the Baptist, who had brought the bad news of the murder. They all needed a season of bodily and spiritual refreshment.

He was not annoyed at being thwarted.

When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:13-14)

Though He was denied the rest he needed and sought, He was moved with compassion and embraced the opportunity of teaching the multitude and healing the sick. His faith was being released through the love He was exhibiting to these people.

The heart of Jesus was always ready to melt over the manifold needs of men. Sympathy and compassion prevailed over His quest for solitude. Even though others showed very little consideration to Him, He was always ready to show full consideration towards them. This is faith working through love.

We see kindness, self-sacrifice, humility, unselfishness, a lack of provocation and longsuffering -- all the marks of love being demonstrated by Jesus as His faith was released for this great miracle.

Practical Expressions of Faith & Love in Our Lives

So, how does this apply to us in a practical way?

*Are you praying in faith for your marriage? If so, do acts of kindness and unselfish deeds even when your mate is unworthy of your love. This will release your faith and God's hand in your marriage.

*What about the grumpy boss you're praying for to get saved? Do you respond in love when you feel you are being used and taken advantage of?

*Are you praying in faith for financial provision? What's your motivation? Is it for your own selfish gain or is it to better meet your family’s needs, etc.

*What about your desire for Spiritual gifts? What's your motive? Is it to build others up enlarging the Kingdom or is it to puff you up building your own kingdom?

*When the phone rings at an inconvenient time do you get all bent out of shape or do you respond in love?

Even though others may be inconsiderate, you can choose to respond in love by being considerate to them. Jesus said, “If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also”. Take the time to listen and draw them out, even when you are not feeling like it or they are not deserving of it. Your gifting will come out as you take the time to respond in love.

Remember faith and love are inseparable. Practicing love at all times will keep you in a place where your faith is being released and you are aligned with the very heart of God.

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17)

Shalom Shalom

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