Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Fill Me with Your Love

Episode Resources

Watch Nancy teach this message.

Dannah Gresh: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds you how crucial it is to love.

Nancy: To lack love, to be measured in our love is not just something we need to work on or think about . . . it really matters because love matters to God. God is love and anyone who is in God, loves. 

Leslie: It's Tuesday, October 22, 2019 and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, along with Dannah Gresh.

Dannah: You can hardly go a day without hearing about so-called “love” in songs, movies, books, or conversations. But even though love is constantly talked about, it’s rarely really seen in the way we live. Nancy prays that the Lord will help her to genuinely love through His power. It’s one of ten things she regularly prays for herself. We’re exploring how to effectively pray in the series “My Personal Petitions.”

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: So I want to ask you today, "How's your love life?" Some of you are looking at me like, "What love life? I wish I had a love life!" No, really, "How's your love life?" First Corinthians tells us that if we have all kinds of amazing gifts and we're sacrificial, we serve the Lord in our lives and we have all kinds of knowledge and faith but we don't have love, then all the rest of that gets cancelled out. It's nothing; it's worth than nothing in some cases. It can make a lot of noise; it can make a lot of clatter, but it doesn't have any eternal value if it's not undergirded by love, if love isn't the source of our service.

If the way we use our gifts isn't in love, then it leaves us unfruitful. Love is the key thing Scripture talks about there. God's Word says that we are to pursue love. We're told that in 1 Corinthians 14:1 right after that 1 Corinthians 13 chapter: "Pursue love"—not half-hearted but fervent in love.

Then there are a number of verses that tell us that we're to increase and abound in love. We're not supposed to be stagnant in our love life for God and others. We're not just to be satisfied to stay where we are currently in our love life. Paul says in Philippians 1:9, "It's my prayer that your love may abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment."

"May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you" (1 Thess. 3:12). Increasing love, abounding love . . . this is such a theme, particularly in the New Testament. "Your faith is growing abundantly and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing" (2 Thess. 1:3).

So, let me ask again: "How's your love life?" Do you love more today than you did a year ago? Do I? Am I increasing in love, growing in love, abounding in love? When I think of that, I think of a stream in flood stage that overflows its banks. It doesn't stay within its narrow boundaries; it overflows.

Now, that's not always a good thing when it comes to water, but it's a great thing when it comes to love. Is my love abounding, is it overflowing, is it increasing?

When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandments . . . There are hundreds of commandments in the Old Testament, but they asked Him to pick one. What did He say was the greatest commandment? "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength." And the second one? "Love your neighbor as yourself." If those are the two greatest commandments—and they are, because Jesus said they are (and they both have to do with love)—what would be the greatest sin, do you think? Wouldn't it be to love God or others less than we should?

So, to lack love, to not be increasing in love, to not be abounding in love, to be stingy in our love, to be measured in our love is not just something we need to work on or think about . . . it really matters! Love matters to God, because God is love and anyone who is in God, loves.

Love values relationships more than it values getting our way.

Read the book of 1 John and just circle all the references to love: God's love for us, Christ's love for us, God's love for Christ, our love for each other. It's all over the place! It's part and parcel of the gospel. In fact, Romans 13 says that the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. So many laws in the Scripture . . . but when you boil it all down, what does it come to? Love. You fulfill the law; love is the fulfilling of the law, says Romans 13.

Now, here's the problem: we're all lawbreakers. We can't love God or others in the way that we're supposed to. The fact is, we love ourselves first and foremost. Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." You say, "I don't love myself. I have a terrible self-image." Even terrible self-esteem, in some ways, is a sign of self-love, because we care what others think about us, right? We do! We care.

So, we do love ourselves, but our natural love for God and for others is weak, it's conditional, it's fickle, it's inadequate. We see that the greatest commandment is to love God and the second greatest commandment is to love others, and then we realize that we can't love that way—we're lawbreakers—and that takes us to the realization that God is the only source for true love.

We can't love without Him, without His help. You can't love God, you can't love your mate, you can't love your children, you can't love your friends—not to speak of loving your enemies—without the love of God filling you and flowing through you.

Our love has boundaries, it has limits: "This far, no further!" But God's love is endless. It knows no bounds. Our love is calculating. God's loves is generous, its abundant, it defies logic . . . doesn't it? Our love is conditional; it's affected by how others respond. You go to the altar, and you say, "I do, I do, I do, I will, I will, I will." Then ten minutes or ten weeks or ten months or ten years later, you're thinking, I don't!

"I don't love this person anymore!" Why? "Because they don't love me the way they used to, or they don't treat me the way they used to." That's conditional love. But God's love is not affected by how it's received; it's based on the fact that He is love. That's all He can do is love. It's His character.

We are takers. We are born takers. We want the best, the most, the first for ourselves. But God is the ultimate giver. He's always giving what He knows is best for us. We're self-absorbed. We are. We're selfish, but God absorbs and carries our burdens as His own. He's love.

Our natural affections, our natural attachments, are to things of this present, visible, temporal, fleeting world. We love this world. We want to put down roots here, we want to have it, we want to be part of it, we want to be accepted by it. That's where our affections and our attachments gravitate. But God calls us to set our affections—what we love—on things which are above, on Christ, on His kingdom, on the unseen, the eternal world. Do you see how different God's love is from the way we love?

Now Jesus said in John 15, "As the Father has loved me so have I loved you. Now abide in my love" (v. 9). He's offering us His love. Jesus says, "God has loved me with this amazing love! The Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, from all eternity past, love each other deeply and sincerely and passionately and purely. It's an incredible love! Jesus said, "The Father has loved me. That's the same love with which I've loved you."

What you need to do is live in the environment of, swim in the pool of, put your roots down deep into the soil of the love of God that we've received through Jesus Christ. As we live in that love, we can love Him and others with the love that we've received from God through Jesus Christ.

So He pours His love into our lives so that we can become channels through whom He can love others. He wants to love others through you. He wants to love your husband through you, He wants to love your children through you. He wants to love your roommate, your sister, your boss, your employees, your fellow students—He wants to love them through you.

It's not your love that you're dependent on, it's not my love. That doesn't go very far. It's God's love. We can love because we've been loved. The measure of Christ's love—how much we've been loved—should become the measure of our love. That's why we want to always be increasing and abounding in love, because we're always receiving more and more of the amazing, steadfast, eternal love of God. He wants that to always to be increasing in us and through us.

God's love for us and our love for Him become the most powerful and pure motivations for us to serve others. We can do all these things in the Christian life and in ministry, and this is what that older evangelist was saying: "I've done all these things, but I wish I'd done it more through the power of love."

I love that song that Steve Green wrote, "The Mission." There are a couple of lines in there that I think are so important:

To love the Lord our God is the heartbeat of our mission,
The spring from which our service overflows. 

Did you get that? "To love Him is the heartbeat of our mission. It's the number one commandment, to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. God's love for us and our love for Him is the spring from which our service overflows.

You see, it's the love of God that gives us strength and keeps us going when we get weary in the race. If you don't have love fueling your work and your service and your ministry and your relationships, then you're going to have to run on fumes, on obligation, on habit. You're not going to be able to love your children when you're tired and they're cranky.

You're not going to be able to love your husband when he doesn't fulfill your expectations. You're not going to be able to love that boss when he doesn't come through on his promises if you're not being fueled day in and day out by the love of Christ . . . abiding in His love.

God's love for us is always expressed in giving; that's a huge characteristic of love. "God so loved the world that He gave" (John 3:16). Second Corinthians 8 tells us that our giving is proof, evidence, of the sincerity of our love. If you say you love somebody, but you're not willing to give for them, to them, then you don't really love them. How much we love can be seen in how much we're willing to give. The willingness to part with what is dear to us for the sake of others we say we love . . . that's an evidence, that's a proof of the sincerity of our love.

What we give may be money. Generous giving is an expression of love. But it may also be time. Sometimes it's easier to write a check than to give some time to help out a person around us who has a need. It may be hospitality. I think of a sister of mine who has five high-school and college-aged kids. They have a very busy life, but they're always opening their home to others, to share their meals, their fellowship, their time, their beds—their everything.

She doesn't get uptight about having a crowd in there, about having somebody make a mess, the inconvenience. It's hard work, it's time, it's effort, but she's generous in giving. She's a loving woman, her family is a loving family, and they show that by hospitality.

Sometimes it's just being willing to give up our privacy. Especially for those who are single, for who like to have more of a quiet life or maybe are more introverted, to allow people in our space, in our place, in our face, takes love. It takes effort. Our natural instinct is to hold on tightly to our privacy, to our stuff, to our convenience, to our time, to ourselves. We naturally want to close ourselves off (unless you're one of these great big extroverted people, which I'm certainly not) . . .

I'd much rather sit at home with my books, my laptop, in my study, be quiet, be private, be in my protected little world and be a busy little introvert, having my privacy, my space, my place. But love calls us to have an open heart, to be generous, not stingy, to be outward and expressive, to reach out, to take time, to care for the children, to care for the older people, to not pass the invisible people.

I've had several meals with a friend recently who is always asking the wait staff in a restaurant, "What's your name?" We need to just show interest in others, bring them in, open our hearts, not just be blind to people as we walk past them, but we need to be opening our hearts to others.

So as we get filled with His love, what it's going to do is cause us to be emptied of ourselves. That means there's not going to be room for selfish ambition, self-protection. We're going to be able to love others as we love ourselves. And that means, as Jesus said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

When you're posting that comment on Facebook or on somebody's blog, ask yourself, "Would I be blessed or encouraged if somebody posted that comment about me on my Facebook page?" I've got to tell you (maybe I've got a little issue here), we have a number of blogs in out ministry, a number of Facebook pages, a number of Twitter accounts. It never ceases to amaze me how some people feel so much freedom to blast, to make negative assumptions, to draw negative conclusions (I'm talking about Christians doing this), to assume the worst rather than the best. 

I think they think if they just type it on a keyboard it's okay, that it's not unloving. It isn't okay. If it's not something that you would want said about you, if it doesn't build up, if it's not encouraging, don't say it! If there's heresy involved, that's one thing, but just the fact that you don't agree or you don't see it that way or you don't understand . . . we need to ask God to bridle our tongues and our hearts and to fill us with His love so that the way we're expressing to others is really loving. Loving others means putting their needs and preferences ahead of our own, deferring sometimes about our own preferences. It values relationships more than it values getting our way.

A friend sent me a picture last night of her living room. I don't know if you can see this . . . the lime-green couch is one that a really good decorator who came in helped them put in their home, with some really matching, coordinating furniture.

But this woman's husband loves this teal, paisley-blue carpet (rug) that he found, that he decided he wanted in their living room. But as you can see, it does not match the lime sofa. Am I right? It looks kind of awful, doesn't it? This woman said, "My kids are always telling me, 'You need to tell dad to get rid of that rug!'" But he likes that rug. He wants it.

This woman said to me, "I've decided that my relationship with my husband matters more than my rug matching my furniture. I'm going to let it go." She asked him about it last night. He said, "What is it the kids are always saying to me about that room? What's their problem?"

She said, "Well, it's the rug and the sofa . . ."

He said, "What's wrong with it?" (laughter) 

Now, maybe he's color blind; I don't know. But I love what she said: "The relationship matters more to me.  Love matters more than having my living room match." Okay, now that's practical, isn't it? That's love.

And this gets really practical. We read in 1 John 3, "If anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" (v. 17). So you see somebody who has a need, and he's saying, "Don't just stand there. Don't just add them to the prayer list in the church bulletin. Don't wall up your heart. Do something to meet the need. Don't love in word or in talk, but love in deed and in truth."

I was in a Walgreen's not too long ago, one I've never been to before because I needed something in the cosmetics department. There was a kind lady there who helped me find just what I was looking for, and as we got to talking, it came out in the conversation that she has, I think, eight children—most of whom are adopted, special needs kids (several of whom are still in the home).

In the midst of all this, her (I think his age was) fifty-some-year-old husband dropped dead while he was out grocery shopping one night. She's now a recent widow, and she's the sole provider for her family, working here in the cosmetics department. We talked. She's a believer. She's trusting Christ, but she's going through a really hard time.

She cried, I cried, we talked, I held her, we prayed. After I left (I knew I'd probably never see her again) I'd asked her for her address. I felt prompted to send her some resources I thought might be encouragement to her. Then I thought, Love in deed and in truth . . . stick a check in that package. It's not a huge check, it won't help her live forever, but just a little something to encourage her heart.

Do something when you see somebody in need. Now, I'd like to say I think that way all the time, but I don't. We need to ask the Lord to make us sensitive to how we can express love. Jesus said to the church at Ephesus, "I know your works. I know your toil. I know your patient endurance. I know how you can't bear with those who are evil. I know you're enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you're not growing weary. There are lots of good things I could say about you in this church."

"But I have this against you: that you have abandoned the love you had at first" (Rev. 2:4). They were enthusiastic about the truth, they were hard workers, but they were missing fervent, tender love for Jesus and for others. Without that, nothing else matters much (I'm preaching to myself).

Andrew Murray said, "In the Christian life, love to Christ is everything." And that love for Christ isn't just a happy feeling. It's an inclination of heart that delights to keep His commandments and to do His will. And it's seen in lives that are selfless and self-sacrificing. It's loving others as He has loved us.

The Father, the Son, and the Spirit love each other fervently—They love us fervently. And that kind of love should be an obvious mark in every child of God. When we love that way, it makes our witness to the world so powerful! More than all our arguments, our books, our conferences is when they see us really love.

In biblical days there were Romans and Jews and Greeks and pagans, and they all hated each other. They were always vying for control. There was no concept of self-sacrifice. And then Jesus, the ultimate lover, came to this earth, and He loved the Jews, He loved Greeks, He loved men, He loved women, He loved those with different skin color, He loved those from different socio-economic backgrounds.

And when He went back to heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit to put that same love in the hearts of His followers. That was astonishing in the first-century world! They had never seen anything like that. So, in the early church, you had slaves and slave owners who went to church together, who learned to love.

In fact, the whole system of slavery was ultimately overthrown because of the love God put in the hearts of believers in that early first century. In that first-century church, women who were considered property—not worth much by the secular world—were received, were valued. They prayed and worshiped with the men.

Different ethnicities worshiped and served together. All this made the gospel of Christ believable to that ancient Roman world. What would it look like in our world for us to really love each other? To be praying, "Lord, fill me with Your love"? To put others' needs and interests above our own? To extend compassion and care to those who are different than we are? To forgive, to be generous, to assume the best, to esteem others as better than ourselves? What would it look like to receive and treat others who are unlike us as family, as highly valued guests?

"Pursue love," Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14. Ask God for it! Ask God for love for your mate, for your children, for your friends, for your coworkers, for your neighbors. Ask God for the kind of love that gives and gives and gives and gives to meet the needs of others, without expecting anything in return. That's love.

And then ask God, as I do often, for more love for Jesus . . . more love for God. We have a lot of hymns and choruses that we sing in the contemporary church where we're asking God for a greater measure of Himself—"We want more of You; we want more of Your Spirit." I don't think it's wrong to sing and pray those things, but I love this old hymn that turns it around a little bit and asks God to increase our love for Him. That's a place of humility.

More love, O Christ to Thee, more love to Thee;
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea—more love, O Christ to Thee. 
More love to Thee; more love to Thee.

Dannah: “Lord, fill me with Your love.” Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth regularly prays that for herself. She’s been reminding us how easy it is to stop loving when situations get hard. That’s why we need to pray and ask for God’s to love to fill us. Nancy will be right back to pray for us.

"Fill me with Your love" is one of ten personal petitions Nancy's been telling us about in our current series. Yesterday, she gave us another. The petitions was, "Guard my heart."

We want to help you remember these petitions and make them a regular part of your life. So our team designed a 2020 wall calendar based on these petitions. So as you check the calendar or walk past it, you’ll be reminded to pray. And Revive Our Hearts wall calendars always look beautiful and you’ll enjoy it as a calendar on top of getting the reminders to pray. When you support Revive Our Hearts for the rest of this month, we’d like to send you the wall calendar. Ask for it when you call 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com

That's also where you can see today’s teaching on video. That's ReviveOurHearts.com.

Okay, so far we’ve looked at two petitions in this series: "guard my heart," and "fill me with Your love." But what if you feel like you can’t guard your heart? You can’t love? Tomorrow, Nancy will tell you about the needed missing ingredient. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts. 

To end our time in prayer, here’s Nancy.

Nancy: And so as we bow our hearts in prayer, make this your prayer, would you? Father, my love will ever be weak and fickle and puny, but Your love is infinite, it's unfailing, it's steadfast, it's great. Thank You for the gift of Your Spirit, who has shed abroad Your love in my heart, and grant me faith to receive and respond to that love.

O Holy Spirit, open my eyes and my heart to know the Father's love, to receive it, to remain and abide in it. Help me to love You with all my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength. And then cause Your love to flow through me to others. Make me compassionate and sensitive to the needs of others around me.

And O Lord Jesus, You who laid down Your life for me, fill me with Calvary love, that I might gladly spend and be spent and daily lay down my life for You and for others. Fill us, O Lord, with Your love we pray. In Jesus' name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help your heart for prayer to grow. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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