Jesus is the ultimate bodily expression of the Father.
His entire life was lived pleasing God the Father and bringing all men to the place of Living In Father’s Expression. In this column, we celebrate the LIFE and ATTRIBUTES of Jesus and how they apply today to our daily life on earth.
The entire world is riddled with fake or at best sensual shows of love, loaded heavily with emotional burdens and sexual entanglements, which in themselves may look cool from the perspective of man’s emotional nature, but which have nothing to do with the mind of God in Christ, who is Love Himself. Without mincing words, love from the perspective of God is always seen from the place of sacrifice, giving, the letting go of self-will to allow divine will take prominence. The usage of “I love you” as an expression has become a cliche that has no eternal or heart reality following it. It amazes me when I see or hear of marriages, relationships, friendships that seem to carry so much “love talk” go down the drain, and often times for no serious reasons.
These things amaze me and also make me wonder if anyone among the gang of lovers even understand the concept of sacrifice. For love is sacrifice of self-will for the will of God to find space and express itself whether we like it or not.
My Personal Journey
Born into a family of a gospel minister, I learnt early the importance of love by sacrifice for others, rather than love by words of the mouth or emotional expressions, which I have found out often lead to emotional manipulations.
I watched my late dad give himself entirely to selfless sacrifices for those he ministered to as a pastor and as a missionary. Leaving the house sometimes with him at past midnight, just to go pray for sick people or church members in their houses was beautiful in itself back then, even though I didn’t understand then what he was doing or what God was teaching me.
He had this sweet friendship with the remote town we were living in then and many referred to him as Papa Essien, for he loved both his church members and non-members alike. The security guards in the area loved him for he was out almost every night praying outside the house while they did their security duties. In fact, the day he died in April 1994, he died right in my arms, after he finished praying and making tea for some of his sick church members who had come to the mission house for prayers.
As a young boy of about fourteen years old, who had never seen a dead body or someone dying before, I watched life go out of him right in my arms with just the name of Jesus on his lips. I couldn’t even call the people that were right in the living room that he was ministering to, simply because I had no clue what was happening to him, even as he rested in peace. That event imprinted in me the principle of love by sacrifice in a way I didn’t recognize until my later years. And I am sure I won’t ever forget that picture.
There is one definition of love my late dad taught me from my many ministry journeys with him. He used love as an acronym to mean “Living Over Various Evils”. This definition has stuck with me for nearly three decades and has also defined some life realities for me. One of the things it has helped me to gain in my heart is how not to see anything from the point of view of wrong, not to hold on to anything beyond a day, and how to forget whatever yesterday brought, while holding on to the new hope that tomorrow has in store. This has been really helpful in my own walk with God and relationship with men.
By nature, I have a very intuitive and analytical mind, which over time I am still learning to submit completely to the will of God. Mind you, that I learn to leave things in the past doesn’t mean that I don’t judge or analyze things, situations or what people do to me or around me, nor does it mean I don’t freak out when things get really emotionally out of control. I do, but I always end up subjecting these things to the concept of “living over various evils”, which somehow allows me to excuse others concerning the things they did which I know are not accurate. Surely, I am not perfect in this reality, but it has saved me from countless incidents that would have otherwise broken my heart.
The Father’s Heart In Christ
Today anyone can call on the name of Jesus for any aspect of their lives and be sure to obtain some answers, even though sometimes the answers don’t always match the expected thoughts of the heart of man. Most people however, do not put their minds to work to perform a critical analysis of how Jesus really was, who He is right now and who He will manifest Himself as when He comes again on this earth. I can say this with all confidence, that Jesus, both in His physical expression while He walked on this earth and also as a spiritual authority that is coming again, was and is the perfect expression of the Father’s heart. Scripture says He is the express image or physical expression of the Godhead. He completely mirrored to us the entirety of the heart of the Father in amazing expressions that are beyond the words and thoughts of man’s heart. He came to show us how love and loving is both an ART and a HEART issue. He came to show us the reality of “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. Meaning that everything that Jesus did while on earth was a direct expression of a heart that mastered the art of loving, either expressed as emotional intimacy or rebuke.
I have a personal definition of art. ART to me means: Ability to Re-create Thoughts. Very simple definition but broad in scope, which we can elaborate on later. From my definition of art, Jesus was the master of this concept which was revealed in various ways in which He re-created or demonstrated on the outside that which was in the heart of the Father without allowing any form of emotion to clog such expressions. He perfected the art of loving and showed us how to do the same without biases and unnecessary emotions that often make divine messages of love lose their true meaning and then break us away from the grace that accompanies them.
Jesus clearly saw all things from the perspective of God the Father, a thing which allowed Him the ability to judge situations, offences and sins accurately, from the eyes of God alone. He meant it when He said, I can of Myself do nothing, as I hear from the Father, so I judge. And then He went ahead to confirm that His judgments were never wrong because He didn’t seek His own will, but the will of the Father.
The A.R.T of Love
Sometimes, God puts thoughts in our heart towards others irrespective of whether we know them or not. These thoughts that God puts in our hearts sometimes create such burdens and fire that we become restless or even lose sleep. This restlessness often happens when the ability to re-create the thoughts of love that God placed in our hearts has not been effectively used. And that’s why you often hear some talk about the love in their hearts and then you see the same people act out on the outside something way contrary to that which they truly feel on the inside. It’s almost a war between the art of love and the heart of love. And I want to believe that sometimes this disparity is given strength by how or what the society has defined as love and how people should express it, creating so much “love” with words but death in the heart. Jesus was never trapped between the bridge in His heart of love and His art of love, while dealing with people. He didn’t take for granted the love that His Father felt in His heart towards the adulterous woman caught in the act (except that the man she was caught in the act with was not around…pun intended) and didn’t hold back the heart of love from the Father to her even though everyone else carried stones. In the same way, He wasn’t silent about rebuking the Pharisees who called themselves ‘the teachers of the laws of Israel’ but whose sins and unfaithfulness to God were a stench in Heaven. He didn’t allow for once, any clog in the bridge between His heart of love and His art of love, both to the woman caught in adultery and the Pharisees walking in self deception and unholiness. His response to both sides, though different, was an expression of the Father’s love to extend His hand of second chances to both parties. He loved them all but expressed that love through different ways.
To one He says, “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more” and to the other He says, “you shall die in your sin.” Two equal opposite realities of love that He showed, but which an untrained human mind may see as partial and unfair. And, mind you, that scripture says, neither do I condemn you, it didn’t say neither do I judge you. Meaning, He critically looked at the situation (to judge the fragments) took the position of God by the Spirit of Understanding, and then passed the judgement of the heart of God which bears no condemnation for her. That is a Man that has perfected both the heart and the art of God through submission of self-will to the will of God.
Living Out this Life
Day-to-day in our walk of faith with God, we meet people, get involved in situations that put pressure on our love status and sometimes we win in this test and sometimes we lose. But the reality is that, what we sometimes call failure or success concerning love is just how it was defined by the society, Hollywood movies, religion and has nothing to do with both failure or the success that the Spirit defines. We can’t continue to live like this. For we must both master the heart and the art of love from God’s perspective. See what the Apostle Paul said about love in 1 Corinthians 13. This scripture clearly captures the art of love, in a sense, but shows us how that if there is no true love, which is sacrifice by the submission of self-will to the will of God, then the act of love is unprofitable. Meaning that I can give my limited salary to a beggar, rescue a thousand children from poverty, go to an African country to do helps, but if I don’t do these things in submission to the will of God, I still have done nothing. For, iniquity is anything done outside of submission to the will of God.
Africans are naturally gifted with communal love and unity between brethren, even though this concept has been corrupted over time by the many doctrines of the new age religions of self-love and no sacrifices. I grew up knowing that the raising and training of the African child is a communal thing based on true love between families that live together in communities, not divided by the internet, and not attacked by the new thought that if you correct or discipline my child without my consent, then I can arrest you for child abuse. Its time we re-think our love concepts and how we express these concepts in dealing with life and others.
In conclusion, the life of Jesus, His walk on earth, His death, His resurrection from the dead, and His coming again, are all tied to one thing: the heart and art of love by the submission to the will of God. Simple. That submission to the will of God, defined His talking style, walking style, relationship style, teaching style, eating style, drinking style, emotional expressions etc In the same way, we must live and relate to those both close to us and far from us. Love is the most talked about concept in society, but the least understood in the same society. For men think that love is an act of emotions and passions, but truly, love is the heart of the Father expressed in acts of hope, faith and charity. For hope is not about pushing the realities of today into tomorrow, for tomorrow has its own hope, love reality and its own evil. So, do that which is meant for today and by that, your heart will be prepared, matured and perfected to take on the act of love needed for tomorrow.
God bless you.