T OM W O Y T H A L M I N I S T R I ES
Our Greatest Weapon
“Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For ye wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10-12).
When we think of spiritual weapons, we think of declaring God’s Word, binding and loosing, aggressive and unwavering faith, and strong fervent prayer. While these things are definitely important, none of them work properly without a revelation of God’s love, and the deeper the revelation, the more powerful we become, and the more dangerous we are to the kingdom of darkness.
The love of God is not something we hear a lot about, and most people don’t run around excited because they get to learn more about it and how it applies to their lives. In fact, many of us inwardly believe that we already know everything that there is to know about love, “Pretty much common sense, right?” However, the Apostle Paul prayed earnestly for the Church of Ephesus to be “rooted and grounded” in love, that they would know what is the “breadth, and length, and depth and height,” and to know the love of Christ which “passes knowledge.” He refers to this knowledge as a prerequisite to being “filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).
The Apostle John is sometimes referred to as the “apostle of love,” but certainly not because of his submissive or docile temperament. On the contrary, he was fiery, hot-headed, and aggressive by nature, as was his brother James. They were the sons of thunder, fiercely competitive, and fighters (John 20:4, Mark 3:17, 10:35-40, Luke 10:54). It is therefore no surprise that when John discovered the true power of God’s love, that he was quick to embrace it. For when a strong man finds a formidable weapon, he’s quick to incorporate it into his arsenal. John was the only disciple who died a natural death, and according to tradition, they tried to boil him in oil but he wouldn’t die, and not only did he live, but he lived to receive some of the greatest revelation from heaven ever given to a man.
Operating in God’s loves slams the door in the devil’s face and gives God full access into our affairs. Where all other things fail, the love of God will never fail. There is no fear in love, but only great boldness. The Apostle Peter, in his second epistle, reveals to us that if we allow God’s love to be perfected in us, then it will guarantee us, not only an entrance into the Kingdom of God, but an abundant entrance (II Peter 1:4-11).
Several years ago, my family and I were living in Florida, and I was working with a construction crew driving a cement truck. I provided the cement mix to the men working down in the “pit,” spraying concrete to make pools throughout the Central Florida area. There was one man in particular who just didn’t like me for some reason, and he succeeded in turning the entire crew against me, and also went to the boss fabricating lies, accusations, and exaggerations in order to get me fired. In fact, I was getting ready to be removed from the crew. They all knew where I stood with the Lord, for I had shared the gospel with many of them. There were about seven crews, so not everyone in the company was upset with me, but there was a large number that were at this point.
About a week later, we were doing a pool out in a certain area, and they had Mexican “food-wagons” that would come through the neighborhoods to cater to construction workers and so forth (the majority of those whom I worked with were Mexicans). As I was walking around the side of the house one morning, I saw the man that instigated all of this trouble sitting in a chair taking a break. He looked exhausted, tired and hot. He glanced up and saw me coming, and then got tense and kind of stared at the ground. He knew that I knew that he had been talking to the boss, and stirring up all the other men on the crew, and was prepared for a confrontation. But I cared about this man and cared about his soul. I walked right up to him, as he got more defensive in his posture. But I was bold, and I asked him, “Can I get you some water or something from the food-wagon?” I meant it with all of my heart; I wanted to bless him. He looked at me stunned, his jaw dropping to the ground, and all the aggression, anger, and mischief ran out of him in a moment. He fidgeted around, looked down at the ground, and said, “No… Ah… That’s alright, but thanks…” He didn’t know quite how to respond, and it really caught him off guard. But from that moment on, I never had any more trouble with him, nor anyone else on the crew for that matter, and in fact, he became a good friend. The other guys on the crew began bringing me home-cooked Mexican food that their wives had cooked at home, and they treated me like a king, and with great respect. Some were members of Mexican gangs and drug cartels, and there was also a guy who was involved in the Ku Klux Clan who turned his heart to the Lord and was healed of cancer. My co-driver, a muscle-bound, six-foot, six inch Jamaican, whom I really liked, didn’t show up for work one morning, because the night before he had shot a man about six times when he came home and caught him in bed with his wife. We just called him “The Big Black guy.” I never saw him again.
God did many miracles on the job and in their lives, and one of the men came up to me one day and said, “We’ve never met anyone quite like you…” “You have the most uncanny ability to just let things go!” I told him that it was because of my relationship with Jesus that I was able to do this, and that God gives us the ability to love and forgive.
Walking in love has been misunderstood to mean that we just kind of “look the other way” and don’t confront people or issues, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Jesus vehemently confronted the religious Pharisees and Sadducees of His day, and we are commanded to “sharply” rebuke those who resist sound doctrine (Titus 1:13). In fact, the Apostle Paul had nothing good to say to the Church leaders at Corinth regarding the fornication that they were allowing in their midst (I Corinthians 5:1-8). Confrontation, when it is done correctly, is always an act of love, whether to protect the church at large, or save an individual from going down a dangerous path.
Jesus warned us that in the last days the love of many (believers) would grow cold due to the rampant sin and hardness of heart in the land (Matthew 24:12-13). We see this happening on a large scale right now. In fact, many in the church are attacking one another like never before. There are more “watchmen on the wall” than there are people to watch, and they’re watching everyone but themselves. The vast majority of this activity is not godly confrontation, but rather an attack against genuine biblical doctrine and genuine pastors and leaders, by those who have become disgruntled, dissatisfied, or offended. The gifts of the Spirit are under attack, as are the principles of faith, and other foundational biblical doctrine, by those among our own ranks. We are destroying our foundation and tearing down our own house, and doing it in front of the world. As believers in Jesus, we are all in the same boat, and yet we’re shooting holes in the floor of other guy’s section of the boat. Can you see the danger in this? Consequently, many Christians are confused and don’t know what to believe anymore. The world just laughs and writes us off as a bunch of weirdos and nuts that have more confusion and animosity between ourselves than they do among their own ranks. Why would they want to join us? Even if we are genuinely grieved because of the wickedness in our midst, we must still keep our love burning brightly.
When it does become necessary to confront false doctrine or false teachers in the church, they should be confronted with sound, biblical truth, not vague, dogmatic, and “across the board” statements such as, “So and so is a false prophet” or “Those ‘prosperity teachers’ are greedy, money-grubbers…” These types of statements are not rooted in anything but ignorance, personal opinion, bias, and frustration, and do nothing but confuse people. The Holy Spirit always confronts error with solid, biblical truth, and raises the proper standard with clarity, precision, and in a spirit of humility (Titus 1:9).
In departing from love, we oftentimes bring unnecessary persecution on ourselves and believe that we’re “suffering for the cause of Christ.” However, the vast majority of time we’re not suffering for the Lord at all, but rather as a result of our own judgmental, critical attitudes, and the strange, unbiblical things that we do. We bring shame and reproach upon God’s character and the truth of the gospel. Jesus attracted crowds, not solely because of the miracles, but because of the way that people felt in His presence. They were drawn to Him, compelled by unconditional love, acceptance, and the words of grace and truth that proceeded out of His mouth (John 7:46). They were willing to forsake everything just to be with Him. This is still true today.