The More Excellent Way
By Susan G. McIntosh
Recently we were challenged by Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne of River Ministries International to move into God's More Excellent Way in 2018. I Corinthians 12 awesomely speaks of the Gifts of the Spirit like the Giftings of administration, healing, helps ministries, apostles, prophets, varieties of tongues and the interpretation of tongues, teachers, workers of miracles, etc. I Corinthians 12:31 admonishes, “But earnestly desire the best gifts, and yet, I show you a more excellent way. The next verse is 13:1, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” Love is the more excellent way!
LOVE is the vital ingredient necessary to operate in each of the Spiritual Gifts in a manner that will bless others and glorify the Lord. Throughout the four Gospels --Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – repeatedly it is recording that prior to interacting with people who needed a miracle, it is noted that “Jesus was moved with compassion.” John 3:16, “ For God SO LOVED the world, that He gave His only begotten Son...” Jesus operated in the “SO-LOVED-the-world” heart of the Father. If we are going to be used of God to minister for Him and see lives profoundly touched, we must have hearts that are filled with God's love for others.
My husband and I are traveling ministers. Often we say “Bless you,” in the course of conversation to individuals we meet whether briefly in airports, when asked to visit with people who have requested ministry or even when speaking with someone over the phone. Often, in response to our saying, “Bless you,” people will say, “I love you too.” We hadn't said, “I love you,” but LOVE is what they feel. God's LOVE, the More Excellent Way, flows through and touches them deeply. It is awesome.
Once LOVE flowed through Jesus' heart, miracles happened and lives were impacted. People were healed, set free from bondage and were able to receive His teachings because their hearts were first melted by the Love of God flowing through Him.
I Corinthians 13 says that without love in our hearts, we can easily slip into our old nature. Without realizing it, we can come across as a judgmental, haughty, rude or insensitive. Without love, a moment of bad attitude can crash and bang so loudly that it drowns out the effectiveness of ministry even in a God-gifted Christian. Unless God, who IS love personified, is invited to freely transform us from a self-centered behavior into His character likeness of Love, no matter how gifted we are, is anything but Kingdom excellent. Choosing to seek God's More Excellent Way, takes a decisive moment of surrender to the progressive and radical work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in our hearts. The results are awesome. Hearts around us are touched with God's great and precious love once it is able to flow without hindrance through our lives, Amen.
Life-changing Godly LOVE present in a heart isn't something that can be faked. Either the LOVE of God is at work in our hearts or it isn't and when it isn't, people who converse with us or observe us can soon easily detect the situation. All of us have the occasional incidents where our flesh rises up and we don't constrain it because we have convinced ourselves that our actions or reactions at that moment are appropriate. When this happens, an apology both to the Holy Spirit whom we have grieved and to the people we ignored, blasted, wounded or insulted, needs to be spoken in love. Love covers a multitude of sin according to 1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sin.” A sincere apology in love can shift loveless situations back into the flow of God's heart through ours again.
I Corinthians 13 describes this More Excellent Love. Verse 4. “Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
8 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].” Amplified Version
So, let's choose God's More Excellent Way of Love. God places Love high in His priorities, i.e., I Corinthians 13:13 “And so faith, hope, love abide (faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things); hope — (joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation); love—(true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us), these three; but the greatest of these is love,” The MORE EXCELLENT Way is Love! SMc