Hi Everyone, 

Welcome to another episode of the W2NM Ignition Point. I have titled this episode, ‘the measure of a believer’. 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the American activist is quoted as having once said, that “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.” Without examining the context of Dr. King’s statement, I believe he could that the only he could make that bold claim is because as a minister of the gospel, he had a revelation of Jesus, the Servant-King. Let’s focus on a phrase from that quote – ‘the ultimate measure of a man’.  

What is the ultimate measure of a man? Dr. King said that the ultimate measure of a man is that a man risks his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others. But what is that thing that can inspire a man to risk all, especially in the world of self preservation and self focus that we live in? Let us look to the scriptures for our answer. The Bible makes the same assertion but uses other words. John 15:13 says, greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. Jesus said in verse 17 of the same chapter – ‘this is my command: Love each other’. My summation from these two scriptures when read together is this; we love others to the extent that we can lay down our life for others. In other words, the true measure of a man looks like love. Or still in other words, the Bible reveals to us that the true measure of a man is locked up in his ability to walk in the love of God.  

God will not ask of us what He has not strengthened and prepared us to do. The Bible says in Romans 5:5 that the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts. Why? Because love is the distinguishing factor or Who God is. And we were made in His likeness and in His image. If God is Love, then love indeed is the measure of the believer. Love is the measure of who you are in Christ and is also the measure of your walk, your fellowship and your intimacy with God. This is not to bring condemnation; rather this is to create awareness and a sense of identity. It is also my intention to stir you up to judge or examine yourself in the light of scripture. Afterall, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:5 - Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. That scripture means that you should look at yourself in the light of God’s Word and be sure that you are living out your Christian life as God intends for you to. God requires that each of us examine ourselves just like when we go to the doctor for our yearly physical and the doctor asks questions about how we are doing and how each part of our body is functioning. The doctor asks very thorough questions and will sometimes require that we carry out tests. The way you examine yourself in the light of scripture is to discover Who the Bible says God is and in so doing to discover yourself. 

1 John 4:7 says that, ‘Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God’. This is the standard, or you could say the ‘love test’. The evidence that you are born of God; the evidence that you know God, is that you love. This is the reason your love walk or ability to walk in love in a given situation is like a thermometer measuring whether your love gauge is high or low. Your ability to walk in love shows or measures whether you are influenced by God because God is love. Your love walk is not only a thermometer, it is also a thermostat because it regulates your fellowship with man and with God. I say a thermostat because when you are full of the love of God your response to the situations of life is very different from when you are devoid of the love of God.  

You are born of love according to the scriptures. You are born of God Who is love and love has become your nature. You too are love just like God is love. When you are born of love it is that which took place in your spirit through the new birth. The love of God has been shed abroad in your spirit. As a love being, you are to express that love towards all. This is where we struggle though. Love is in our spiritman but we still have to contend with the other part of our heart – our soul realm. The soul is where our mind, will and emotions reside, and these do not always want to respond in love. It is the mind, will and emotions that respond to circumstances. The challenge we each have is to let the love of God in our spiritman rule in life situations and in all we do as opposed to letting our mind, will and emotions dictate to us.  The bible says that I, not God, but I keep myself in the love of God. We keep ourselves in the love of God by bringing our mind, will and emotions under the rulership of our born-again love-dominated spirits. This is the true discipline of the Christian life. That rulership comes about by studying and meditating in the Word; it comes about by discovering who I am in Christ and enthroning that in my thinking; it comes about when I understand what manner of man I am. How then do I know if I am truly keeping myself in the love of God? I measure myself.  

I measure my thoughts -   

What am I dwelling on? What are the continual and constant thoughts of my heart? Not the fleeting thoughts, but the ones I dwell on. In Matthew 6:31, does the Bible not say we should take no thought saying….?   What thoughts am I taking? Thoughts only have two origins – God or Satan. There is no in between or neutral zone in this battle for our minds. This is important because the Bible says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he - Proverbs 23:7. What I think about continually will propel and direct the path of my life. What I am thinking of others, will direct the path of my relationship with those others. Recently, I was thinking of someone and some of those thoughts were not shaping up to be complimentary. Then I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart, not in an audible voice but in my spirit. And He said, yes, Ayo those things are facts; facts that actually occurred, but the truth of God’s Word trumps the facts. The truth is that this person is a believer and because of that I have to believe that the person can change; that God is not done with them; I have to believe that this person can do all things through Christ Who strengthens them. That is the promise of God and that changes the facts. On reflecting and meditating on these truths, the truth of God’s Word shone a light into my soul, and I realized that I was allowing the love of God to flow from my spirit into my soul. As I did this, my thinking began to shift, and I began to think differently about this person. Afterall, the Bible says that the love covers a multitude of sins. It does not say that sin does not occur, but it does mean that we should allow the love of God in us to create opportunities to avoid strife not create or add to strife. We should allow the love of God in us to cause us to continually seek the path of love; to make excuse for the love of God to prevail. 

I also measure my words and actions–  

I have to consider not just my thoughts; I also have to consider my words. Do my words spread strife and division, or do they speak peace and reconciliation? I am responsible for my words. Unlike any other of God’s creations, words have been given to man not just to express himself but according to the book of James, to direct the path of our lives. It does not matter what has been done to me or what I have experienced. I only I am responsible to keep myself in the love of God. When I allow others or situations to dictate my words and actions, I am not Spirit-led, I am flesh-led. No one should cause me to make a choice to walk outside of the love of God. The operative word is ‘choice’. I always have a choice to walk or not to walk in love. When I choose to walk in the love of God, I choose to be led by the Spirit.  

The love of God may have the appearance of weakness, but it is the strongest force in the universe. The interesting thing about love is this - the love of God may lead me to take a stand of righteousness, but it will ALWAYS exhibit the nature and characteristics of God, Who is love. What does that mean? My stance will not breed strife, neither will it breed division. It can instigate persecution, but God will cause your enemies to be at peace with you. The love of God will not lead to a root of bitterness because it is rooted and grounded in Christ. Hebrews 12:15 states that we should see to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up in us to cause trouble, and defile many. The Bible also says that blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God. If you are child of God, are also a peacemaker? I am not saying you should not have a position on matters but I am saying let your words and actions; let your reactions be born out of the love of God that is resident in your spirit. I am saying, judge yourself and judge the spirit behind your thought patterns, your words and your actions. 

Measure your fellowship with man and measure your fellowship with God – 

Pay attention to your relationships and fellowship. If you do not love man who you see how can you love God Whom you have not seen? If you love only those who love you how are you different from the non-believer? When, not if, when we go through challenges and persecution, we must be careful to not let those experiences mark us with bitterness. Let the mark we carry be that of Christ - love. When we allow bitterness a foothold in our hearts, the bitterness will create a blockage in our walk with God. Bitterness does not destroy the one who offends us, but it destroys the vessel that carries it. Bitterness soils our fellowship with people and interferes with our fellowship God. God never leaves us or forsakes us but when we step out of love, we stop the flow of God’s presence. He is always there but we are not receiving. Don’t let the circumstances of life separate you from the love of God. Like the Apostle Paul, we should say- I want to know Christ--yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participate in His sufferings, and become like Him in His death. Did you know that love or compassion is how we identify with His sufferings; the love of God is how we allow ourselves to go through persecution; love is how we manifest the fruits of the Spirit such as longsuffering and patience.   

It is when you embrace your love identity that you can surrender to the Holy Spirit and live a life free of offence and bitterness.  

Lastly, measure your hunger for God and the things of God - See the example of Lucy Farrow. Though William J. Seymour is acknowledged as the leader of the famous Azusa Street Revival, it was, Lucy Farrow, a black woman who is credited with providing the initial spark that ignited that revival.  

William Seymour invited and Lucy to the prayer meetings and when she arrived on the scene, she began laying her hands on people and seeing God fill them with the Holy Spirit as in the book of Acts. She also ministered with power across the southern United States and in Liberia in West Africa. She lived out her final years in Los Angeles, where there were reported healings and remarkable answers to prayer through her ministry. This remarkable woman was born into slavery in the state of Virginia. But in spite of being continually confronted with prejudice and injustice, she became a powerful voice in the early Pentecostal revival and provided the spark in Los Angeles that ignited the revival that has spread across the world and impacted all of Christendom. She is an example of how one can become a force for God and good even in the most difficult and aggravating circumstances. In the Azusa Street revival, no one cared who was black, white or in between. The power of God united them; hunger was common. There was no division. 

In Genesis chapter 1, we see the record of God and all He did during creation. God made things and some things He made out of other things He had created. Everything God made out of something always has to be attached to that source. For example, He made fishes out of the water and we know that fishes cannot survive outside of water. Man was made from God and man cannot exist outside of God and God is love. When you walk outside of love, you are cutting yourself off from the life of God.  

This is the reason that if you open my bible, in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 everywhere the word love, appears, you see my name. It reads:  

Ayo is patient, Ayo is kind. Ayo does not envy, Ayo does not boast, Ayo is not proud.  Ayo does not dishonor others, Ayo is not self-seeking, Ayo is not easily angered, Ayo keeps no record of wrongs.  Ayo does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Ayo always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Ayo never fails. 

I will close with the same reminder I started with: Never forget, child of God, that love is the maturity thermostat regulating you and love is a thermometer measuring and locating you.  

How do you want to be remembered, when your work on earth is done?  The Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says, ‘If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 

I want it to be said of me that, ‘she loved greatly’. I want it to be said of me that, ‘she loved the unlovable, she touched the untouchables’. The hallmark or the measure of a Christian is love. Let me be known for love. 

Until next time, stay ignited. 

 

Ayodola and the W2NM Team 

Yours in His service, 

Ayodola & the W2NM Team