Cultivating The Jesus Kind of Love

Gilson LacerdaFebruary/March 2024 WOFLeave a Comment

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TO GROW A garden successfully, we can’t plant starters or seeds and then leave them unattended and expect them to grow. We have to water and fertilize a garden properly if we want the best harvest. We have to weed our garden and protect the plants from insects and pests that could ruin our work.

In the same way, spiritual things like love must be cultivated in order to grow. In other words, we can’t plant the Word of God in our hearts and then neglect it. No, we have to water the seed of the Word that has been planted in our hearts by continuing in the Word—reading, studying, and thinking on it. And we have to guard the “soil” of our hearts against the enemies that would try to steal our harvest.

1 THESSALONIANS 3:12 (NKJV)

12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you.

As we yield ourselves to God, He will cause us to increase and abound in love—to grow in love. When we apply ourselves to cultivating God’s love in our lives, that love will grow.

Love Must Grow in Good ‘Soil’

Growing in love requires work. We don’t accidentally grow in spiritual things any more than we would accidentally grow a prize-winning crop of flowers, fruits, or vegetables.

To grow in love, we must carefully guard our hearts. We must continually cultivate the soil of our hearts to keep it soft, not hard. And we must keep our hearts free of “weeds” that could choke the life out of our harvest.

Cultivating our hearts will take diligent effort. But we are not without help! God has given us ample tools to ensure that love grows and increases in our hearts and lives.

We Must Think With Love

To grow in love, we must first think with love.

PHILIPPIANS 4:8

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Many Christians are very lax when it comes to their thought life. They allow their minds to wander and dwell on the wrong things. They do it mostly out of habit. They’ve been dwelling on “what someone did to me” for so long that it’s easier to continue thinking that way. It takes effort to force their minds to think in a different, new, and better direction—to think on God’s Word!

An individual’s constant focus on what someone else did to hurt him comes from “the god of this world,” Satan. Harboring offense goes completely against God’s Word. That’s why we must choose which side we’re on—we must choose what we are going to think on. If we choose rightly, we can walk free of the pain of the past. But if we choose to dwell on the evil that happened, that evil will become a stronghold in our lives. If we don’t change our thought processes to line up with God’s Word, we will not grow in love.

We Must Look With Love

Jesus had compassion even on those who rejected Him. He looked on people bound by sin. He looked on those who were considered less fortunate. He looked on the multitudes with their many needs. And He was moved with compassion toward all of them!

Likewise, when we look around us, we need to see more than a neighbor, a housewife, a doctor, a teacher, or a student. We need to see individual people with individual needs that God can meet through a heart that belongs to Him.

Too often we look at others, especially those who are unkind, with criticism and skepticism instead of love and compassion. We need to look with love past the faults, failures, and shortcomings of others. When we hear of someone who has made a mistake and has been overtaken in a sin, our first thought should not be to judge them. We should think, “If I were in that position, how would I want to be treated? Would I want to be criticized and talked about? Or would I want to be shown mercy and forgiveness?”

We Must Listen With Love

When people around us are crying out for help, we are often so busy that we don’t really hear them. We are taken up with the cares or necessary tasks of life and don’t give them the help they need. Instead of offering up a quick prayer, “Lord, bless them,” we need to develop a tender heart and a hearing ear toward those who are hurting.

Often when we do take time to help someone in need, we want to do all the talking. We listen a little bit and think we have the answer they need all wrapped up in a nice, neat package. Instead of bandaging the wound, we’re just talking and not really helping.

If you were to skin your right knee, you wouldn’t clean and bandage your left knee, would you? No, you would wash and bandage the area that was hurt. Similarly, if we want to grow in love, we must learn to listen with love so that we can effectively minister God’s love and healing mercy where it’s needed.

We Must Speak With Love

Words are containers. They can be filled with faith, hope, love, and mercy—or with doubt, despair, fear, and hatred. The words we speak to someone who has fallen can lift them up, or they can cause that person to sink further into hopelessness.

We must refuse to use our mouths to condemn a brother or sister. Instead, our lips should be filled with love and compassion. Our words should usher brothers and sisters back into the family; they shouldn’t expel them.

Maturing in love and rising above offense won’t always be easy. But it is the right thing to do! My dad used to tell me, “Son, if something is worth having, it’s worth working for.”

The things of God won’t just fall on us. We must desire them and position ourselves to receive them. It takes a plant time to grow and bear fruit. In the same way, we must grow in love.


[Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from How to Turn Your Faith Loose, a slimline book by Kenneth E. Hagin.]

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Kenneth W. Hagin

Kenneth W. Hagin

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