Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 1 Cor 13:1 NKJV
The idea that the operation of the gifts of the Spirit could be described by a mathematical formula was first expressed to me by my dear friend Dr. Dale Sides. This concept intrigued me because I knew that mathematics is the language of science, indeed of all creation itself. Everything in creation is mathematical ino nature. Jesus expressed that even faith was mathematical. When He said in Matthew 9:29 that the two blind men would receive their healing ‘according to’ their faith, He was making a statement that could be described mathematically.
I want to give you Dr. Sides formula; then give you what I added to it and why I added it. Finally I want to show you how to use the formula to produce supernatural power. Here is the original statement:
“Love ( spiritual speaking plus spiritual knowledge plus spiritual faith ) = spiritual power.”
Do you see that? Love is the multiplying factor in the gifts of the Spirit. Without love, all the gifts of the Spirit have no benefit. Indeed, it is love that energizes faith, making one very powerful. If you want to have great faith, you must strive to have great love.
Now, what did I add to the formula? The formula itself is perfect, but I added a factor on the love side to help us understand and rise up to the level of the love of God. Some expressions of love can be paternalistic in nature ( I’m smarter than you, I’m better than you, you need me to be your father or mother ), which we all hate, except when we are engaging in it ourselves. Here is what I added…
‘Love plus grace’ or ‘love that flows out of grace.’ Why do we need the understanding of grace? We need it because the carnal nature will always say that the individual does not deserve to receive the gift, therefore they should not receive it. We then give ourselves an option of not trying to impart it to them because we have judged them unworthy. People without grace see no miracles because they don’t even try. They are full of smugness, which is really fear, not love. Grace says, “A gift is an expression of love, not a wage or reward for good works.”
The Word says that we are to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Anyone, at any time, under any condition, including death, can be given and receive a gift from God. Do you see how that releases you, as a minister of the gifts, to walk in supernatural power?
Let’s consider briefly the fifteen phrases, seven affirmative and eight contrasting, that are used to describe the love of God in verses 4 – 7.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor 13:4-7 NKJV
Let me give you again what I wrote a few weeks ago…
Love suffers long…1 Cor 13:4 NKJV
How would you describe love?
The first great, positive statement about the love of God is that ‘love suffers long.’ My first inclination would be to say that love is giving, or generosity. But when God says that ‘love suffers long,’ there is a much deeper reality here that goes right to the heart of the individual who is loving. ‘Suffers long’ is the Greek word MACROTHUMIA. There is another New Testament Greek word translated ‘patience,’ which is HUPOMENO. Zodhiates says, and I think he is right, that HUPOMENO refers to patience with things or circumstances, while MACROTHUMIA refers to patience with people. Hallelujah! That is the test!
Generosity can be impulsive, spontaneous, emotional, but that’s not the love of God. When I am patient with people, when I ‘suffer long,’ I have to ‘dig down deep,’ past my emotions, into the core of who I am, to find the strength to love people patiently. That is the test of the love of God in my life. Do you see it?
One aspect of MACROTHUMIA that relates to the gifts of the Spirit is TIMING. We are all volunteers in the army of God. We do not serve under the force of law, like conscripts. Alec Baldwin, playing the role of the true historical character Colonel Jimmy Doolittle in the movie PEARL HARBOR, makes the observation that ‘there is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.’ That’s the positive side, but in working with other volunteers, you can never quite know to what degree they have volunteered, and what lines cannot be crossed. So, you must tread lightly, be kind, and timing becomes a huge issue.
When you mix the revelation gifts with the love of God, loving people patiently, then you can know WHAT to do, and WHEN to do it.
and is kind…1 Cor 13:4 NKJV
The word ‘kind’ is the word CHRESTEUOMAI, to show oneself useful, with emphasis on the action instead of the emotion. Your whole thinking in operating in the gifts is the glory of God and the benefit of another. With that mindset you will avoid many pitfalls and errors. I love this definition because it takes love out of the realm of intentions and into the realm of actions. I will demonstrate my love, rather than just tell you about it.
love does not envy; 1 Cor 13:4 NKJV
Envy is a form of hatred.
Love is a decision, not an emotion. If I waited around until I felt like loving someone, we might be waiting a long time! But I decide, I choose, to love.
Jealousy had been a terrible stronghold in my life. Only when I chose to begin to rejoice in the success of others did I begin to become free of that thing. Today I am as happy for you as I am for me!
The next step in rejoicing in the success of others is that you begin to seek to impart to others that which they will need to be successful. As a teacher and minister I love to help people draw close to God. Healing, in all of its shapes and forms happens when people connect with God. In our seminars I see people connecting with God. In Parakou, Benin recently I watched as over two hundred people were connecting with God individually so that they could prophesy to one another. Then the miracles came…
The love of God is the key to the gifts, the key to success, the great ‘force multiplier’ in a body of believers that causes one to be able to rout a thousand. The love of God crushes fear, and sets the captives free.
love does not parade itself… 1 Cor 13:4 NKJV
I had preached something for years before I got an unusual confirmation that we were on the right track. In TRANSPORTED BY THE LION OF JUDAH by Anne Elmer, the author saw visions of, among many other things, ministers whose faces were obscured so that they couldn’t be recognized. The Lord explained to her that these were ministers who did not seek recognition, but only sought to glorify their Lord. For years, I have preached that we seek to be ‘nameless and faceless’ servants who seek only to glorify their Lord. I have learned that there is great protection in this mindset because so many of the ‘shooting star’ ministries have flamed out and fallen to earth. By His mercy, we are still here…
…is not puffed up; 1 Cor 13:4 NKJV
Now the phrases ‘does not parade itself, and ‘is not puffed up’ would seem to be synonymous. They are the words PERPEREUMAI, used one time in the Greek New Testament, and PHUSIOO, used seven times. The number of times and the contextual usage of words is significant. We really have to put on our Holy Spirit led thinking caps to discern their unique meanings…
PHUSIOO is used of dividing believers as to one being more significant or important than another. I once attended a meeting of apostles where there was a special dining room for the elites and another for the ‘rank and file.’ PHUSIOO is one of the great ways that we in the Charismatic movement cut our own throats. PHUSIOO is used seven times in the Greek NT, six of which are right here in the ‘reproof’ epistle of 1 Corinthians. The Lord is saying, “Hello! HELLO! Can anyone hear Me…?”
…does not behave rudely…1 Cor 13:5 NKJV
Rudeness varies from culture to culture. What may be acceptable in one place is totally disgusting someplace else. In my early days in Africa, I would hug all the believers, both men and women, because that’s what we did in the USA. It didn’t go over very well! What the Word is trying to emphasize here is ‘having an inner awareness’ of the unspoken realities present, a sensitivity to the situation at hand that allows you by the Spirit to do the right thing at the right time. The love of God does that…
…does not seek its own…1 Cor 13:5 NKJV
Doesn’t seek its own WHAT? Jesus said that there were two things that He did not seek: His own will (John 5:30) and His own glory (John 8:50). Enough said!
…is not provoked… 1 Cor 13:5 NKJV
PAROXUNO is only used two times in the Greek NT, one of which is where Paul’s spirit is stirred by the Holy Spirit, and here. The love of God guards us from being stirred up by evil spirits to do unseemly or ungodly acts. Thoughts can be planted in your mind but you reject them. You throw them out. You don’t incubate them. The love of God is the safest, wisest, most important way to choose to act in every situation!
It’s been said that the bigger you are, the harder you fall. The love of God keeps you from falling!
…thinks no evil… 1 Cor 13:5 NKJV
LOGIZOMAI is one of the great New Testament Greek verbs! It’s used in many significant verses, and is one of my favorites because it is a mathematical term, which means it is not arbitrary but rather definable. It is used of keeping an account in a ledger. If you have the love of God, you don’t keep a ledger of all the wrongs that have been done to you. You reject the memories, and you allow the forgiving grace of the Holy Spirit to heal your heart and your enemies. In the love of God we have no human enemies, just people we have to be careful around…
…does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth… 1 Cor 13:6 NKJV
Nothing defines the purity of your heart, or the lack thereof, more than what you delight or rejoice in.
…bears all things… 1 Cor 13:7 NKJV
You have to love this one! STEGO means ‘to cover over with silence.’ Gossip demons have destroyed more churches than adultery demons. You have to be trustworthy to get revelation. If you start bragging about the revelation you get, you will grieve the Holy Spirit, and start getting revelation from demons. Then you are really in trouble…
…believes all things…1 Cor 13:7 NKJV
Love and faith inextricably intertwined. Many times, in ministering healing effectively, the greatest challenge is to get people to love themselves enough so that they have faith for themselves to be healed. Do you get that, you healing ministers? Paul said, I know nothing of which I am guilty. And yet, Paul had been a persecutor of Christians, and partook in the murder of Stephen. But the realities of the new birth and Christs atonement were so real to him that he had no guilt, no shame. Such a tender spirit can receive easily from God! The walls we put up before Him keep us from receiving from Him. The wisdom of God in the healing minister helps the person bring down their walls so that ‘the Lord who heals you’ can come in and work.
…hopes all things…1 Cor 13:7 NKJV
The joy of the anticipation of the blessing of God makes life sing! In the love of God you know that this is the day that the Lord has made, and you will rejoice and be glad in it. A pure heart anticipates good, because as we sow, we are going to reap. The love of God purifies everything…
…endures all things…1 Cor 13:7 NKJV
This is HUPOMENO, meaning patient in enduring situations and circumstances, while knowing that God is working and bringing a promised end. This brings us back to MACROTHUMIA, the first quality listed, which was patience in dealing with people, bless God forever! With HUPOMENO in the love of God we are filled with quiet, confident faith that sustains us until the promise of God is manifested.
Now, with understanding the formula for spiritual power, you can always check yourself when you are not seeing the power of God manifested. Am I walking in the love of God? Am I strong in the grace of our Lord? Am I operating the speaking gifts abundantly, especially speaking much in tongues? Am I getting revelation? Am I operating in spiritual faith, or am I trying to walk out revelation in my faith? Once you understand the formula, as my dear friend Dr. Dale Sides laid it out, then you can always check, and align yourself, so that you walk in power.
“love out of grace ( spiritual speaking + revelation + spiritual faith ) = spiritual power.”
Go get ‘em, son or daughter of God!
Remember dear ones, we must be about our Father’s business…