THE SECRET TO LOVING YOUR NEIGHBORS
by Jim Glynn
I have been influenced deeply by the principles I have been learning from Ed Silvosoís teachings on the revival of the last few years in Argentina. The Holy Spirit has been leading me to apply these principles to his plan for the revival of Haiti. Iíve come to realize how desperately the Church here in the U.S. needs to apply these same lessons that I am now teaching to our team in Haiti.
Count five houses on either side of your house. Now look across the street and count five more houses in both directions. Here is a cluster that you might regard as the first place God is calling you to serve him. The only reason why the people in these houses are not all Christians is because "the God of this world has blinded them so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel shining on them" (2Cor. 4:4). He assigns demons to each of them so they are literally unable to see the light of the Gospel. You can talk to them about anything else and they are very friendly. Talk about the weather, talk about sports, talk about your yard, cars, anything. No problem. Try to mention Jesus Christ and a wall immediately goes up and tension and discomfort mount. How do you explain this sudden complete change, except that the demons jump right in as soon as you mention the Gospel?
Now walk your neighborhood and pray blessings over each of those houses. Do it "undercover," maybe in the guise of walking the dog or getting exercise. As you pass each house, bless the house and those who live in it in the name of Jesus. Maybe you are more accustomed to curse your neighbors. Oh, you donít really say, "I curse you," but maybe in your heart you think only evil against them. "That so-and-so, look at their messed-up children, theyíre just a bunch of drunks, listen to that terrible music they playä" Every time you think or speak those things against your neighbors, the demons dance; they LOVE curses! But when you speak and pray blessings over them, the demons are repelled and have to leave, and then the light of the Gospel can shine! Then suddenly, unexpectedly, you find yourself in some conversation you never even dreamed you could have with your neighbor!
God says, "Iím glad you never witnessed to anyone in your neighborhood." "Why, Lord?" we ask. "Because you donít LOVE these people, and because I need to change you before you can change them." "But, Lord, they donít love me, and look at what terrible sinners they are!" "Yes, my child, but you are a lamb and I am sending you among wolves. This is the way itís supposed to be."
Think how you feel when a Jehovahís Witness comes to your door. Theyíre dressed nice. They speak kindly. They smile. But you can FEEL that their real purpose is not to love you and be your friend, but simply to CONVERT you. How often do we give that same impression to our unsaved neighbors. Thereís something wrong with you. Please get converted quickly so we can return to the people we really like to be with at our church. Jesus never projected rejection to any sinner, even to prostitutes. He only rejected hypocritical religious leaders!
One day, after you have walked your neighborhood over and over and over a hundred times simply asking God to bless the homes and families, after you have had many conversations over the fence or even over a bar-b-que with one or more of them with no motive but to love them as God loves them, with no judgment or rejection, then one day something amazing will happen. Your neighbor will feel comfortable enough with you to share some felt need. Some fear or worry or problem. Something in the marriage or children or job. Some specific financial need. Maybe something personal. THIS is the "moment of truth" for you. Then and only then is it time to speak a word. And the word is simply this: "I will pray for you." Never mind if they donít believe in prayer. Tell them, "You donít have to believe. Iíll do the praying and I believe in prayer. Once Iím done praying, then you will believe, too, because I know God wants to work a miracle for you." No Bible. No presentation of the four spiritual laws. No explanation of Jesus as God and man. No confession of sins. Not now.
Now go home and PRAY for a miracle, fervently, with all your heart, every day. So what if nothing happens; youíre no worse off than when you never prayed for your neighbor at all! You tell them, "Iím praying for you, and Iím asking God to intervene in this situation with a miracle." Unbelievers donít care whether or not prayer will be answered. They donít expect it to be! You donít have to guarantee them an answer. At this point, they just think of it as a "nice gesture" of their religious neighbor.
Suppose you had a problem that only Bill Clinton can fix. You canít get through to ask him yourself. But suppose I have a cousin who is the custodian that cleans Billís office? I say, "Write a letter and Iíll have my cousin put it on Billís desk." So would you say, "Iíll only do it if you can guarantee that Bill Clinton will give me what I need"? Of course not, youíd be happy just to take a chance. So it is to tell unbelievers you will pray and expect a miracle from God for them.
You know, so often when we pray for believers who are sick, they die. They are going directly to be with the Lord. But some of the greatest prayer miracles we see are when we pray for the lost, and you can understand the heart of God in this.
You see, you are praying for your neighbors to meet Christ directly, to experience him first-hand in meeting a felt need in their lives. This is so different from the intellectual approach, where we sit down with a Bible and try to convince people to "accept" the Lord with their minds, with no first-hand experience that this God in our minds really does exist in the real world. The lost must see that God wants to do something for them, something visible, something of his power that they will experience. The man who was born blind, when asked questions by the Pharisees on how he was healed, simply responded, "I donít understand. I only know, I was blind and now I see."
Thereís a church in Buenos Aires that has seven worship services each day, and keeps on growing. Point to anyone in the church and ask, "Tell me about that person," and you will hear such a story as this: "Oh, that woman. She was standing in her house with a gun to her head ready to pull the trigger. Suddenly she heard the loud voice of a man from a neighborís radio saying, "I bind the spirit of suicide in the name of Jesus!" She put the gun down, ran to the neighbor and asked, "Where is the church where this man is preaching?" She ran to the church and fell before the Lord and here she is! Later she discovered that members of the church had been walking past her house each day, praying for God to bless her. Look at her Bible and see how worn out it is. After she experienced the power of God to save her life, then she was hungry to fill her mind with wisdom!"
Weíve grown a generation of Christians who never knew the power, so itís no wonder that so much of the Church today is empty and dead. Itís no wonder that so much of the church majors in law and judgment instead of the spirit of liberty, power, and miracles!
Now the Lord wants to give YOU a gift. Would you like to have the heart of Jesus? Ask him, right now, to give you an anointing of compassion for the lost. None of us is born with it, but the Lord can change our heart by an anointing. Cup your hands like a little kid coming to her dad, and pray this prayer: Lord Jesus, change my heart, make my heart like your heart. Break it. Melt it. Mold it. Give me a new anointing, an anointing of compassion for the lost. I want to love them as much as you love them. Give me that anointing. I ask for it by faith. I receive it by faith, and by faith I will use it. Thank you, Jesus. Amen. Now take your hands and put them on your chest. Apply the anointing there. Wait there a moment. Tell the Lord, give me more, Lord. Possess my soul; change my heart.
Now, each time you enter your house, first look to the right and the left and across the street. Bless them, one by one, and the anointing will rise up in your chest. You cannot bless people without an urge to love them. The key to love your neighbors is to bless them first and then you will love them immediately. When you bless them, and then you love them, and then you fellowship with them, and then, at the right moment, witness to the power of your prayers before them, then one day they will say, "You are like Jesus."
In His Service, Jim & Margie Glynn
Heart of God Ministries, 2820 N. Kennicott Ave., Arlington Hts, IL 60004
PH: 847.870.0977 / FAX: 847.870.0978 /
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