The Essential Piece
The Essential Piece is being prepared for re-print.
Estimated availability early fall 2021
Excerpt from the book The Essential Piece
Chapter 1 Hate That We Might Love
Naturally hating for Jesus is not a worldly, vengeful, angry hatred that seeks to do others harm. Hating for Jesus is much more difficult than sinful hatred. Such godly hatred requires resolve and obedience to the Living God by dying to self that most just will not accept. Fact is, much opposition awaits anyone willing to love as Jesus loved by walking as Jesus walked.
Jesus said the greatest commandment is this:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)
We must love God with all. All means 100 percent! However, to those who say that Luke 14:26 and John 12:25 mean only that we love God more than all other things, all means only 51 percent. They love God more than all other loves; therefore, they allow a small majority to suffice. It does not matter to them that worshipping God while still having other loves constitutes idolatry. Indeed this is why Scripture says, “Do not make any gods to be alongside me” (Exod. 20:23a). Those who love God only more than other loves have many gods alongside Him. God directly warned against idolatry throughout the Old Testament and the message continues in the New Testament: “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).
The greatest commandment does not read, “Love the Lord your God with a majority of your mind, strength, and soul.” The commandment says all, which means 100 percent, not 51 percent. Only in the church is 51 percent considered 100 percent. In no way does the commandment imply that we should love God merely more than half or more in comparison with other loves.
The circle above represents our life filled with many loves. In order for us to grow to love God with all, we must push out every other love. Otherwise we cannot possibly come to a place where we can say that we love God as He commands.
Luke 14 and John 12 are merely the how to of the greatest commandment. Jesus has told us how we can grow in our love for God and other men. He has given us the key that will allow the Holy Spirit to work the greatest of all commandments in us.
A man or woman unwilling to grow in this hatred will never know how to love God or his “neighbor as himself” by the power of the Holy Spirit. If you want to be filled with God’s love, then all other loves must go. Yet the only way we can possibly let go of our loves is to learn to hate them.
Think of it this way: God is love, pure love, holy love, and the source of love. God’s love is the only real love in the universe. When man separated himself from God, he lost the ability to love. Once someone returns to God with a surrendered heart, then God will begin to pour His love through that person, “for love comes from God.”
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)
When we continue to allow sin and self to remain in us, we cannot really love others. Though we might be in the church doing good deeds, if we do not hate, then we are unable to love. It might appear to others to be love, but it is not God’s love in us; it is our prideful self doing its deceitful work. God is the only source of the river of love that wells up in us to eternal life.4 There is no better way a man can love than to love another with God’s love. There is no greater holy worship than to love God with the love He pours in us. We are to love as Jesus loved, and Jesus loved others only with the love God willed and worked through Him.5
My wife discovered this concept while working with physically and mentally handicapped children. She seemed to have a God-given gift to love these people. Yet as her walk with the Lord grew deeper, she realized the shallowness of her love. She gave out hugs to these kids in order to feel special herself. Once she died to her selfish motives, God could pour out tremendous amounts of love through her.
When John writes that he knows and relies on God’s love, he means more than just resting in the fact that God loves him. John also means that he has God’s love in him and he knows God’s love. John knew that daily he needed to rely on God’s love rather than his own ability and wisdom to love others.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)
Think of a prism. It cannot produce light, but when light passes through it, we see a rainbow. In the same way, when God’s love passes through us, everyone can see His love. The cleaner the prism, the better the rainbow shines. If the prism is cloudy or has faults in it, the effect is not as strong. The Bible says that God is pure light, an “unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.”6 Pure light in the universe cannot be seen; no scientist has ever seen pure light. Indeed when you look out in the morning you are not looking at sunlight. When you look at the tree in your front yard you see what the light reveals, but not the light itself. If the tree were not there, you would not see light. In fact without the tree everything would be complete blackness. Astronauts traveling in space are amazed at the blackness and darkness because there is so little in space to reflect the light. In the same way, if we do not let God’s light shine through us, men cannot see His love. If He had said, “Let there be light,” before creating the heaven and the earth, the darkness would have remained.
Jesus said that “apart from” Him we could do “nothing.” That means we cannot even love others or God without Him giving us the power. This is why John said that those who rely on God’s love live in God and God in them. Those who have hated their loves in the fullest sense of the word have room for God to fill them with Himself and thus His love. To have God in us is to have love, for “God is love” (1 John 4:16). Don’t believe this? Then just look at the world’s attempt to love.
The reason for godly hatred is both logical and reasonable. Our love, even at its best, is tainted with self and sin. Scripture says our love is “worthless.”
All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. (Rom. 3:12)
Until we see with spiritual eyes just how true it is that Grandma is equal to a mass murderer, we will never understand this teaching. Love apart from the power of Jesus is a vile and contemptuous thing. No man is able to show love apart from God. The kindest act performed by Grandma or anyone else, if not done in God’s power, is one of cruelty.
A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel. (Prov. 12:10)
Unfortunately, we view acts of love by men with sinful, darkened eyes. In our minds, our actions appear full of wisdom, kindness, and love. Until we see how corrupt our love really is, we will never be willing to hate our acts of kindness. Oh, for a church that would have hate in their fellowship. Rather than simply socializing, they might come to really love one another according to God’s will.
Again, our love is totally corrupt, for we love others with selfish motives and darkened wisdom. We have children because it makes us happy and fulfilled. We discipline our children because we want them to look good to others or ourselves. A wife will tell her husband she loves him so she can hear the words back. We give to the poor, sing hymns, serve, or help others because it makes us feel better. We give ourselves to a cause because it makes us feel spiritual and righteous. In everything we do, in every way we love, it always comes back to us and our selfishness. God’s love is the only totally selfless love. We must rely on it if we dare hope to become pure enough to see God.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matt. 5:8)
If you desire this purity and love, then you must prepare yourself to be taught by God to hate. For only those who hate, reject, utterly abhor, and push aside their love(s) as Jesus commands will have room for God’s pure love. Like empty branches connected to the vine, the more empty you become, the more fruit you produce.7 If you are unwilling to hate your own life, then you will be “thrown away” and left to slowly “wither” spiritually.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:4–6)
If you remain in Jesus and He remains in you, then you will be filled with the fruit of God’s love. Only those who find it a joy to hate remain empty enough to be filled with the life of God. They become empty enough because they willfully push out everything in the circle of their little lives, including themselves, so that God might be all in them. He who is willing to hate will be given power to love God with all his heart, mind, and strength.
Hate: A Quick Definition
Taking all scriptures into account, a crude and quick definition of what Jesus said can be put this way:
Hate: To put forth all the energy a man has to oppose, reject, abhor, ignore, and refuse that which stands in the way of God’s will and power. To do so to the point that only God’s love and life remain. To empty one’s self to the point that all that remains in the person is God.
We know when Jesus said we must hate that He did not mean by comparison. Such definitions make no sense. When you state that you hate chocolate ice cream, does that mean only when compared to vanilla? No. When we say that we hate chocolate ice cream, there is no comparison. If you hate your neighbor, does this mean that you just love him less compared to how much you love your friends? No. It means that even if you did not have any friends, you would still hate him.
Think back to when you were in school. When you hated someone, you really hated that person. You went out of your way to slander him, to avoid him, to rejoice when harm came to him. If any of your friends dared to say anything good about that person, you were quick to refute it. Hate is an absolute word that implies a great deal of energy, power, and effort. If Jesus had meant by comparison, He would have said, “dislike,” not “hate.”
Just try a comparison love with your wife. Tell her that compared to other women she is the one you love more. Try telling her that she has the majority of your love. Likewise, try telling Jesus that by comparison you will give Him the majority of your love. Just try telling Jesus that compared to all other husbands you could choose, He won out. In fact, tell Jesus that someone was a close second and see how He feels about marrying you. You have been promised to Jesus and He does not want anyone who fluctuates between a 49 percent and a 51 percent love for Him. In fact, Jesus only wants those who love Him, not with a 99.9 percent depth of love, but with a 100 percent love. Jesus is not interested in mere virgins; He wants only “pure virgin” (emphasis added). There is a big difference between the two.8
I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. (2 Cor. 11:2)
Now do you understand why Jesus used the word hate? We are to be a people going out of our way to abolish any other loves and affections. After all, our God is a jealous God.
For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deut. 4:24)
God is not selfish; He is worthy. Nothing else is like God. No one else is worthy of even a fraction of our love or affection. He is above all else worthy of all of our love.
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Rev. 4:9–11)
Because Christians (true Christians) are the only ones who know He is worthy, they are willing to hate for Jesus. They do not have to be convinced to hate, no more than the man who finds a treasure in a field must be convinced to sell all in order to get the treasure. Such Christians know and grow in the knowledge that God is worthy and can see both the wisdom and the need to grow in hating for Jesus. Indeed it is their joy! Let us, with God’s permission, begin to look at this joy in Jesus. If all of this is confusing and hard to understand, then plead with God to soften your heart and open your mind. A hard heart and dull mind will keep you from understanding this teaching.
. . . for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:52)
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)
Chapter 2 LARGE CROWDS
Let us begin where Jesus did. He began with the large crowds traveling with him. Travelers next to Jesus heard His voice, fellowshipped with Him, experienced His miracles, and even gave up much to follow Him. They were travelers, like so many in the church today, who could swear that Jesus was very close to them. However, they were only unsaved travelers, and Jesus warned them about it. The difference between a traveler and someone saved is hate.
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said. . . (Luke 14:25)
… see book