The Prophetic Burden for Righteous Love
… There is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. II Cor. 11:28
Prophets care for the relationship of people to divine truth. That is their burden. And that is the expression of their love. Their love is to a standard. That is, they are burdened by divine love for people’s conscious accountability to who God is in His righteousness.
This in fact is the divine burden. Toward those outside God, the burden is expressed as love over violation of God’s righteousness (called sin). Toward those inside God, the primary burden of love is over growing conformity toward God’s righteousness.
The Inseparability of Love from Righteousness
For the true prophet and a truly prophetic church, relationship to God and relationship to His righteousness is utterly inseparable. It is not possible to define or experience divine love by one without the other. Reconciliation with and conformity to divine righteousness is in fact the central theme of the entire Bible! All divine love is expressed with respect to and in context of relationship to divine righteousness.
People however define love as something apart from any standard of righteousness. People believe that love is always about release from accountability to a standard. Such release they call “grace,” and such accountability they call “judgmentalism.”
Therefore no one who ever loves another by caring for the one’s relationship to a divine standard of righteousness can ever be considered loving, only judgmental. Prophets are therefore perpetually misunderstood, misinterpreted and judged in reverse as hate mongers. This is the attitude of both the world and the world-conformed church.
Unbearability of the Love Burden
The prophetic care is a humanly unbearable one. It bears a love for those with whom the prophet otherwise may not be able to enjoy the fellowship of love because of behavior contrary to the divine righteousness in which the prophet’s love is otherwise grounded. Prophets deeply desire to be with those with whom they otherwise may not be allowed to fellowship or necessarily even hold company. Love oft demands separation, not just union, oft even more so, leading to a very lonely “love life” for the prophet.
True Prophets are held accountable in God’s love for their own conformity to the righteous standard of Who the Lord Is in His holiness. Their love for others only reflects the accountable nature of the love to which their own hearts are internally held. Their love for the Lord is based in their fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord undergirding their love in the Lord is what separates their love from the world’s concept of love, and from that of the worldly church.
The Prophetic Conscience of the Church
The church was made to be the conscience of the world, and the prophetic was made to be the conscience of the church. The evangelical purpose of the church was always to love the world toward submissive reconciliation to the righteousness displayed at Calvary, for Calvary itself was in fact the demonstration of love with respect to the righteousness of God.
Of course, such a concept of love is entirely incomprehensible to the world, requiring of it a humanly impossible change of mind toward God’s love, a change biblically called “repentance.” And it is only by divine intervention into the heart of the world through any kind of conviction of sin that the world might be able to come to yield to, accept and embrace the love of God for that reconciliation.
Similarly, the “evangelical purpose” of the prophet was always to love the church toward ongoing submissive conformity to the righteousness displayed at Calvary—applied forthwith to every motive of heart, thought of mind and action of the body. The loving evangelical repentance mandate given the church toward the world was internally given the prophet toward the church for her own continuing growth into conformity to God’s righteousness, ie, “conformity to His image.”
The Battle for the Meaning of Divine Love
But we see in these end of the end times what has happened in the church at large. The great spiritual battle of these times has been over the righteous meaning of the love of God. That is to say, it has been over the definition of love with respect to any associated meaning of righteousness.
The flagship word of the Church has always been the word “love.” In the end times, the world too has adapted the same word “love” as its flagship. The worldly definition of love is one of human fellowship divorced from any and all association with divine behavioral righteousness. It is further known and spoken of in the world as “unconditional love.”
In the battle between the church and world, the church has all but lost the battle for the meaning of love grounded in divine righteousness. Rather than boldly issuing the clarion repentance call toward the divine standard of Calvary for which it was known as recently as two generations ago, the surrounding wall of righteous love defining the church has been successfully broken down by the world. We have witnessed Jericho in reverse.
The world has successfully invaded and flooded the church’s streets and sanctuaries with its doctrine of unconditional love—a love unto fellowship apart from any implication of divine righteousness, and the now fashionable mantra on the lips of every preacher and prophet. The church’s teaching on love has now been virtually entirely unhinged from any understanding of divine behavioral righteousness. Any such understanding has been successfully pigeon holed as a relic of ancient pharisaism.
Defeat in the Inner Sanctum
But why has the conscience of the world as expressed through the church become so thoroughly seared? For answer to this we must look at the conscience of the church as expressed through the prophetic. The truth is that the church has lost the battle for the righteousness-based meaning of love because that battle has been lost internally within the prophetic, which is the conscience of the church.
The same battle between the external church and the world over the meaning of divine love has been fought and lost within the inner sanctums of the prophetic movement. If one looks at what has come to be called “the prophetic” since the 1980s, one easily sees that, except for some remaining scattered weak embers, the prophetic has been entirely emasculated of any divine love marked by the ongoing call to righteous motive, thought and behavior rooted in the fear of God. Look at any major ministry or movement identified as prophetic today. The indefatigable unashamed call to behavioral righteousness simply is not there.
The world has succeeded at capturing the ears of the church through converting most of her prophets (her own conscience) to the doctrine of unconditional love, stripped of the burning fear of God over behavior. Today, where any prophetic still exists, it is little more than an exercise in fortune telling people’s destinies and political events.
There is no more clarion call within the church to repentance toward conformity to the righteousness of Christ in the fear of God exemplified by any behavioral standard reflected in scripture. In fact, righteousness itself has been subverted to mean something outside reference to any standard of motive, thought or behavior. To be “righteous” now means to be amelioratingly non-judgmental.
Finding Grace to “Disown” the Burden
The opening purpose of this article has been to declare and prove the truth of the genuine love that underlies the prophetic heart—showing that the prophetic heart which holds the church’s heart as well as its own accountable to the consciousness of divine righteousness is all about the true love of God, not contrary to that love as the worldly-drunk church would paint it. In course of this we have outlined the true prophetic battle and state of spiritual reality in the church over the meaning of divine love.
But the further intent of this article is to minister to the weary prophetic heart tired of the battle for righteous love. As we have seen, prophetic love is based in a prophetic burden. And a burden is a care.
The prophetic heart of divine love is a heart oft weighed down with the cares over the behaviors of those it loves with respect to God’s standards of righteousness. And in this day of rank lawlessness, the warfare over those burdens is exceedingly intense.
The Lord Jesus however seeks to remind us regarding our burdens and battles, that they are ultimately His, not ours, no matter how deeply we may feel and bear them. And it is to Him we are continually called to release back the weight, the care and the pain associated with the prophetic burden of caring for righteousness.
It is in fact possible for us to become so weighed down with the cares over the burden of righteous love that we can miss His appearing in our lives. “See that your hearts are not overcharged…and so that day comes upon you unawares.” We don’t want that to happen to us.
Negotiating the Season of Release
The burden of prophetic love passes through seasons. A season begins with the challenge to take up the burden. But it ends with the equal challenge to lay it down.
At both ends of the season, we may find it difficult to answer the opposite call. The call to love again is the call to care again for the righteousness of others, and may come with a dread of new pain to be borne over that concern….more rejection, more misunderstanding, more miscommunication, more charges of judgmentalism, pharisaism and hate mongering to bear…..
Oppositely, after we have borne a prophetic burden over the lives of others for some years, without fruit to show for it, the challenge may come, “It is now time to lay it down. It is time to ‘stop caring.’ It is time even to ‘stop praying.’”
This call will seem deeply defeating. “But Lord, for what? We still haven’t seen what we’ve given up and put up with so much to obtain….”
We hesitate to release the burden because we don’t want to quit on our heart’s investment through intercession and tears. The longer we have invested in a prophetic love burden toward unfulfilled righteousness in people, the harder it is to let go when such mandate comes down from the throne.
The Love Belongs to the Lord
For these reasons, the prophetic burden of righteousness-based love is very difficult to engage. Yet the call is unmistakable and inescapable.
But it helps if we can see the landscape for what it is objectively like this. This article gives a view from “35,000 feet up.” It is to give added strength to those continuing in the ground war of attrition against the false standardless love now overwhelming the church and to meeting the challenge of the season, especially when that challenge is to let go. It is time to rest.
Samuel had put a lot of intercessory heart investment in Saul. But it yet came time he had to let go of praying, even though he had not seen the fruit of what he had poured his heart into. In the end, the One who gave the burden commanded release of the burden and a change toward a new relational investment—the risky investment into finding David.
But this is what it means to give our hearts back to God. And that is where divine love is ultimately proven for its origin and authorship. The love of God is love that originates with God, belongs to God at all times, and is given targets for expression and withdrawal of expressions by God.
The love of God is never the love of or by the man bearing it. Man may own and direct his own love, but not the love that comes from God. (Of course, if you are deceived in your belief about God’s love, you don’t believe God’s love has any targeted direction or parameters for withdrawal. God is love and love is God, and is all and in all, without definition, without condition, without nuthin’. Love as you will and do as you please.)
The conclusion of the matter is this: Fear God and keep His commandments. This is the love of God, and nothing else is. But for the prophets who already bear this love so deeply, remember that this love of God belongs to God. It is not ours and must not become so.
Despite the pains on every side over all the unrewarded investments of that love into the lives of the unbelieving, do not clutch it with your own heart. It is not yours. And it will kill you if you do, even before the people you love stone you.
May weary prophets find some defense for the legitimacy of their love today through these words as well as respite from unnecessary weight that drowns the heart by taking ownership of that fiery divine love within them.
Be strengthened, brethren and friends.
New Meadow Neck, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
Page created May 23, 2017