A NEW COMMANDMENT I GIVE YOU!
BY: LENNY ANTONSSON
In my daily meditations, I seek the Lord’s counsel on my role as mentor to the men in the Sunday School class at Calvary Baptist Church. This week, God brought me back to the time in my own life when I heard a minister spoke on First Corinthians, Chapter 12. In there, Paul says that we are the body of Christ, members in particular. (I Cor. 12:27). And at the time, when I heard that sermon, I cried out to God and said, “What part of your body am I?” Then, God placed a tremendous hunger within me. It was like a gold nugget pulsating, hungering and thirsting to know what part of the body I was, and that lasted for a few years. I kept asking God, “What part of your body am I? I need to know so that I know how to function in you.” The answer came when I was in this church that I had built. It was a Sunday night meeting and we were singing away, enjoying the presence of God, and I heard this powerful, loud voice speaking to me. It was so powerful and so loud, I thought it was for the whole church and I was waiting for the church to stop singing, but no one stopped singing; so I realized that it was just for me, and God said to me, “You’re part of my heart. Don’t cry.” Well, I got my dander up, and asked, “Don’t cry? What do you mean, Don’t Cry?” And God said, “You want to know what part of my body you are, but you want to be one of the extremities of the body so that when I manifest myself through you, you will receive glory out of it, but I tell you, you’re part of my heart, and the heart is buried deep in the chest cavity. No one can see its functioning, but just like the heart pumps blood through the extremities of the body, to comfort, feed, and heal the body, so I will flow out of you in love, mercy and kindness and you will comfort, feed, and heal people’s emotions.”
It was so wonderful to hear that. I knew what part of God’s body I was. I knew how I would function in God’s body, knowing God’s will for my life. Yes, I knew it. I was off the ground for about two weeks afterwards. It was so wonderful to know God’s perfect will for my life, to know that from now on how I would flow in God, and that God would manifest Himself through me in love, mercy, and kindness. I felt brand new again. All the old things had passed away. Behold, all things had become new. I was brand new in God. God had spoken to me and I knew His will for my life.
The first time God flowed through me in love, mercy, and kindness, I fell totally, unconditionally in love with this woman, and it was wonderful. We hugged, and we knew that we loved each other, and I knew that this was God. This was Him flowing in his perfect will through me, and it was a brand new type of life. Unconditional love was flowing. I looked at this woman, and she looked like an angel. I could not see one fault in her. Love had covered a multitude of faults in her.
This was wonderful, and I went home from this meeting rejoicing, but the next day, here comes the world, the flesh, and the devil, accusing me, taunting me, trying to make me disbelieve what had happened, saying, “Oh, that wasn’t God. That was your flesh acting up. Didn’t you notice how your flesh was feeling when this was going on?” The accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10) was there, trying to destroy what God had done, and it was hard for me to go through this. The closer we come to God, the stronger the accusations from the world, the flesh, and the devil are going to be. I have come to see that we have to expect that.
Now, I want you to see something through this. After awhile, after all this taunting was going on, trying to make me disbelieve that this was God; that this was His Spirit flowing through me, God showed me something. He showed me the difference between sex and love. He showed me that sex was the flesh, the natural, and it was temporary, whereas love was spiritual; it was omnipresent; and it was eternal, and the way He explained that was by teaching me that with sex, both people have to be in the same place at the same time for the act to take place, and it only lasts for a short time; with love, it is spiritual and it’s totally different, and it lasts forever! Then He added that if this woman that I had fallen in love with would move to New York, I would still love her exactly the same way because love is omnipresent. No matter where she was, I would still love her the same way, and even if she died today, a year from now, I would love her exactly the same way, because love is eternal. So, I saw the difference between sex and love. And Jesus said to me at this time, “A new commandment have I given you, that you love one another,” (Jn. 13: 34; I Pet. 1:22; I Jn. 3:11,23; 4:7, 11, 12) and He showed me that this love was His love. He was manifesting himself through me to this woman. But what about my wife? The love I had for my wife, was that I had chosen her. I had chosen to love her. I had chosen to live my life with her. I had chosen to have sex with her, and in this way, sex is beautiful, but the unconditional love that I had for this woman was God manifesting himself through me. It was different.
The next test came when I fell, totally, unconditionally in love with a man, the greatest brotherly love that I had ever felt in my life was there, and it was great enjoyment. We both enjoyed loving each other as men. We were very careful, OK, because neither one of us was used to this, but again, the next day, the world, the flesh and the devil was there accusing. The first thing I heard was, “I knew there was something wrong with you. You are gay! There’s no way that one man should love another man. You know that this is not normal; it shouldn’t be this way.” Do you see how the “accuser of the brethren” uses things in your life to accuse you? The closer you get to God, the more accusations there are, and the louder they are. They are lies because he is a liar from the beginning. (Jn. 8:44). We have to see that, and we have to see how he uses his lies against us. This time, it didn’t take me so long to get over the discomfort, because of what God had said that He had given me a new commandment that I would love people.
The interesting thing that I saw was, here God had shown me that I was part of His heart and He was going to flow out of me in love, mercy, and kindness. He had planted that seed of love within me, which is Christ. (Gal. 3:16). Now, when He made me fall in love with the woman, He was watering the seed. He was quickening the seed. He was giving life to that seed which was within me. When He made me fall in love with the man, He was shining the sun, His light on the soil of the seed. Yes, our natural body is the soil, and He was shining His light on the seed and the shining on it was heating up the soil, causing the seed to crack open and germinate, and cause that tiny little blade from the seed to move toward the light and towards the heat so that it could pop out of the ground and express itself freely.
Now, I want you to see something else. While that seed had been germinated, and that little green blade was growing up toward the sun, because it had been watered, and the ground had been heated by the Spirit of God, at the same time, something had to happen deep in the darkness of the soil within me, and what was happening there was the accuser of the brethren, the world, the flesh, and the devil was at work, accusing, taunting, trying to make me disbelieve, and that caused the roots of the seed to spread out deeper into the soil, to go down deeper into the soil, to become stronger to support this little shoot that was growing up toward the sun. All of life operates under the same system. We can only mature through a struggle. Look at all the vegetation, for example. Everything is growing by having light and darkness, having rain and dry spells, having cold and heat, opposites in action. You have to see that this is what God is doing within us. Without a struggle, we cannot mature. We don’t like to have the world, the flesh, and the devil accuse us and taunt us and try to get us not to believe in the truth from God, but it is necessary to take place, because this is what caused the roots of love, mercy, and kindness in my life to go down deeper in the soil of my life. Yes, a new commandment I give you, that you love one another. Now, listen to the reward I received from God for being faithful in this, not that I did anything, but that I was just willing to allow God to perform in and through my life.
One Sunday morning, I had gotten up, and God had not told us to go to church that day; so we didn’t go to church. This is the way we were. We always expected God to tell us what to do: when to go to church and what church to go to. This morning, my wife was sleeping in and I was sitting on the couch, reading the Bible. And I had this thought in my mind, “Father, what part of the body is my wife, Jani?” And He said to me, “She’s also part of my heart. She’s the thoughts and intents of my heart.” I started to cry for joy. It fits her perfectly. God could not have said any other words that fit her as perfectly as these words. We were both part of God’s heart. God will flow out of me in love, mercy and kindness, and she is the thoughts and intents of God’s heart. What a perfect union this was. I just wept for joy that morning, and I saw that what God had said just fit her perfectly. She is the cognitive one in our family. She is the verbal one. She is the one that God was flowing out of in words all the time. She would never be hindered when speaking to other people. She would always include God in whatever she said, and this was God showing me our union together. I not only had a brand new life in knowing God’s will; I had a brand new marriage in God also.
I now understand the purpose which the accuser of the brethren has in my spiritual growth. Observe how accusation works the purposes of God. When I fell in love with the woman, the first accusation from my world, my flesh, and my devil, was “You are a married man. How can you fall in love with another woman. That’s not right.” This is how these three accused my spirit of doing wrong. You see how they go about it? They will use anything and twist it around. Also, they accuse you of feelings that you have, saying, “See how you felt sexually when you were hugging her?” It’s a lie, but they use it and they twist it so that they can cause you to doubt. They use the law as a weapon against you. We’re talking here about two different entities, living together, co-existing with one another, battling one another for territory. One is the natural, temporary Adamic nature, my natural, temporary Adamic nature, and the other is my spirit; these two are continuously in battle with each other, trying to take over the soul. And this battle is necessary, ordered by God for my growth.
The new commandment that we should love one another, can only be obeyed by the Spirit of God. God has given me the assignment here in Neosho, MO, of meeting with the adult men in the Baptist Church Sunday School class, to be a witness of God’s love, mercy and kindness and power to them. At times, I grow weary of waiting for them to see the kingdom of God in action. God showed me that what’s happening in them is the same as it was in me: their world, their flesh, and their devil is accusing them whenever they go outside the limits set down by the organization. In the natural, they can only lean on the law and the organization, and that only in their own strength, through their own minds. This is why Paul said that we have to be “transformed by the renewing” of our minds. (Rom. 12:2). God said that only by His Spirit can these men leave what they feel is the safe harbor of their church organization and go out into the uncharted seas of the Spirit to explore the riches and majesty and power of the organism, of Christ Himself. This was true in my life, and probably in the life of every believer who hungers for more of God. So, I stand in the gap for them, groaning within myself to see them grow, and knowing that in God’s time, it will be so. Not in my time, but in His time, will He cause the seed He planted in them to spring up toward the light. Now, He is watering the seed, causing their soil to heat up and the seed to crack. Soon, their soil will bring forth fruit of herself: “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” (Mk. 4:28). Until then, I will say as Paul did, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” (Gal. 4:19).
A NEW COMMANDMENT I GIVE YOU [Lenny Antonsson] Aug. 1998 1