You can’t have a relationship with Me and remain unchanged.
Does great fruit impress you? Or does great love?
do you preach what you believe because it is different & controversial, pushes religious buttons, & demolishes the devil’s kingdom?
or do you preach what you believe because you love those you’re speaking to?
do you try to correct those who disagree with you because you’re right? (i mean, there’s bountiful fruit to prove it..)
or do you speak with those who oppose you because you love them, He loves them, and you want them to receive the freedom that they so desperately need (even when they don’t realize it)?
there is a difference. a big difference.
If I speak with the tongues of men & angels but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all His mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Move,” and it moves, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere.
So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
-1 Corinthians 13:1-3 MSG
God reality changes your life. If God becomes more real to you, your whole life changes just by knowing Him. God reality changes your life. You don’t have to try not to sin. You don’t have to try to think clean thoughts. When God’s real, you’re changed. You say, “Well, how does He become real?” Spending time with Him. Getting to know Him. Talk to Him when you’re driving, man. Commune with Him when you’re heading to work, don’t wonder if it’s going to be a good day. Thank Him for the day. Thank Him He’s in you. Don’t complain about your boss and ask God to zip his lips today. You thank God that your life impacts your boss. Stop complaining about the things you need to change around you and you live changed.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I grew up being taught this chapter and it’s importance. Not until today did I see that the benefits all flow from making the secret place our home.
For 2013, I was expecting to see a lot of changes in my life. God told me it was going to be a year in which I would see myself grow and truly begin walking as a woman of God, the woman He created me to be at the beginning of time.
Of course, in my head, I thought this was going to look like growing in love towards people and (really) seeing many more miracles flow from my life than what I had previously seen. I also thought it meant my true passions emerging: being outdoors more, getting healthier, growing in the skills and gifts that He has given me. That seems like heaven on earth, doesn’t it? That seems like a pretty good description of a true woman of God, doesn’t it? Well, yes, but not fully. My God did so much more in me. These are just my beginnings…
Though my eyes are continually opened to more, something really hit me yesterday at church. I had a 4 year old on one side of me, and a 6 year old on the other. Both of them kept holding onto me (as they always do), hugging me, grabbing my hands, you name it. A couple of years ago, it would have bothered me that I was ‘trying to worship’ and kids kept ‘interrupting me’. Yesterday, I realized in a much more real way that worship is not singing, and life isn’t about me. I get to sing and adore Daddy God all week long, so I don’t ‘need’ it on Sunday mornings anyway. He revealed to my heart that worshipping and adoring Him was letting the little ones come to me, whenever they want, even if it is ‘inconvenient’ (Matt 19:14). Sometimes their parents tell them to not hold onto me so much, to give me my space. I understand wanting to teach personal space, but I never turn the children away anymore. I have something they want and need, Someone they want and need, and I will not deny them of experiencing Love. Yesterday, God showed me how beautiful it was to worship Him by loving these little ones.
Is being a woman (or a man) all about having children one day? No, it’s not. BUT — if you have children, they should become your greatest dream amongst the other dreams He has given you. If you have children, they must become your greatest honor, otherwise something will become more important than them. Who else is going to raise and teach them, help them become amazing men and women of God during the first 18 or so years of their lives? God entrusted us to do that, to partner with Him to mold these beautiful babes, especially in the hard times.
Now, I’m not married yet, and honestly I am so completely satisfied in this beautiful gift of singleness He has given me (explaining that would be for another post), but I am a nanny of a 2 year old, with another on the way, so I have had my fair share of tantrums, fits, ‘inconveniences’, etc. Teaching our children should never be an inconvenience. If you have children, it is probably the second highest honor I can think of (first being the gift of housing Holy Spirit). But even if you don’t have children yet, it doesn’t change the importance of loving others well and what a precious privilege it is to do so.
We often get frustrated with people when they ‘inconvenience’ our lives. In pertaining to children, it’s not about us anymore. I have learned how to help the little girl I nanny to learn. When she throws fits, is screaming and crying, I have learned that this isn’t an inconvenience to me, the mess she made isn’t an inconvenience to me, but it’s selflessness for me, and it’s a learning opportunity for her. It’s another opportunity I get to help her grow into a woman of God one day and help her learn how to live life successfully.
In pertaining to adults, it’s still not about us anymore. We often get frustrated when we cannot control a situation or a person (thus causing the inconvenience), and then we immediately withhold love, either by reacting to them or by stepping away from them. However, these situations are the perfect opportunity to deal with the challenge at hand by choosing to gently love and move forward with the person, placing relationship above hurts or being right or wrong. This can also be a learning opportunity for people, to show them they are worthy of love, don’t have to be punished for their mistakes, and can renew their minds to walk in Truth in the future. Is it ever too inconvenient to love people? I’m sure Jesus didn’t feel like dragging a cross, being nailed to it, and dying on it… but isn’t it worth it all to love? It was for Him. It can be for us.
Truly loving people well is our greatest call in this lifetime. Did I see miracles, and all of those other things I named during 2013? Yeah, and it was all remarkable. But even miracles are just one way love can look. This is sort of a joke with one of my best friends Salem, but yet it rings true: “If you can’t make a meatloaf [for someone], but you can pray for healing, maybe you aren’t loving.” Miracles are beautiful, but they are simply a sign of love and an invitation to know the Lover. They are not a sign that you or I have ‘reached the ultimate level with God’. Intimacy with God will cause you to love people like they have never experienced before.
If this post does anything, I hope it provokes you. There is absolutely nothing wrong in wanting to see more of the miraculous and supernatural in your life this year and the years to come. But, keep in mind, loving people with the love of God is supernatural. Loving people well can and will literally change their entire lives.
So really, being a true man or woman of God all boils down to being able to love tirelessly. It means people can feel safe with you, even when they have directly sinned against you. It means you will be known for consistency and Godly character, not just for the fruits of what love can sometimes look like. It means your intimacy with God will overflow to every single part of your life, and everyone will end up being touched by Love Himself. Being a true man or woman of God is being Love made manifested on the earth.
Let us go to Him in the secret, and truly learn to love.
Here’s to 2014… :)
The lasting change you seek is found only in continual communion with the One who changed you.
More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving.
Oh, they’ll put all sorts of things into your head if you let them,” said Ransom lightly. “The best plan is to take no notice and keep straight on. Don’t try to answer them. They like drawing you into an interminable argument.
In the end, love is the brightest light of all.