wednesday august 26, 2009
He loves you.
Hey, Sweet One! Thanks for emailing me! I am so glad to have a chance to talk to you! Please know I am praying and seeking God with every word I type. Your heart is precious to Him - and to me - and so I speak most carefully - and with God's Word as my guide. I will only ever direct you to His Word - and to Him. Okay? That being said, I want to point out something critical in what you wrote to me. Here it is: "I get so pumped up when I go to Christian events or church services where the word of God is proclaimed so loud and boldly in my face-but then when the excitement fades, I feel like my passion for the Lord fades. I walk in and out of having a passionate heart for him and sometimes I wonder if I really accepted him into my heart at all."
Sweet girl, you have identified quite clearly the issue of your concern...FEELING. You get pumped - and then the excitement fades. THEN you wonder about what really happened between you and Jesus - simply because the feeling is gone. My dear friend, there is nothing about our relationship with Christ that should hinge on feeling. If you live for God based on your feelings, you will be like a wave on the sea tossed this way and that (James 1:2-5). Believe and do not doubt despite circumstances in your life – whether they are good circumstances, or bad ones. By faith we accept Him - and by obedience to His Word we live for Him. Love for God and from God has never been about feeling. The joy we experience is absolutely a blessing that comes from loving God, but that happy feeling falsely defines true love and that happy feeling is false security for a loving relationship.
Please allow me to explain...but only after I digress for momentary trip down memory lane. I remember very vividly when I was 14 I told a boy that I loved him. He, being older and wiser at 15 (ha!), said to me - "What constitutes your love for me?" Wow! not the response I was expecting, but definitely one I would never forget. I had no idea what he had just asked because at 14 constitutes sounded like something I wasn't supposed to do or talk about. Unfortunately I have no idea what my answer was in that intensly confusing moment, but I do remember that I would have rather died than let on to the fact that I had no clue what he was asking me. However, now at 39, I most certainly know I would have not had an impressive answer for him even if I did understand the word constitutes, because the fact of the matter was I didn't understand love or what ingredients should "make up or found" - constitute - my love for anyone at 14 or any age.
So, can I ask you something? What constitutes your love for God? And - do you know what constitutes His love for YOU? Two very separate and critical questions to consider as we approach your concerns and the Word of God. Think about God's depiction of love for us in the Bible. Take His love for Israel for example. His love for His people is constant - despite how they made Him feel...which for the most part was angry. He never let them go - and gave them a Savior because of His commitment to them - to us...those who would believe - by faith - not feeling (Romans!). If feelings brought us to our commitment to Christ - then feelings will easily take us from Him as well. We as believers are to walk by faith in who God says He is, not by how we feel. How critical it is then to get into God's Word - spend time with Him to get to know Him - His promises, His instruction. Feelings could (will) get in the way of that every day, couldn't they (don't they)?
Hebrews 11! - will you check this passage of Scripture out ...really read it carefully - slowly - and ask yourself how each person highlighted in this chapter - might have FELT - while they were doing – BY FAITH - what pleased God...because my guess is their actions went hard core against their feelings. There is no way Noah FELT like building and arc in the desert. There is no way Abraham FELT like sacrificing his son Isaac. There is no way Joshua FELT like marching around an entire city seven times . These people and others mentioned in Hebrews 11 acted on one thing: FAITH.
Faith in God is a gift that brings us to greater understanding of who He is; faith helps us seek and hope in His promises; faith stirs us to boldly defining acts of obedience, and the realization of His love, and not necessarily in that order.
You believe in God. Yes? You made a commitment to live for Christ. Correct? You love Him, because He first loved you; am I right? Are you now living out your belief - your love for God? Don’t just answer yes, sweet one. Examine your life and the decisions you make carefully. Are you studying God’s Word to know Him – to understand His instruction for your life in Him? Are you then living out of what you learn and realize about God? Seeking Him for what that should look like in YOUR skin? Because - knowing our God and living out His Word IS actually to be bathed in THE source of love in our life (John 14 and 15). Consider Christ –He is the perfect model for how we are to live. Everything He did demonstrated His love for the Father and His love for others. Please take time and read John 14 and 15. Please?
Love from God and love for God is not a mushy, gushy, sweep you off your feet kind of feeling. God did not define it this way in Scripture.
“Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.’” John 14:23-24
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:9-11
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son…” John 3:16
Love requires the sacrifice of one’s feelings – one’s will. Joy is a product of love.
Sweet girl, when we realize this truth that Jesus is teaching us about the source of love that is ours to realize, then any emotional proclamation or expression of your love be it at Vintage, or on Sunday morning – with your friends, or all alone as you spend time with your Heavenly Father – any emotional feeling about our God will have deep roots from an intimate connection with God through His Word - to your faith – to your obedient actions.
Live by God's Word and let Him be master of your feelings. What would that look like? Oh my goodness if we – together - would daily reject fear, discomfort, doubt, pride, greed, impurity, lust, anger, rage, malice, lies, filthy language, gossip, slander, envy – our own understanding…– and live as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…Can you even imagine it? Can we be that? It’s what we were called to be. We must be able. Colossians 1:9-14, Colossians 3:1-17. Check these passages out! Truth to hold to, encourage others with and live!
Will you pray with me? “I pray that out of your glorious riches, Lord, YOU may strengthen us with power through YOUR Spirit in our inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. And I pray that “we” being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the YOUR people, God, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of YOU our God. Amen! Eph. 3:16-19
posted by laura lewis