Walking in Love


walking in loveAnd now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you “walk in love.”  2 John 1:5-6

I am always blown away when I hear the stories of great forgiveness in unthinkable situations. Like when the parents of murder victim forgive their child’s perpetrator. Or when a victim of sexual assault forgives and befriends their assailant. As a parent myself, I can’t even begin to think of what kind of courage and selflessness that type of forgiveness takes.  And yet, I know when I see and hear of these type of situations, there almost always is a testimony of God’s grace, mercy and love found in each circumstance.  It is in this kind of forgiveness that the love of God is displayed for all the world to see.

In Matthew 22, the religious Pharisees were questioning Jesus as to which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses. Jesus replied by saying, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  He then went on to say, “This is the first and greatest commandment and a second is equally important: to Love your neighbor as yourself.” He then said that the entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” This means in keeping these two commands, a person fulfills all the others.

Believe it or not, as believers in Christ, we are all commended to this type of  sacrificial love. This is the agape love of God which is only possible by the presence of His Spirit working in and through us. In John 13:35 it says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” The agape love of God is evidence of His working in our lives.

A great indicator for me in my love evidenced for God, is in how I am treating and responding to those God has placed in my life?  Our love for God is seen in how well I am loving others.  I daily fall short and need God’s constant forgiveness and grace but it is my greatest desire to continue to grow and evidence His love working in and through my life.  God’s love often feels like it goes against our natural inclinations (because it does).  It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and by walking in love can we even begin to love as Christ loves.

God places others in our lives so that we may get plenty of practice in choosing to walk in love verses walking in the flesh.  This is a moment by moment choice and that happens when we choose love over offense, anger, hurt and unforgiveness. Walking in love takes practice and does not come natural because God’s love is supernatural.  True love makes way for the impossible because with God, all things are possible.  God’s love goes beyond self to put the needs of others before our own. Some ways that God’s love manifests itself in our lives is by unselfish giving, yielding to others and a trust in God in all situations.

The world’s version of love is often confused with lust. True love is not a feeling but an action. It is acting in the best interest of the other person. True love exacts a price which is the giving up of self-interest for the sake of another. God demonstrated this true love when he sent his one and only son to die for our sins. God’s love for us is the greatest love possible and in him we find the greatest love story ever, his love story for us.

1 John 5:9-12 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is REAL love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is brought to full expression in us.

Father God thank you for your perfect love. Thank you for the price you paid for us.  Because we were bought with a price, help us to live for you. Help us to walk not according to the flesh but according to Your Spirit that is at work within us.  Help us to love others like you love us and to forgive us when we fall short. Help us to grow to be more like you! Thank you for who you are and for your amazing love toward us. To you be the glory both now and forever. AMEN

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Where is your dependency?


handsFunny the things I think about sometimes. And yes, when you read my blog, you get a little insight on what’s swirling around in my head (scary stuff, hehe).  I just got back from a beautiful morning run and I was thinking about the word dependency.  Now when I think of the word dependent, the first thing that comes to my mind is tax returns (lol).  Yep and we do have four dependents in our household so yes, it always makes me smile to know we’re getting that nice little year end ka-ching!

Ok, all kidding aside, the second thing I think of when I think of the word dependent  is no, not my children, but rather my relationship with God. I know as a child of God, this is the place He wants me to live in my relationship with Him, in total dependency upon Him. Just as our children look to us, trust us and rely on us to meet their needs, this is the place God wants us to be with Him as well.

In Mark 10:15 it says . . . “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Here the text is speaking figuratively of children.  But God wants us in childlike simplicity, to accept the word of truth (The Gospel) and all the mysteries of God as little children, with trust and in humility.  He wants us dependent upon him to take care of us and meet ALL of our needs, physical, emotional and spiritual. Who else but our creator could do that perfectly?

It’s not as easy as it sounds is it? I often find myself confessing at the feet of Jesus that I am trying to do things on my own, or trying to figure things out on my own, this is sin. God wants a day by day, minute by minute dependency upon him. But just as with a strong-willed child, God has had to consistently break my will in order that I may follow His will for my life and that has been a continual process.

It’s the same as when we are raising our own children and giving them guidance and direction along the way.  As I look to God and his word (which is how we get to know him and his desires for our life), it is here that he gives me the guidance (and discipline as necessary) which is needed for growth in my relationship with him (2 Timothy 3:16).

You see, God wants us in a place of child-like dependence upon him, but he doesn’t want us to remain childish in our faith.  Child like dependence is reliance on, trusting, teachable, and curious. Childishness is a lack of maturity, stubbornness, complaining and throwing tantrums.  God desires for us to grow up and mature in our faith so that we can be useful adults and come to a place where he can use us for the purpose he created us for (Ephesians 2:10).

Anyone who’s been a parent knows that children come our of the womb with a “me” mentality. Of course at first it’s because they are newborns and they really ARE totally dependent.  But as they grow and become more independent, it is soon obvious that their little “me” is their ruling self.  A few of the first words to come out of kids mouths when learning to talk is no and mine. As parents, it’s our job to slowly help them step out of that mentality and teach them that this world is NOT all about them.  God wants us to train them to know him and what he wants for their lives.  First and foremost He wants us to know Him and to love Him, and then to love others (Matthew 22:37-39).

Not all of us were raised in homes where we were taught this growing up.  Some of us came to Christ at later points in our life and get stuck in this same state of religious infancy. I’m not proud to say it, but I know I was at this place for many, many years. I was growing up and putting stuff into my brain but wasn’t really growing at all in my walk with God.  My knowledge was head knowledge and my faith was dry.  It wasn’t until God intervened that this head knowledge began to affect my heart.  Through some circumstances in my life, God brought me to a place of awakening in my walk with Him, and at this point I experienced his power and presence in my life like never before.  It’s at this place when I begin to surrender to him and began to experience the powerful work of his hand and guidance in my life.

I am always reminded of the story of Abraham and him offering his son Issac in obedience to God.  Abraham’s faith demonstrates a faith that has been grown and tested by God, a mature faith.  I’m sure that there had been many circumstances in his life (prior to offering Issac on the altar) that had built his faith to a place where he knew that he could trust God no matter what.  God wants us all to have that same kind of mature faith that Abraham had.  God’s purpose for us is to know who we are as his children and then to know how we fit in to the overall body of Christ.  This can only happen as we daily submit ourselves fully to him and his plans for our lives.  To allow him to grow us up and transform us into the people he created us to be.

God wants us to walk with him in childlike dependent faith.  This means walking with Him, day by day, trusting in him and letting him lead us into the unknown. As we step out in faith, seek him whole-heartily and surrender all we have to him, you will see that this childlike dependence rewarded with his guidance for your every step. For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

Father God help me to live in childlike dependence upon you. Help me to always embrace that childlike spirit that is actively seeking you and your will for my life. I know this will be a life-long process.  Help me always to maintain childlike dependence knowing your ways are so much better than mine. Continue to grow me so that I may be used for your kingdom.  Thank you that we can trust you and the great promises in your Word. To you be the Glory both now and forever. AMEN

 

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

Ephesians 3:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Matthew 22:37-39 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.