By The Spirit - LOVE
DAY ONE - LOVE
Happy Spirit led year, amazing friend!!!
You’ve heard the saying “hurt people hurt people”. Well, I’m an eternal optimist, so let’s flip that: Loved people LOVE people. When we know we are cared for to our core, that affection flows into every other sector of our lives.
It’s my firm belief that every issue of the human heart stems from a dysfunctional view of God. More aptly, it comes from a dysfunctional view of the love of God. The reason we struggle to love well is because we don’t know how well we are loved.
Question: what was the most affectionate, supportive, warm environment you have ever been a part of. Maybe it was a job you had. Or a year at school. Maybe it was a church. Whatever it was, I bet you felt like a rockstar there didn’t you? Unstoppable almost. You felt confident. Cared for. Safe. Strong.
One space for me was my Chemistry teacher in high school. She was endlessly supportive. Kind. Caring. I got 104% in that class, went to the Chem Bowl that year (read “Super Bowl but for people with high waisted pants and plastic belts”) and decided to study Chemistry in college. Because I felt STRONG there. Confident. Assured.
LOVE DOES THAT.
Love makes you unstoppable.
In 1 John we read that GOD IS LOVE. (1 John 4:8) God doesn’t just feel love, or simply act in love but is the embodiment and essence of love. That word “love” in 1 John 4 is the greek word “Agape”, a feminine noun (holler ladies) that is a faithful, committed, willful and FOCUSED kind of love.
This is a far cry from the way we tote around the word love in 2019. The word “love” TODAY is but a slight upgrade from “like”. We say “we love tacos” (OMG I LOVE TACOS) and in the same breath “I love you” to our spouse. The potency of it is lost on us.
Agape love, though, is powerful. Every time it’s used, it “shows” itself to other people. Jesus would rebuke the Pharisees for a no-show of love. (Luke 11:42) Jesus said people can see God by how we SHOW love (John 13:35). Love chases us (Hosea 2:14). Love follows us (Romans 8:36-39). Love SHOWS itself true to us.
At one point Paul says that perfect love expels fear from our life. Imagine that. A fearless 2019.
If we are going to live completely out of the Spirit then we must, must, MUST understand the depth of love that God has for us. Indeed, how can we love our neighbor as ourself if we don’t in fact know (REALLY know love) … ourself?
Years ago I had a gigantic break-through in my walk with God, and it all revolved around his love. For decades I believed that God’s love was a byproduct of how I pleased him (raise your hand people pleasers!). If I was performing well, God loved me well and showed favor. If I was off somewhere in my life, God removed himself from me. I believed a terrible, paralyzing lie. Once I had revelation that God’s love for me was unconditional: I could be amazing or a slob, God still smiled brightly on me - I was free. Not only was I free, I was confident. Happy. Focused.
After all, what in the world could be against me if GOD HIMSELF WAS FOR ME? And he is, indeed, FOR ME. And, friend - he’s for YOU.
And so that is your first task for 2019, dear friend. You MUST know his love in 2019. Spend time this morning or this evening alone. Get quiet, and ask God to up the anti on his SHOW of love to you. He is chiefly your Father. Friend. Confidant. King.
I’m believing and praying that your 2019 is overflowing with God’s outpouring of love: in your heart and then through your life.
1 John 4:18
1 John 4:7-8
1 Corinthians 13