When we hurt, there is peace in trusting that God is in control. He allows bad things for a greater purpose. Be bold, step forward, and look for the good that God has planned.
Human nature’s intriguing, but we’re our own worst enemy when we entertain it. Making things more difficult than need be, we crave rules, believing peace is found by sticking to them. Rules make us comfortable by giving an outline of expectations. In them, however, lays division that robs us of peace. The comfort of rules disrupts faith!
When God introduced law through Moses, direction and hope for peace was felt. However, ultimately it wasn’t realized. Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection were purposed to free us from law, and yet we hunger for it still. We’ve taken the freedom His act of forgiveness intended and created more rules. We’ve turned the New Testament into another book of law. Christ declared a new covenant of love and forgiveness. He alters perceived reality by sending a helper, His Holy Spirit, the living Spirit of God, to be in His people and fulfill law. This indwelling of the mighty Spirit of God turns our earthen vessels into jars of living water, and we’re able to be fed and led by Christ, the living Word.
By spreading His people all over the land and then filling them with His Spirit, God has made Himself present and moving here on earth. He’s able to reach into destruction, touch those in need, fill tormented people with peace, and transform His nation. He does this by changing His children from the inside out. Rules that were meant to bring peace only brought division. Christ’s sacrifice has secured a freedom which imparts true peace. However, the route is the opposite of what our human nature craves. It comes through faith in and relationship with Christ, rather than human effort and work.
Our continued need to follow rules can’t in any way disrupt God’s ultimate plan. However, it disrupts our ability to experience true love, peace, and joy. These are qualities only found in God. In order for us to experience them we must become one with Him. This happens when we focus on, grow in a relationship with, and fall in love with Him. It happens when he fills us, making us born again. Becoming so close to our Lord that we hunger for Him constantly, we easily accept His guidance and will for our lives and trustingly follow where He leads. This obedience doesn’t happen by studying a list of dos and don’ts and working hard to apply them. Failure results when we strive, in our human nature, to achieve that which are simply traits of Christ.
“Ye must be born again,” isn’t a command to apply, it’s a fact, but no one can make themselves born again. God does that. “If you love me you will obey my commands,” isn’t a call to work harder at following rules, it’s what happens when He’s the center of your life. “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom,” isn’t a challenge to prove to people that you understand God’s ways, it’s what’s seen by God when Christ is living within you.
Our human nature craves rules. We can’t understand that the truth is the opposite of what’s naturally seen. We study, seeking wisdom and direction, rather than seeking that wisdom from the very Creator Himself. In the process, we’ve turned back to law for comfort and direction. Christ said, “It is finished.” Satan’s power is no longer an issue. He may be able to confuse and frustrate us, but he has no authority. The children of God shouldn’t struggle with expectations or feel like they must display an image of Christianity. The very rules we try to obey have become our stumbling blocks, because we can’t, in our own power, succeed in achieving them.
Stop striving, studying, and applying. Simply talk to Jesus. Give Him full rein and authority in your life. Ask Him to be your Lord and Savior. Should you become filled with His Spirit, you’ll be born again. This doesn’t happen by human effort. God draws us to His Son and the Son Who freed us sends the Holy Spirit Who intimately connects us with God. It’s a circle that’s completed only by God. Given the power felt in His presence and the freedom, peace, love, and joy experienced in relationship with the Almighty, don’t let faith be disrupted by the comfort of rules.
Do you trust God? Spend some time pondering this question. The answer to it is extremely important and may be life changing for you. You will learn a lot about yourself and your relationship with Him by taking a deep penetrating look inward.
God loves you. He planned for and created you! His is a love in which you can find absolute security, and it is this love only that you can be set free. It is unconditional and very personal. All growth and maturity in your life will begin with the revelation of this love. Who can reveal this love to you? Only God can draw you to the saving grace of His Son, Jesus Christ. He prepares the soil, and He sows the seed. No amount of work that you do can draw you closer, but once you seek Him with all your heart, be prepared for life to change as His mighty hands work the clay and creates the vessel in which His Holy Spirit will indwell.
Once the Lord reveals His love of you to you and the awesomeness of this is realized, you will naturally fall in love with Him. He becomes your lover, your friend, your confidant. You begin to realize how special you are, and the feeling of being CHOSEN by the Creator overwhelms you. Revel in this state for a time, it’s a wonderful place to be. You find that you want to live in this moment and not stray from the love that surrounds and consumes you. You feel complete. You are complete. You will love yourself, perhaps even for the first time. In the security of His unconditional love, you will gain self-respect, and others opinions of you will seem much less important as you desire His company. You will realize what it truly is like to be loved as you are; mistakes, flaws, and all. As you focus on such a caring Father, you will not even realize He is working in you.
At some point, you will notice unnecessary desires have been displaced and realize how you’ve changed through no effort of your own. Note: through no effort of your own. You will realize this, how easy it is for God to come in and change you without your being aware. God does this through love. This is much easier than “working” to “look” Christian. You become accepting of the dross being burned away as you allow the Lord to take things out of your life that He deems unnecessary. You realize you are trusting in the unseen. How awesome is that?
Now, God is in your life. You’ve allowed Him to become the center of your being. You’ve chosen His unconditional love for you over the darkness and insecurities the world has still to offer. You have entered into His kingdom which is peace within you. Welcome, dear child of God.
I’m not one for celebrating holidays much to the chagrin of my family, I’m sure. Each day is special to me. God planned me to be here now in time and location and is planning each of my steps, after all. In my heart, every day is valuable, not one more than any other. Yet here we are as a population celebrating the mighty realm of love, Valentine’s Day. Once more, we’re scampering in mind, pocketbook, and action to fulfill the obligated giving of gifts, failing to remember that love is free.
At the risk of sounding negative or anti-commerce I should note that I’m writing this while sitting at a craft fair offering my books for sale to those who are scrambling to fulfill those obligations. In fact, I’ve purchased prettily packaged chocolates from a neighbor vendor to give to my own loved ones. It does feel good to have supported a local library by renting craft space and supporting a local vendor who worked hard making the candies I purchased. The atmosphere on the back side of these craft tables is always one of comradery and support.
Shall I highlight what we are celebrating? Love. True love. Unconditional love. Deep, personal, and satisfying love. Agape love. There is no truer love than that which comes from the Lord. Let me encourage you to experience it throughout your every day, let it flow regardless of life’s circumstances. Don’t bottle it up. Expend it regularly.
God loves you. He loves you so much he took away the sins of your heart and offered you a treasure to give you strength and power to overcome, the Holy Spirit. When we focus on Christ, when we pull tight to Him and spend time and energies fed by this relationship, we grow. We grow in love, we grow in trust, we grow in faith. The deeper this relationship, the deeper we experience His love for us. As His amazing agape love fills and completes us, it soon overflows and is felt by others, whether we’re aware of it or not. It is an unconditional, caring, and compassionate love. A love that does not judge but simply is present.
Has someone wounded you, done the unforgivable, or is otherwise undeserving of your love? Do you struggle with how to offer God’s love in the face of tragedy or abuse? Is it possible to simply love as God has asked? It is and you can!
God has called us to love one another, just as He has loved us. He wouldn’t suggest something that is impossible, but the impossible can only be possible with Him at our center. It can never be done through our own power, efforts, or training. Rather than looking at the impossible and trying to decipher how to accomplish it, look to Christ. I don’t mean in an abstract or intellectual way. I mean really look to Him, talk to Him, focus on Him. Fill yourself with our Lord. Hold continued conversation with Him. When we focus on Him and fill our center with Him, His love, that unconditional, agape love, overflows and spills outward to others, even those we struggle to care for.
The answer to loving one another can only be found in a personal relationship with Christ. By getting to know Him and His qualities, allowing Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit, and growing into a trust that transcends all fear, we are able to love one another…even our enemies. When we can love like that, peace will spread.
Happy Valentine’s to you and may God’s love fill you to overflowing.