Thursday, April 21, 2011

Have I loved like this lately?

My husband & I have started discussing Andrew Murray's Daily Devotional at night, and it's been a good time of connecting on a spiritual level & discussing how we receive these little snippets of truth. We have different learning styles and so often God speaks to us in different ways that this is a simple way we can connect over some of God's truths together.

The other night, we read one on laying down our will for God's will. And it made me realize that I haven't heard that message in a while. Yes, it's a common theme sewn into many devotionals and blog posts, but honestly, sometimes I think I miss it. I tend to like the nice, soft, encouraging statements that maybe confirm that I'm on the right path, or at least don't seem to be really stifling what I am currently doing or wanting to do.

Isn't that just like the flesh, to even go after the truth of God's Word in a way that doesn't hurt, or harm, or even come close to the conclusion that that very same flesh needs to be crucified?

Crucified. Put to death. In a painful way.

The devotional went on to focus on the importance of approaching situations in humility, even recognizing relational conflicts as opportunities for God's grace to become apparent. Choosing to not default into defending my own ground or feel I need to stand firmly on my own plot of perspective. Real Humility allows us to listen and truly hear what the other person is saying (not just to come up with our rebuttal, but really to take into consideration what they're saying and where they're coming from). Humility reminds us that we're no better than anyone else because we're aware of our need for Him. For grace. For the forgiveness & patience & love that He's calling us to offer to that person in front of us.

Have I loved like that lately?

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." -1 John 3:16-18

Have I loved in a way that required something of me?

Because maybe it's not really love unless it does require something of us? Something that isn't naturally inspired and easy to give.

I don't know - I'm not a philosopher or theologian and don't pretend to be one. But I just know that from the passage above - I take that kind of love to be hard. To be something that is born out of prayer and a close walk with Jesus. A fruit that can only be produced if we are connected to the One True Vine.

Actions & in Truth. No hollow words. No poignant phrases. No going-through-the-motion moves.

Lord, please open my eyes to a greater revelation of what Your love looks like. I am so comfortable in my flesh, in myself, & Your love is not comfortable - it's not pretty and all wrapped up in a nice little box. It's messy and hard. It's a blood-stained cross and scars.

Only in You can I even have a desire for that. Infuse my heart with courage to desire the life that You want to live through me. And help me to surrender my will to that. To choose sacrifice, knowing that in that sacrifice, I'm the one that truly gains.

Thank You, Jesus, for the price you paid years ago that we celebrate this coming Easter weekend. Thank You for the road you walked so that we could walk with You, in eternity, forever, on those streets paved in gold!


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