On this the 4th Sunday of Advent – I thought it appropriate to talk about the power of love.
Life happens – and sometimes it is filled with hurt, pain, and disappointment. Broken relationships and shattered dreams can leave us full of worry, angst, and skepticism. We avoid people and situations to protect ourselves, but we are really missing out on what God has for us. If we allow our past experiences to fill us with these destructive feelings, we block our hearts from the fullness of the Holy Spirit. As believers in Christ, we are admonished/encouraged and even commanded to be filled with the Spirit daily. If we refuse to let go of the hurts of the past, we will never be able to experience the fullness of God.
We all have pasts – but the beauty of Calvary is that we get to live as new creatures whose sin has been cast into the sea of forgetfulness, as far as the east is from the west. We not only neglect the fullness of Christ in us when we hold on to our pasts — we also neglect people around us who would benefit from His love flowing through us. If you decide to forgive those in your past who have hurt you, God can, and He will trade beauty for those ashes — He can, and He will restore what the locusts have destroyed. I have had deep hurts in my life – and they left gaping open holes in my heart. I was on my way to becoming unloving and unlovely. I didn’t want anyone to be close to me because I wanted to ensure that my heart was safe. I thank God for my dad and my beloved Lloyd because they loved me and helped me get to a place where I was willing to give God my heart. I decided to trust God with those past hurts, and I forgave every person who breached my trust. I really forgave them! I hold nothing against them and have no animosity in my heart; in fact, I pray for them to experience the blessing of God as I have.
Open your heart to receive and walk in God’s abundant and powerful love because He can, and He will turn it all around for your good and for His glory. God is love. God loves you more than you can fathom. Ask Him to help you to receive His love and then ask Him to fill you to the full with His love, leaving no room for anything else in you. He will make you complete in Him. He will plant your roots deep in His love and make you new. Let His Love Fill You! His love is genuine – unfailing – pure – absolute – powerful. Accept His love – and He will give you a brand new life.
One of my favorite songs ever is Make Me A Servant. It was a staple in my solo repertoire when I was very young. I haven’t sung it in in a very long time.
At a recent memorial service the eulogist was speaking about a person who was a natural servant; a willing servant; a skilled and effective servant. He was also well loved and highly respected.
The eulogist asked the question to the congregation – what would you do if someone of the opposite sex approached you and said they wanted to serve you or take care of you. I was sitting in a section of mostly women and they all were talking back to him from the pews – “He’d be lying”; “What does he want!”; “I know what he wants!”; “Did you take your meds?”. People in our section were snickering, but me — well, it made me sad to hear their feedback. I’m married to that guy, you know — a natural servant; a willing servant; a skilled and effective servant; a man who is greatly loved and highly respected and who came at me that way .. wanting to serve and take care of me. But that’s not the point …..
As I sat there I thought about just how remarkable it would be if every believer would live their lives in such a way that people felt that when they approached them they were saying – “Hello, how I may serve you?” What if Christ followers everywhere understood that they were called and commissioned by the King of Kings to be servants.
There are so many books out now telling us how to “be” a Christian – I’m not talking about what to believe, but how to live the life. A great sum of ‘how to‘ is right here! “You are God’s dear children, so try to be like him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. (Ephesians 5: 1-2a) In my own words – God says ‘I sent you The Way – so do it like He did it!’.
Do life just the way it was modeled … in love service and love to others!
Pour your life out for the service of others. Your time, talent, treasure – realize who they really belong to and then steward them well – give yourself away and count it gain!
Father – teach my heart to love — to love the way that You have intended.
I’ve seen so many news stories in the last few weeks that show terrible people relationships. News about people killing folk who will not stay in a relationship with them. Stories about people killing folk who have stolen what a person thought was their own love. Stories about people in relationships with the spouses of others. Stories about people taking what belongs to others by force – sometimes power, sometimes material things; about people considering themselves higher than other people; people thinking themselves perfectly right – and others as perfectly wrong. It amazed me as I was listening to a story, and the only thing they had in ‘common’ was what they both called their belief in Christ. Their hate and distaste for one another were immense! The desire for what the other person had was crazy! But the biggie is that their reflection of Christ was completely absent!
As I go about to and fro in the world, it would benefit me to remember the state of these people. Why? Because I am less likely to judge when I understand that nothing within them would restrain them. Now with that said, what about believers who live this way? Are they indeed believers?!?!
It is imperative that I now shun my responsibility to my brethren in reminding them that the Holy Spirit living in them is sufficient for restraint or escape from temptation. I pray for salvation; for the brethren, I pray for their maturity in Christ.
I am asking God to teach my heart to know when it is time to teach an unbeliever. I am asking him to move me in swiftly when it is time for reproof – as in the life of a believer. May my heart be ever sensitive to God’s leading and may the hearts of my brethren heed to the leading of His Holy Spirit.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.--Romans 8:38-39