I’m sitting here typing knowing that I need to say something but not quite sure what it will be, but I know that it will be on love. Why love? Because God has been dealing with me in this area, and I’m both saddened and perplexed by what He has unveiled in me. I’ve always been known for having a kind heart but deep down inside I guess I was always kind, loving and giving on my own terms, when it suited me best. I could go out of my way to help someone but not if it encroached past my well-fortified four walls, physically and spiritually.
Yesterday was a case in point, I had designated it as my rest day because I was worn out from having to look after my husband who has been ill for around a month, cooking, cleaning, ministry work and dealing with my own health and well-being problems. In the midst of all of this, the thing that had suffered the most was my quality time with my Father (Abba) so I made a silent vow the night before to spend the day with Him, just He and I. I had so many plans about how I would spend this ‘us’ time, I would read, write, pray, sing, dance and anything else I was moved to do… it didn’t end up that way. A major issue for hubby and I is that we live in shared accommodation, so we have one room for personal use, this doesn’t really matter when he’s at work but with him at home it does really matter. So while I was trying to carve out some spiritual rest time, Eke was talking to me or reading out loud, fair enough I know that I didn’t tell him that it was my ‘rest’ day but I could feel myself becoming more and more agitated and frustrated as the day wore on. So I went downstairs as everyone else was out and decided to sit in the front room then my husband told me that one of his young mentees was coming round grrrrrrrrrrrr!!!! This would mean that I would have to forfeit all of my plans and put on my social face instead, now how do I dig myself out of these feelings of anger and frustration and wrap myself back in God’s cloak of love and warmth?
Ever since I can remember, I have always had to share my personal space, growing up we were quite poor so I had to share with my younger siblings, I met my hubby at age 18 so we were always living out of each other’s pockets (we were not born again then) I guess my only reprieve was a year at university. I have always valued personal space because I have never experienced it. Yesterday brought back the horrible emotions of having nowhere to go for escape, I was feeling so overwhelmed by negativity and before I knew it Eke was opening the door to his young friend. Everyday God gives me a clue of what I will face via a random verse of the day, the verse for both yesterday and the day before was on love and love covering all sins and being the fulfilment of the law. I knew that God was testing my ability to love past what I would usually give i.e. (sacrificial love) I can’t say that I passed with flying colours but I can say He opened really, opened my eyes to this massive flaw in me.
We hear about love and God’s love all the time, but I think that when we think about love we more often think about it from the perspective of the recipient (well, I do anyway). God’s love is pure, righteous and good, we feel comfortable and safe in His love but I’m not sure how comfortable and safe I make others feel. A few weeks ago as I was walking to the bus stop a song came to my head which is generally sang during offerings it’s based on the verse from Luke 6: 38:
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your lap. For with the same measure that you measure it shall be measured to you again.
I often see this verse as being both a promise and a threat to many particularly how it’s used in the church… give your money, give all you have and God will bless you and if you don’t give then you can’t expect to get anything back in return. Is this really what this verse teaches? I don’t think so. When God brought this verse to my mind He also brought another… (Matthew 10:8)
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
God keeps on loving us freely, every single day He gives of Himself without rest and broken and needy person that I am, I can’t get enough of His love, grace, mercy, forbearance but as He’s filling me up what am I doing? When Yeshua was at the cross, He didn’t wine and say “right now doesn’t work for me!” He may have felt like throwing in the towel, but He girded Himself in love and poured Himself out for others. Love isn’t a simple warm and fuzzy emotion which we experience because it brings us pleasure, or that we exhibit because it works for us, love is in the act of sacrifice and pouring out yourself, going past the pleasant to what doesn’t sit well with our flesh and doing it anyway because someone else needs what we have more than we do.
I can’t help thinking about this thing called love, this fruit of the spirit, surely the reason why I struggle so much with showing this type of sacrificial always hospitable love is because I’m afraid of what it will cost me to give. This is why the first scripture speaks so profoundly to me, “give and it shall be given onto you” God is not telling me to give and suffer because I have given, God is saying that when I give in true love that He will give back to me, and guess what He won’t give back to me the same as I gave out but He’ll give back to me more “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over” and even other people will want to add to me. The question is do I really believe this, and do I trust God enough to let go and be that vessel of love that He wants me to be? God help me here.
1 Corinthians 13 covers so many of the attributes of God’s love, I don’t even want to go there and start weighing myself up against this intimidating list but I know that I will have to start somewhere. I guess the most obvious place for me to start is right here and now and allow God to start breaking down these walls that I’ve built for myself (but I know God is doing that anyway) and allow His love to have His perfect way with me so that I can reflect it back to the world.
Wishing you experience the fullness of His love today,
your sister in Messiah