My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love - so you can't know Him if you don't love. This is how God showed His love for us. God sent His only Son into the world so we might love through Him. This is the kind of love we are talking about - not that we once upon a time loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sin and the damage they've done to our relationship with God. My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us - perfect love! This is how we know we're living steadily and deeply in Him, and He in us: He's given us life from His life, from His very own Spirit. Also, we've seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent His Son as Saviour of the world. Everyone who confesses the Jesus Christ is God's Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it well, we've embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.
(1 John 4:7-16)
The letter is wedged between my journal, waiting to be replied. In it she writes of the heartbreak of battling with an illness that has prevented her from having children. In it, she writes about her journey to find meaning in life. In it she writes of the various points in her life where i had injected the presence of a God who loves her. She believes He exists, and acknowledges that He must love her. She felt His love for her through me. But she is looking to access Him not through the church. It speaks volumes to me.
She ended the letter: I'm so grateful and happy you're my friend. I wish you lived closer, but hopefully we can meet up at some point, right?
My heart longs for her as well. i have known her for twenty years. And i have not given up on her; i am still introducing Jesus to her. Gently. Thoughtfully. Prayerfully. i have through the years shared with her my own God stories; i have sent her books and gifts. i have spoken to her about grace, about life with a living Person. Our relationship did not just happen. i nurtured it. It has taken years of sowing, investing into a person that i treasure. A person that He loves. i recognised her uniqueness the day i introduced myself to her. i steward this relationship with utmost sensitivity, delicately with much care. Within this girl, there is something beautiful, intricate. Fragile. And the enemy has indeed worked very hard to suppress, mar, dishonour and pervert what is in her. Right from babyhood, he has continuously steal, kill and destroy her beauty, her worth, her uniqueness. In a spiritual war, i need spiritual weapons. To set a captive free, i need so much more than a tract. i am on a mission to bring the Kingdom of God into her life.
i am not seeking an extra reward from the Father; i am not seeking to earn myself merit points with Him (or with fellow believers) because there is no such reward point system in the Kingdom. To parade upon our chest badges that proclaim how many sinners we have called into the Kingdom or how many people we have ministered to is a religious and worldly practice. If i have to prove how much i do for the King, for His church; if i have to advertise how useful i am only betrays the lack of relationship i have with Him. Because i know Him, i know my value. i will know that her salvation will be purely to the glory of the Son who so loves her. i am only following an urge, or a softening of my heart, a moving of my heart for a person that God has privileged me to know. All these years, i approach her with the desire for her to know Him because i know her. i know how much she will enjoy and love living with the Lord. Because i know Him; i know how much He will enjoy and love living with such an incredibly beautiful girl. My motivation is not to add something to me, or to my reputation; i have no need to make myself worthy to be called an evangelizing Christian. i do not have to earn my right to bear His name. i reach out to her simply because i love her. i am seeking her highest good, her greatest happiness. Believe it or not, in all of my years on earth, having walked amongst men and doing relationships, i have found that people are able to discern the true motivation of our hearts. Many perhaps cannot articulate this hunch, some may brush the intuition aside, some may have their senses dulled by the enemy's repeated lies, but most people can tell if we truly love them.
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry of Judgement Day - our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life - fear of death, fear of judgement - is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love - love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first. If anyone boast, "I love God." and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both.
(1 John 4:17-21)
What if one of the most powerful weapons we already possess is simply this: Love. Or, i would like to name it Doing Relationships Excellently. When we think about it, love, or the kind of relationships that this love (which is supernatural, a fruit of the indwelling Spirit) is only available to us who have Him living in us. It means, Satan does not have this love; he does not have the ability to produce the quality, the strength or the power of the love relationships only God can create and with Him, in Him, relationships that are abundantly available to us. What if we have been lied to, or have been diverted or distracted to put all our concentration on the fear of offense? Any fear is still fear. It proves that our love for one another is still immature, not yet perfected. What if we tweak our thinking a little to align ourselves with His nature; to give ourselves into His way stated so clearly in His written word - Do Relationships Excellently; seek to grow and mature our love one for the other, to perfect love. It must be possible because He is a good Father; He does not require of us something that He has not graced us to do. What if we shift our attention and concentration to doing relationships excellently, instead of giving in to the spirit of fear where suspicion, jealousy, strife and isolation (which is heavily smelling like the enemy) is given place to play with our minds. What if we guard only against the spiritual powers that deceive people; we are aware that the guard we put up that separates us from people only uncovers to us that there is a wound or a hurt that has given room to the spirit of fear, of separation, of isolation to roam. And we think again. We repent and turn the other way. And do the opposite.
What if we truly believe the principle of sowing and reaping; if we only sow into our relationships superficial, surface things, we will only reap superficial, surface things in our relationships. If we sow fear, we reap fear. If we sow suspicion, we reap suspicion. If we sow plastic things, we reap plastic things. If we limit our relationships to what people can do for us, how they can best serve us or contribute to us, we limit our capacity for rich, robust and meaningful relationships; we have robbed ourselves of great wealth, and made ourselves poor and small. If we only view people as those who has something that we want, those who can take us to where we want to go, we have settled for so much less than what is available to us in His Kingdom. What if it is true that all relationships can be nurtured and grown, and it all depends on what we plant into them. Mutually.
What if it is time to change our language? To speak the language of the Kingdom of God. To speak of love. To speak honour. To speak oneness; to speak of what is uniquely and amazingly alike in us. To sow togetherness. To breed Mighty Men who will live and die with us.