Have you ever encountered people who have just come to faith in Jesus Christ? They are so excited about Jesus and eager to learn more. It is SO refreshing and amazing to be around these kinds of people!
On the flip side, have you met others who have been around the Christian faith for a while and seem to have lost the plot? They seem depressed and distracted with life. They are no longer full of the joy they once had from knowing Jesus. They are not as eager to talk about Jesus.
I have to admit that sadly, I fall more into the latter category.
I had a dream that exposed my heart on the matter:
I met some young men of Asian descent. I overheard one of them say that people always mistake him for Chinese and how that irritated him. They had just come from a conference and were very excited about what they were learning.
I went up to them and asked them if the conference was about God. They said yes it was and they were learning about Jehovah Rophi. (Exodus 15:26 says, “I am Jehovah–Rophi, the LORD that heals you.” More literally “I AM your Healing”.)
I said, “I am so happy for you that you are learning about God,” and then I became saddened as I reflected on the status of my own heart. I continued, “I know all about God but I have neglected him. I avoid him. I honestly don’t know why I do it. Why have I forsaken him?”
I then shared with them one of my favorite Scriptures from 1 John 4:
“God is love. There is no fear in love for perfect love drives out all fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears in not yet made perfect by his love. We love because he first loved us.”
And then I woke up.
My emotions were threadbare all day long and I broke down a few times. I just wanted to return to God… like for real. Not like all the “fake” times I say all these prayers of commitment and then go on ignoring him and betray him the next chance I get.
I was touched when I heard the Lord speak to me the he was granting me repentance. In other words he was making a way for me to come back and be the transformed man he intends for me to be.
The key was love.
I need to simply receive his perfect love.
Then and only then will I love God or anyone else.
I recently had a convo with a young man who is still one of those excited about his faith. I encouraged him that this walk with God is ALL about receiving his love. Keep receiving well. This is the key to healthy spirituality.I reminded him of Jesus words that loving others is equally as important as loving God.
So how is our love?
Mine has been not so great. I might still hold grudges. I think I have walls around my heart. I’m rarely honest about what I’m going through. I hide it. I don’t think I’m as easy to get along with as I once thought. Perhaps I’m not so easy to love. I shut people out and ignore them until I have no friends left. I shut down my heart so I won’t ever feel the pain of the loss. I avoid messy relationships and therefore avoid all relationships. Perhaps I’m the messy relationship others are avoiding.
I feel lost… Well, at least that describes how my heart has felt lately. I have lost the plot and begin to wonder what the Apostle Paul was so excited about that would cause him to suffer SO much for the joy of knowing Jesus. What would cause Paul to dedicate such immense effort to spread the message of Christ even in the face of such persecution? (See Scripture below *)
I wish I could write songs or write anything that would change the world for the better (or start a love/Jesus revolution) but I guess that sort of thing might need to flow from a healthy heart that is full of something worth giving.
Well, perhaps this is step in the right direction. So, I’m gonna write a lame prayer now.
“Yeshua, You are salvation. You are complete and total restoration and healing for all that troubles us, all that brings us dis-ease. You are the cure. Will you receive me back and bring some restoration to this old dried up heart of mine? I come to you. Best as I can, in my derailed and broken up state, I come to you. I know you do receive me because you promise never to reject any that come to you and you guarantee to give them relationship (John 6 & 17). Thank you for your faithfulness even though I have been faithless. Help me find a few genuine friends who will love me and that I can love and invest into. Peace out.”
‘Peace out?’ …I told you it would be lame.
*Paul wrote: “Why are we also in danger every hour? 31 I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE. 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 34 Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” (1 Cor 15)
– I’m doing some research into this and I am trying to figure out if he literally fought wild beasts in a coliseum in Ephesus around AD 54, or if this was just figurative language of the opposition and fierce persecution he faced from the religious and pagans? I think both.