“It starts in love”. As I sat listening to the first teaching in a prophetic training series, Jesus whispered this phrase into my heart. My body was warm as his fire and presence surrounded me. My eyes were gazing into eyes that held no judgment. I saw love, acceptance, and delight reflecting back at me. In this moment, I realized that in order to know joy, I had to first know love.
Created in love, for love, and by love
God is love. If you want to know real love, know God. He is the fullness of love and the outpouring of love. He holds all things together in love. When God created you, he birthed you in love. You are “beloved” and you have always been loved. You were always planned, desired and wanted by the Creator God, the King of kings, the living God. You are not a mistake or an accident, nor have you been forgotten. No! You were created out of a passionate love so that you can encounter the depths of God. God, who is love, made you for himself. Love made you and lives in you. Love is with you and for you. He is enthralled by your beauty.
(Check out my post on inheritance for more of the awesomeness God has planned for us)
Ending the performance cycle
When it comes to performance, I’m a pro. Let me split myself in a hundred different directions, so I can be in ministry, make an impact, and have you like me. For so long I’ve been involved in church activities and doing the “right thing” because I wanted to be accepted and seen. But my view was backward:
It starts in love! You and I start in love. This is where we find ourselves, not hiding behind some title or job. If that title or job disappears, then so does our identity. Love defines us permanently.
When you and I live from the revelation that who we are is awesome, accepted and dearly loved, we overflow into the good works God has made for us. Who you are and what you carry- talents, gifts, passions- are in you already. Love brings it to maturity and depth; it adds substance and fruit to your life.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
It starts in love, or we’ll sound empty, hollow and noisy. There will be no glory to God and no deep impact on people (other than the equivalent of hearing someone drive past in their car with the base turned up so loud that your ears hurt and your house rattles with the vibrations).
We need to stop our doing so that we can be found in the arms of the Father whose love for us is an endless ocean. From this place, we will overflow because we are secure in who he is and who he has made us be.
We become what we behold. We respond to how we perceive God’s heart towards us. To extend grace, patience, love, and kindness, we need to see how God is treating us in these ways. It comes down to our encounters with God and his love.
It starts in love
God is inviting each of us into many deep encounters of his love, goodness, and grace. He wants to change our belief systems and re-align our way of thinking to match his. He wants to take encounter us in the Most Holy Place, in the secret places of his heart. He is the lover, wooing us and drawing us deeper into the fullness of love.
It’s ok to rest. In fact, I believe that for some of you reading this post, God is saying, “Come in and rest. Allow me to refresh you. You don’t have to have it all worked out. I’ve got you. I’m not letting you go and I will not disappoint you. Come to me. Rest your heart and experience my love. I am delighted in you. You bring me great joy. I love what you are doing and who you are. You are my treasure and you make my joy complete. Take the time to meet with me. Let me build you up so that you can build others. You are my beloved. Know my love so that you can teach others how to experience my love too.”
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