In this video I briefly review what we’ve talked about over these past seven videos. Hope you were blessed as I was in putting this together. I also strongly encourage you to mentor someone else and in this video give some tips on it.
1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all that you do be done with love.
Here is a little something – simple and straightforward and yet so powerful – that God has been bringing to my attention lately – the look of love.
There is so much in a look. Sometimes far more than words and actions, for a look or the eyes reveal the heart. Others can usually sense what we are feeling. (Blog post on this topic) They may not know exactly what it is we think and feel, but they can usually sense the nature of it and our eyes are a big part of revealing that because they reveal our heart.
How many times have people been saying and doing one thing and yet their eyes say something completely different? How many times have we done that?
The look of . . .
Fear of what others think of you Competition with others Judgment on who others are or what they do Jealousy for what others have Lust for others Arrogance that you are better in some way Pride in who you are Nothing in that you feel nothing – don’t care Neglect in that you don’t really notice others Control of others, their emotions, or actions Disgust in who others are or what they do Disappointment in who others are
But our desire should be to give a look of love, always.
A change in look comes from a change on the inside. I’m finding that as the Spirit grows me in God’s love – the looks I give are starting to come from a place of love. You can’t give what you don’t have. And the only real love there is is from God. And only by being united to Him in truth and spirit can you know and give His love, thus truly a look of love.
God’s love entails truth, compassion, openness, and sincerity. It expects nothing in return. It is active not passive and engaging not distant. When we know and have His love then it fills our heart, thus our words and actions and looks. Not that we will always look in love, because the flesh is still with us for the time. But as we gain a deep knowing of God’s love a shift takes place – where the flesh decreases and the spirit that holds God’s love increases, thus we see less of the former and more of the later.
What do your looks entail? For your family, spouse, children, strangers, co-workers, fellow believers, friends?
It is a tremendous prayer of a child to God to seek to know and to give the love of God because when we have His love in us it flows out of our lives into the lives of others in all sincerity.
Luke 11:34 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.
Our soul is like a territory held in bondage by an enemy. When we are awakened to the state of our soul, then we realize our need for someone mightier (Jesus Christ) than ourselves and our enemy to deliver us from the entrapment. When we accept that Jesus is the One to deliver us, then He comes and claims the beachfront of our lives. So we are His, however, aspects of our soul are still untouched territory. As we abide in His Word and are willing and listening, bit by bit Jesus makes advances taking over the territory of our soul as King. Under His Kingship, we live free and as we were created to live. I want to explore some ways He makes those advances.
For years I experienced pain in my body in reoccurring areas. It wasn’t unbearable, but at my young age, it was far more than I should be experiencing. I knew something was way off. I tried many external remedies but nothing worked, but each “cure” presented a new hope. A friend told me about what a Cranial Sacral Therapist had done for her, so I found someone in my area. During the session, as she was working on my neck and head, she asked me if I had experienced any trauma in that area as a child. At first I thought no, but then as I laid there several experiences came to mind, but they weren’t of a physical nature but an emotional one. That thought process led me to see a deep trauma in my beliefs – that I lacked a sense of value for myself. Until that point, I never fully realized this debilitating belief. I went home knowing I had stumbled upon something significant. I realized I needed to stop looking outward for solutions and look inward.
As I brought this issue into my quiet time with God, He started unraveling it bit by bit. It ended up being a core issue that underscored many other issues (almost all of them, including my pain). I started to see the massive ripple affect of that ill-belief spreading to every area of my life. Eagerly, I prayed and listened to God’s instruction, and He started laying it all out. He showed me how most of my thoughts, actions, and decisions were tied to a lack of value for myself. He showed me where this idea started and was reinforced in childhood. As He took me back to painful memories, ones I feared to face or simply didn’t want to out of pride, I travelled with Him trusting His guidance and He covered them with His love, truth and forgiveness. As pain appeared in other areas in my body, I listened and He led me to other issues all related to my core one. He opened up each area of anger, pain, and fear, and brought in His truth. When He was done, I held an unchanging priceless value in myself as His child. However, many of my habitual ways of responding and acting were still reflective of that girl who had no value. Through awareness, abiding in His Word and prayer, those actions started to fade and were replaced by ones based on who I truly am as His unique creation and this transition is in progress today.
I share this story, because 1) it demonstrates a type of progression in how the territory of our soul is conquered by God, and 2) many people have this core issue of a lack of value (from childhood rejection, abuse, neglect, modeling of parents, and so on). Some know it and many deny it, but I see it in many people. When we lack value we spend our lives trying to prove and earn our worthiness and most of what we do is a result of this lack of value, therefore, we aren’t able to be completely surrendered to God’s will. We are more driven to prove or earn our worthiness. God calls us to be surrendered completely to Him and that surrender is a journey. For many facing core issues is a significant part of that journey. But we have to stop the madness of trying to prove and earn and abide in God’s presence and seek His deliverance. God wants us out of that bondage and will allow or do what it takes in our lives to bring us to this understanding, to healing and freedom.
The Progression of Conquering Our Soul
First, an uncomfortable situation arises in our life to get us seeking, like a physical aliment (as I had), intense trial, or difficult relationship. We live in blindness to our own soul and something has to wake us up. When all is fine, we don’t seek. But when things aren’t, it’s to push us to search from the depth of our soul. Often what starts us seeking is something that gets our full attention, and it is different for different people. How better to get our attention than with something we really care about?
Second, from seeking we get a word of truth about the state of our soul that comes to us through a dream, person, the Spirit, or God’s Word. When that word or insight resonates strongly with us, like the issue of value did for me, this is our first awareness of seeing Christ on the edge of this section of our soul ready to take it over and deliver us.
Third, through spiritual weaponry (like faith, prayer, meditating on His Word, the Bible, and /or fasting) the anchor of that stronghold is uprooted. For me the stronghold was the lie I had no value, God uprooted that ill-belief and replaced it with the truth that I have infinite unchanging value. One point on fasting, it is a tool that when God calls us to use it (He decision not ours), it can be extremely powerful. It’s an act of faith that we are completely reliant on His Word for life. Matthew 17:19-21
Fourth, once the anchor is uprooted then there is a time (usually much longer) of restructuring and rebuilding, like when a land is taken over by a new regime it has to be established on their rules. As the rebuilding occurs in this certain area, many issues may spring up that are related to that area like anger, modeling (what we learned from our parents), and unforgiveness. Each one of these has to be addressed and replaced with truth and love. This work of rebuilding is God’s. Our part is to seek His deliverance, listen to and obey His instruction, abide in His Word that cuts through our soul healing and restoring, pray, and hold onto His truth as it’s established in us.
After believing lies for so long it sometimes takes awhile for the truth to truly be ours. Because of the strong connections in our brain established from acting certain ways for so long, it sometimes takes awhile for us to act according to the deliverance that is happening in our soul. But once the anchor is uprooted, then we should see progress forward however slow. Building a new way of behaving requires great patience, trust and perseverance. It requires that we trust God who begun a good work in us will complete it (Philippians 1:6). As this area is rebuilt, God moves onto the next one to conquer. If we are diligent to heed His instruction, follow and trust in Him to do what He promises to do, we will experience true freedom in our soul. The good news is that once our core issue is addressed it resolves many other issues that came from it. Though, it may be a longer process initially, it is delivering us from many problems in our lives.
If you are struggling right now, perhaps it is the Spirit trying to get your attention. Ask and seek why you are going through what you are. Be aware of insights you have about your situation. Pray about them don’t ignore or push them to the side. Dive into them. They may be God on the forefront ready to move and waiting for you to call Him in. Deliverance requires your involvement. Let His pure Word penetrate your heart, pray, meditate on His truth daily and follow His direction and He will take over and rebuild you into the new creation you are in Him.
In my experience this process can be painful at times as our depths are unraveled and exposed and it isn’t instant by any means. It is a journey, sometimes taking years, but He is faithful to finish what He began. What are a couple of years compared to a lifetime of freedom? Most of us give up. Stop trusting. Stop seeking deliverance. Stop listening. Stop abiding in His Word. Don’t give up. Believe God is good and desires you to be free. And remember it is God who starts, directs, and completes this journey. It is by the Spirit’s lead not our own initiative.
Matthew 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Once again I’m laying out my brokeness before you. I hope that in showing you what I have learned it will encourage you to seek the truth of your actions and reactions that we may see ourselves as we are and grow in the grace and love of God. So here we go as the blinders come off . . .
This past week it has come to my attention – thanks to the Spirit – that when I get deeply hurt by someone pride becomes my best friend. She comforts me telling me how wrong they were, justifies my frustration, builds walls for protection from further hurt, gives counsel on how I should respond (all very justifiable), produces a copy-cat forgiveness, reassures me the issue is about them – not me, and keeps the situation focused on me ~ of course.
As I reflected back, I realized pride has been a faithful friend for years, but I didn’t see her true colors until this past week in this area of my life. I was surprised because she was so faithful that I never recognized her when she came around. I suppose I thought she was someone else.
The Spirit brought to mind a couple of different situations where she was controlling and needed to be taken out:
In one, pride reinforced her walls so that even though the pain was from the past, it was affecting the present. I held back and kept a safe distance emotionally for protection – when I didn’t need protection. But pride kept the memories fresh and the walls standing.
In the other, pride was giving all kinds of self-focused advice about how to respond to a friend’s judgments, condemnation and jealousy. And with pride’s thoughts filling my mind, my attitude and responses toward my friend lacked true love.
As the Spirit pulled off the deceptive veil of pride, this is what I learned.
As an example, here’s the second situation. My pride was trying to get me to abandon the friendship or at least have minimal contact with her because of how she was acting toward me. But the Spirit gave me different counsel – to stay in her life and love her. This is what He said . . . I need to not provoke my friend with areas where there is jealousy (He showed me what I did and how it affected her, because I didn’t realize what my actions and words were creating). I need to be sensitive to her struggles. I need to encourage and lift her up because she is so beaten down by others. I need to put my expectations about how I think the relationship should be aside. She needs the love of God to flow into her life, and the Spirit wants to use me to do that. Yes, I need boundaries, but I need to let the walls crumble that prohibited God’s love from flowing into her life through me. Boundaries allow the love to flow, and creates a healthy balance in a relationship. Walls block love. As someone commented on my last blog, if a friend stole money out of your wallet you wouldn’t leave your wallet laying around, but you don’t cut your friend out of your life either. Glup. Pride didn’t like that as I felt her power deflate.
As the Spirit guided me to what I needed to do, He filled me with the love and desire to want to do it. So “need to” became “desire to’. Incredible. Some of the hurt still remains, but the pride is fleeting. I have a feeling as I obey the Spirit’s lead in this situation, He will heal the hurt.
I can’t believe how selfish I was . . . well I guess I can because I’ve seen it before. It’s hard to see your flesh so clearly at times, but it’s the only way to fully turn from its ways to God’s. What never ceases to amaze me is as this raw reality of my actions was exposed, the Spirit gently encouraged me along. The Spirit doesn’t condemn us; He leads us to truth in love.
One of the many problems with pride is that all she creates within my thinking prohibits the flow of love, which is counter to God’s will for us. So the spirit is working on purging my hurt of pride and changing how I view these type of situations.
I’ve learned a very important lesson – when I get deeply hurt by someone, pride steps in posing as my best friend and governs my thoughts and actions. As a result love flees. I’m thankful for this awareness. I’m glad I finally saw pride, who comes in so many disguises, for who she is in this area of my life. I’m thankful for my eyes being opened to the state of my soul because only then can we truly be set free. The Spirit is a tremendous counselor if we will learn to listen and heed His instruction.
Pride and true love can’t co-exist.
1 Corinthians 13:4-6 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth
The last couple of weeks have been full of God’s instruction (discipline, conviction, correction, abundant mercy) in my life. There were several things that He told me to do at various times awhile ago, but I didn’t carry through on them. The past couple of weeks He not only reminded me of these items but also revealed to me the reason I didn’t do them – I put a fear of man over a fear of Him. (Fear of man meaning a fear of alienating others, having certain confrontations, and speaking particular things I hold as true) Each one was difficult to face and especially the overarching reason of misplaced fear. I desire to walk in God’s ways, and when I discovered I hadn’t been it was heart wrenching. But I was thankful for His instruction so I could turn back to Him.
The Bible tells us that the fear of God is to hate evil Proverbs 8:13 and the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10 It is the beginning of wisdom because when we fear God we walk in His ways which consist of the only true good and wisdom there is. God told me to do certain things and those instructions were in accordance with His wisdom. Because I put a fear of man over my fear of God, I wasn’t walking in them and therefore not living in wisdom in those areas.
As believers we don’t have a fear of God in this sense that we fear judgment that is the unbelievers fear or should be. Our fear is one encapsulated in love. We fear Him because we love Him. And that fear is a fruit of the spirit that becomes ours as we draw near to Him in truth and grow in love with Him and His ways.
God illustrates this fear-love dynamic in the father-child relationship. Growing up I feared my Dad. Never once did I doubt his love for me, but I shook in my sneakers when I knew I acted against his will. My trepidation came from knowing what he could do and being totally dependent upon his mercy. If there had been no mercy I would have had another kind of fear. He was a big tall man. Yet, I knew he would never hurt me because he loved me. I had a fear that was a combination of his sovereignty in my life and love.
My dad and I shared a bond, which encompassed love, trust, honor, and respect. When I betrayed that bond by going against his will, I dreaded the disappointment I would face. My fear was grounded in how I would make him feel if I went against his will and my desire to show him my love in return for his. Now I didn’t fully realize the depth of this reason as a kid. I just felt the desire to not disappoint him, but this bond of love was the underlining factor.
As a good student, I remember when I brought home my first low grade in high school chemistry, a D. The terror of what my Dad would say but more the disappointment in his eyes made each step into the kitchen to hand him my report card near impossible to take. I went against his will by not trying my best and I knew that. He trusted me and I broke that trust. I knew what I deserved.
You know what he did? He hugged me. He said it was okay. He said he trusted me to do better next time. Wait a minute, no reprimand, no disappointing look? Unbelievable, his mercy washed over me. I depended on his compassion and it was always there. Instances like that made me love him more because he didn’t give me what I deserved and gave me what I didn’t. He showed me his love and my love for him grew. There was nothing I could do to break his bond of love with me, even when I did something against it. And the next semester I got an A.
Our relationship with God is very similar. When we come to know God as our Lord we develop a fear of Him but it is tied to love for Him because He is merciful toward us. His love doesn’t remove the trembling but just envelops it because we know what we deserve and what He could do but never would because He loves us. We fear Him because He loves us and we love Him.
Psalm 103:10-11 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
God’s immense mercy redeems us from the destruction we daily invite into our lives. If there was a single moment that His mercy retracted, we would perish. His perfect love for us drives out fear of His wrath and replaces it with a holy fear fashioned in love.
Psalm 130:4 But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared
As God showed me these past weeks how I had been blindly disobeying Him, a sensation of fear wrapped in love started to fill me. I remember the days I use to not have that sense of a loving fear – I’m thankful to feel this treasured fruit growing inside me. I am thankful for the passion and desire it creates to walk in His ways of goodness and wisdom. This is my prayer – Psalm 86:11 “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.”
Psalm 112:1 Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments.
Guilty fruit isn’t worth much in the kingdom of God, but it is easy to get trapped into producing rotten apples. A friend asked me to join her at a prayer group. I quickly replied yes. As the day approached I realized that was a night my husband and I enjoyed watching one of our favorite television shows. That was our night. Now watch a show or go to pray? Umm, what would a good Christian do . .
I chose my husband. I love spending that time with him. But guilt started to set in for not choosing the prayer group because isn’t that what I should do? The Spirit reminded, no. It isn’t what you do but what is in your heart. The choice is between fruit of love and fruit of guilt. Which one do you think I desire?
2 Corinthians 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Guilt came from defining my goodness by my actions. I am writing about this topic in my book and God’s Word is clear, we live by grace alone. If we try adding to it, it is to our shame. Putting trust in our works in any way creates an idol. God abhors idols. I started to step outside the complete freedom and rest I have in grace and into bondage by works like every other religion. Acting on have to’s and should do’s forfeits grace and produces rotten fruit, forced and not of love.
This topic is a slippery slope because many say they do this or that out of love for God. But we have to be diligent in examining our motives. Only God and we know our hearts and even then sometimes we get fooled. I knew mine and God knew it. 1 Corinthians 16:4 Let all that you do be done with love.
Galatians 3:2-3 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
Examining my motives, I made the right choice, love. Love is the soil of true fruit. We need to slow down before we commit because of the constant temptation to prove, earn and work because it appeases our need to feel worthy and good. Our worth and goodness are defined solely in Christ. Our focus is to be on abiding in His truth, and fruit, sown in love, will be the natural outcome.
God did an amazing work in our marriage that night, who would have known? The fruit of love is worth a lot.