Updated: Jul 15
Encounter: Meditate on the words of John in 1 John 4:11-21 and Paul’s words in Ephesians chapter 5 verses 1-2 in the New Living Translation. If you have time continue reading Luke 6:27-38, Romans 12:9-10 and Romans 13:8-10. Begin to think about what these passages have in common, what is God revealing is the purpose of it all?
On our vacation to Idaho, Jack and I visited our friends who live on Hayden Lake, a beautiful body of water that over a week’s time brought refreshment and rest to our souls. One of our favorite pastimes during the week was to go out on their pontoon and tour the inlets looking at the peaceful scenery along the way. As we were moving across the northern end of the lake, Del told us that decades ago, the water beneath us had been dry pasture land and was flooded to enlarge the lake, making it one of the largest most picturesque lakes in Idaho.
I couldn’t help but think about what had died underneath the water in order to create a whole new eco system thriving with life (and skiers). There was a definitive change and all was transformed into something altogether different.
It reminds me of how our Creator God is working in our lives to enlarge the places where He dwells within us to transform us into something altogether different. Like dams being removed that allow waters to expand the shores of a lake, Dallas Willard tells us, “Trust in God and death to self open the floodgates for God’s agape love to flow into us. God supplies the faith you need for this to happen, and your job is to position yourself so you can receive it.”
So what does positioning ourselves look like? Here’s a few invitations:
· We must be willing to consistently seek Him because the more we seek the more He reveals of himself to the thirsty soul.
· Submit our desires and decisions to God. Be content for him to be in charge of outcomes. Truthfully, He knows the best for us.
· Spiritual practices like fasting, community and meditating on scriptures (especially the love ones) each day can help us stay “sweet and strong” when we do not get what we want in life.
· Practice surrendering by being aware of how much you try to control your environment and others and release your grip.
· Trust God’s desire, love and sufficiency to do this work within you.
As we draw near to God in faith, and we become willing to live His will in our daily lives, we are positioned to receive more and more of His blessings and love. Like dry pasture land filled to overflowing with water, God is filling our dry and thirsty lives with His love. From faith to death to love, this is the way we journey together for a life without lack. So…
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.
Reflect: As you read through the group of Scripture passages on love above, take note of what stands out to you and what emotions or thoughts are stirred in you. Are the words more like mirrors in which you recognize your own experience, sign posts pointing to a desired destination, or warnings of impending judgment? Do they feel like the invitations of a loving father, or the condemnations of a stern judge?
Encourage: “One of the hallmarks of those who live a life without lack is the freedom to serve others”. What is the relationship between faith, death to self, and love that makes this true, and how did Jesus demonstrate this freedom to his disciples? Ask God if there is a place, person or ministry where he is gifting and inspiring you to serve.
Gather: Identify one thing you would like God’s help with in relationship to the love passages and one truth from it that you are thankful for. Share this with one another in your Life Group, Sunday Study Group or with a friend.