Am I being revealed as a Son of God?

Do you ever think about that scripture that says, For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:14) and this one, For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God? (Romans 8:19) 

 I do.

I often wonder what it will look like when the wait is over. I often wonder if I will ever be seen or known as a Son of God.  

When you find yourself being attacked you might want to take a step back and see what is really going on. Yes, it hurts when this happens. Yes, emotions rise up – you will want to defend yourself and refute the accusations. Believe me, I know all about it. Actually, I’m standing in this exact spot right now.

In order to see what might really be going on, we have to go deeper. Attacks are often reactionary as opposed to being responsive. The first is emotionally driven and the second is thought driven in their simplest forms. In my attack, we are looking at the emotionally driven reaction.

In order to distance myself from an attack, I have to step back and look deeper to see what might be motivation or cause. (Even if it’s only perceived that way by the attacker) Often it has more to do with the person that is attacking than the one who is being attacked. And often it has to do with wounds and hurt that have not been properly dealt with or healed.

Unhealed wounds can cause bitterness and negative feelings. Resentment over things that have happened to us can make us feel like victims and that in turn sometimes causes us to make inner vows that we think will protect us from further hurts.

They won’t.

Well, they will but it will only be for a very short time. Eventually,, those vows will become a prison that not only keeps things from hurting us again, they also keep anything good from getting in – like healing! Those wounds will begin to fester and become toxic. This is when seeming unreasonable attacks take place. Unreasonable to the person on the receiving end, that is.

When I was attacked last night, I’ll be honest with you – I wanted to attack right back! I vented, said a few (or several) things that weren’t very lady-like and even started writing out a reply to the person. Thankfully I have a husband who hears from God who advised me to wait, not respond until tomorrow. And also thankfully, I’m wise enough to listen to him!

Before falling asleep I repented for my behavior and outburst towards this person and asked God to soften my heart towards them because I certainly couldn’t do it all by myself. I didn’t sleep well. The enemy was having a heyday with my thoughts. It was difficult to rein them in but for the most part, I recognized his tactics and told him to stop. Mostly they did.

While drinking coffee this morning, Paul and I talked about the incident more. It was occurring to me that this person was very unhappy and had a very negative outlook on life. I gleaned this not from a place of judgment but from previous conversations I had had with this person. Looking at the larger picture, I realized there had been signs that I didn’t recognize at the time.

This person was wounded and saw through that lens, expecting everything to be a problem and everything would go wrong. They were bitter because they hadn’t been healed. It broke my heart, but in a good way. (Not like when they attacked me. That one hurt – this one hurt differently) Paul and I were able to pray blessings and healing over them in a very sincere way. I was able to forgive them and let any resentment or need for punishment fall to the ground.

Yes, I was attacked but at the end of the day, it wasn’t about me. It was about them and their dissatisfaction with themselves. I am still praying for them, prayers of healing and prayers of discovery. I continue to pray they will discover what love is and Who Love is. I pray they will encounter joy and peace and kindness in the most unexpected places.

It’s not always easy to pray for those who hurt us but who said it would be? The easy path is not always the right path to take. The path that pushes us past our comfort zones causes us to take our eyes off our own selves and makes us love stronger, is the one that will produce fruit. It is the path that will identify us as Sons of God.

The whole world is waiting, you know. The world is waiting for a light in the world to be drawn to – that Light is in you!

Note: This happened a year or so ago. I wrote this then. Today I felt like it was time to share again and that maybe it would encourage someone else. G

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Love Thy Neighbor

neighbors

The other morning while I was just waking up – you know, that sweet place between being fully awake and fully asleep, I was thinking about love. I was thinking about loving my neighbor and how sometimes it’s easier said than done. Yes, I do know the scripture actually says, Love your neighbor as you love yourself. But, we’ll save that “Yourself” part for another time.

I was pondering this and praying that God would give me a love for those who I seem to have a hard time loving on my own. Help me love even those who irritate me and make me twitch at the mere mention of their name. Help me love the (seemingly) unlovable ones.

After praying and pondering this, I had a sudden thought of actually falling in love with these people – my neighbors and others. Seriously, falling in love? But, the more I thought about it, the more it made perfect sense.

What better way to serve someone and demonstrate the kingdom at the same time. That is, without an agenda whatsoever.  People see agendas coming a mile away and there isn’t any real love in them when it comes to relationships like this. The end “game” is love, not another notch on your evangelistic belt. (I don’t have a belt, btw.)

For me, the Gospel is and should be preached by demonstrations of love and practical things that people need and can understand in their lives, more than by words preached at them. I find that when words are being used to preach the Gospel, it is for the Believing body. Not always, but this is what I see most often. It’s always pointless to point out what we think is wrong with someone, especially if we haven’t even taken the time to love well first. There is no fruit in that.

We throw the word “love” around all the time. Often when we use the word, it’s for things, to people. For instance:
I love coffee

I love bacon

I love these jeans

I love Sunday mornings

I love Christmas

We also use this word love when we think and talk about our friends and relationships – which is what I’m talking about here.

Can we take a moment and think about this thing called love? What is it really about?

When I met my husband on a blind date, oh so many years ago, I fell head over heels in love with him. My thoughts were always on him. What was he doing? Was he thinking about me? When would we get to be together again?

Things have changed only slightly these days. Instead of me being in a state of head over heels, – I am able to take my eyes and thoughts off of him so I can accomplish some things. (That is sometimes necessary for functionality!) But that is what love is all about. Falling in love with Paul is something that I choose to do every morning when I wake up. It’s like the “Groundhog Day” of love. I get to do it all over again but the difference is, I am full of love when I begin the day, not emptied out only to start from scratch.

I used the illustration of me and Paul about falling in love because it’s a perfect picture of what we are capable of as people: We can fall in love with those around us and we can do it every day.

This thing called love is really about choosing a place of humility. If we do that there will be no room for judgment or accusation for those who believe differently than us or act differently than we would in a given situation. We can love them because we give them honor from exactly where they are not someplace we think they should be.

 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never ends. . .(1 Cor. 13:4-8)

Falling in love with our neighbors is where the rubber hits the road. Love is a fruit of the spirit and if you know anything about fruit, it doesn’t suddenly appear. Fruit is grown from seeds planted and tended over time. Like fruit we won’t excel in love always, but we can develop love, deep love over time.

We need to treat people like our most beloved and cherished friend. We need to take the time to listen because they have a story that will rock our world and it needs to be told. If we treat them like beloved friends, that is what they will become. Can we love well enough to listen and actually show that we love?

I believe it’s time to fall in love with those around us. I believe it’s time for us to go out as an army of love and conquer the neighbors around us. Then let’s go take the world!

I’m falling in love, all over again.

G