We’ve all heard the phrase “tough love”, maybe even experienced it in our adolescence as we clumsily navigated through some rebellious patch of our life growing up. Hopefully you are not still stuck there. It can be painful both as a parent and a recipient of tough love. I however, have been experiencing tough love of a different nature lately and this morning took a moment to meditate on it. What I’m dealing with is how love can be tough. It’s hard to love people sometimes.
I have had a number of instances over the last year and especially recently where I was deeply struggling to feel and be loving toward people. I have felt like the Apostle Paul in Romans where he said:
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.” Romans 7:18
Paul endured all kinds of things at the hands of other people and he struggled with doing the right thing, the loving thing. He reveals our inner conflict between the spirit and the flesh in us. I have a desire to do the loving thing but sometimes my mind is saying stick it to them. We have a tendency to justify our feelings or subsequent actions, because after all we were done wrong, they are being unreasonable or we are the victim. That all may be true but the conflict remains and reveals our true problem. To be true to the Spirit in us, we must love and be loving.
As I read Romans 5 I find the problem with and answer to my dilemma:
“and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
The demands of life and the demands of God are so great that I don’t have a chance to do right without Him. God knows the selfish and self-preserving nature of our flesh. We are without the hope of consistent love without the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. Without Jesus and the gift of His Spirit we do not have the capacity to love the unloveable. We will revert to our flesh and flesh will always protect flesh. It defaults to self-preservation.
However, even as a believer we will have to believe the promise of God’s love. Through His Spirit He has poured out His love in our hearts giving us His capacity to love even in the harshest of conditions. Love is tough, but its impossible without God’s love. So before we begin to excuse our unloving behavior by what others have done to us, we need to draw deep from the well of God’s love and remember that even in moments of injustice and persecution God gives us the capacity to manifest the love of Jesus through our mortal flesh.
Love may be tough, but not impossible.
Who do you need to forgive today?
Posted in discipleship, Inspiration, love, Questions, Relationships
Tagged christianity, conflict, disappointment, discipleship, forgiveness, God, Holy Spirit, injustice, Jesus, life, love, persecution, Relationships, religion, spirituality, tough love
A must read, by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman. If you are struggling with church and/or experiencing a longing to know the Father better, this is a must read. After going through some difficult church times, this has been a breath of fresh air into my relationship with Jesus. It has also been challenging all my views of church and leadership.
I will be writing about my conclusions over the next few days/weeks. You can CLICK HERE to order a copy or you can find it at your local christian bookstore.
If you’ve read it or at some point do, please leave your comments.
I’ll say this, the Father is so loving and He wants that to be a living reality. We will have to rethink and unlearn some religious stuff to live in this reality.
Posted in Books, Inspiration, So You Don't Want To Go To Church
Tagged christianity, Church, encouragement, forgiveness, friendship, God, healing, Jake Colsen, Jesus, joy, life, lonliness, love, peace, religion, So You Don't Want To Go To Church, spirituality, Wayne Jacobsen
For growth to happen there has to be change. So why do we resist it. We want to grow but we don’t want to change.
You want to be out of debt but don’t want to change how you spend or sacrifice what’s costing you. You want to have that body but don’t want to change your eating or exercise habits. You want to break that habit but won’t change your behavior or admit you need help. You want to be treated well but won’t change how you treat others. You know the list could go on and on.
The truth is; you cannot stop change. You can embrace it and you will grow. You can resist it and you will still change but for the worse.
To not change your eating and exercise will decline your health. To not forgive will make you angry and bitter. To not be punctual will get you fired. To not change how you manage your finances will lead to crisis.
We resist change because we are afraid of letting go. We become comfortable where we are. We fear letting go of what we know to embrace what is not fully known. We fear the pain of change. The steps we have to take to change sometimes are painful.
The truth is, to change takes letting go of what I have come to control and exercise faith. If I let go of what, where or who I am holding on to, will God protect me and sustain me. Do I trust that where He is taking me is better than where I am.
Paul entrusted his entire life to God to do whatever He asked because he fully trusted Him. Whatever change was necessary.
“…for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” 2 Timothy 1:12
Do you trust God that much, to embrace whatever changes He wants to bring in you?
Do you trust Him to carry you through?
Trust Him today and embrace the change.
Posted in Inspiration
Tagged behavior, bondage, change, christianity, debt, forgiveness, God, growth, habits, Jesus, life, love, marriage, Paul, religion, spirituality, Timothy