Do You Love Me?
It seems as though the theme of my life this past year or so has been self-realization. The Lord has been flooding the inbox of my brain with books, articles, blogs, songs, and conferences all about finding my calling, knowing my purpose, and understanding who God created me to be. The common thread that ties all of these different sources together is this, God created me with a specific design, plan, and purpose. The person I am was created with careful detail, and every quirky personality trait that I have is unique to the plan God has for me to fulfill.
I have a strange suspicion God has been speaking to some of you about the very same thing. Am I right?
The season before this last one was getting to know who God is. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense, because one cannot know, truly know, who she is unless she knows who God truly is.
The flood of information has slowed to a ripple these past few months and I’ve found myself resting in the wake of it all, still processing the undertone of the message. I do, however, find myself now a little more confident and a little more joyful. I’ve received the message and it has taken root in my heart. So imagine my surprise when I started reading this book and I came upon this sentence in Chapter 3,
“The person you are when you love Jesus with everything in you, with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength is the real you.”
While I thought I was done trying to figure out who I am, this chapter has helped me understand that I am not fully me until I love Jesus with everything in me.
The very day I started to read this chapter, I felt Jesus ask me the same question he asked Peter. Do you love me? It was not an audible question, but it was something I was pondering in my own heart. It was actually a very private conversation I was having with Jesus, telling Him that I was afraid I did not love Him as much as I wanted to.
The evening before, I realized that I do not tell Him often enough that I love Him. I was with a couple of friends and we were praying. I admired how one friend affectionately told Jesus that she loved Him, and she proceeded to give Him soft, quiet praises. It was so sweet. I thought, ‘Why don’t I do that?’ Her prayer stuck with me through the night until the next morning until my prayer time, where my heart cried to Jesus because I want to love Him like she does.
Could it have been Christ in me who was jealous? Was it Christ in me whose heart swelled up with the affection that she poured out on him, and was jealous that He did not receive the same affection from me?
That very morning, before I even started reading this chapter, I told Jesus almost exactly what Beth wrote. “Jesus, you know everything about me. I cannot hide anything from you. You know that affection is not my strong suit. And you know that I’m afraid that I don’t love you as much as I should, but I want to.”
I am in love with this next sentence Beth wrote.
“The person you were born to be crawls out of the shell of a heart cracked wide open to the audacious love of Christ.”
First of all, I love the imagery of the sentence. Is it just me, or has Beth Moore’s writing technique vastly improved over the last few years? She’s always had an anointing, but I’m just captivated by her hyperbole and skill of sentence structure. Enamored might be a better word. I just love it!
Reading this sentence, I can just picture myself as a small, bland, colorless figure, kind of like a baby gecko, kicking and busting through the shell I’ve been trapped in for so many years and stretching out my arms and legs, coming to life and gaining vibrant color because of the fire Jesus has set ablaze in my heart.
“For Christ’s love compels us…” 2 Corinthians 5:14
Christ’s love compels us to come out of our shell and be alive!
Beth posed two very important questions. First question: What are you most compelled by the love of Christ to do?
I love the question, because I now understand that it is one thing to understand who you are and who God created you to be. And it is another thing to actually go out and be that person.
We need the love of Jesus to compel us go out and be that person. I know that I cannot do it on my own. I know Christ in me can do it, but it is this compelling love for Him that will get me out of my shell and moving.
“For in him we live and move and have our being…” Acts 17:28
So, I’ll tell you my answer if you tell me yours. I am compelled to write. I have a reserve of so much to say, so much that Jesus has done in me and for me, that I just want to give Him the opportunity to do something through me.
Oswald Chambers once said that our service to Jesus is an expression of our understanding of God’s call on our life. Whether we understand correctly or not, our response will manifest in some way or another.
“Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion…” Oswald Chambers
Holding this statement in the light of what Beth is relaying in this chapter, I conclude that a life compelled by the love of Jesus will overflow into the work of our hands, the words from our mouths, or our keyboards, or our paintbrushes, and into the people around us.
Therefore, I ultimately conclude that the truth is that because of the love of Christ, I am actually most compelled to just love people. I want to really, truly, genuinely love people. And if I were to really be honest, I don’t feel as though I love people the way that I should. The service I provide, the blogs or the writings, or the ministry I embark on is all simply a by-product a life driven by the love of and pursuit of Jesus. Point blank.
Second question: What would it take to do it?
What would it take for me to truly love people? I think if I just keep pursuing Jesus, His Holy Spirit will love through me. Then, I will no doubt become “audacious” in how I love people, and in sharing my faith and encouraging people in Christ.
What about you? What are you compelled to do, and what will it take to do it?
Do share! We would love to be praying with you about this.
*And join us back here next Friday for a discussion of Chapter 4!