When I was a young girl I used to love the Hollywood romantic movies, real tearjerkers and girlie movies. It brought tears to my eyes to hear words like ‘you complete me’ etc. But after growing up and experiencing the emptiness of what this world has to offer, I don’t like those movies anymore, because no matter how hard they try - Hollywood isn’t the best portrayal of perfect love. Perfect love can be summed up in only one word - God.
I still remember the first preach I heard about God’s love. It was in a church that I visited, a church very different from the churches I was used to. The preacher got up and started talking about God and His love. He used 1 Cor 13 as a reference. This was such a well-known scripture and having grown up in a church, I knew it quite well. At times I quoted it - using it as an excuse to experience worldly love, because the Word said the most important is worldly love…right? Wrong! That day sitting in that new church I was blown away by the way the preacher explained that 1 Cor 13 was actually referring to God’s type of love - the self-sacrificial type. He explained that God was love and if He says we should have love, He is referring to His kind of love, not my self-seeking kind. I remember sitting there suddenly realising that God was not an angry God and He was not an irritated God. But that He was actually long suffering, He was kind, He does not envy, He does not parade Himself, He is not puffed up and will never behave rudely, He never seeks His own and is not provoked.
He never rejoices in any form of iniquity or sin and always rejoices in truth - His truth. He bears everything, He believes all things, He hopes always and wholly, and He can endure and endure and endure… His love for me, you and mankind never fails and will never end. That is why He secured our reconciliation with Him by sending His only Son to die a brutal death to make it possible.
So, yes, the greatest of all is God and God is LOVE. Therefore when I speak about love I need to see it in the definition of the ONE who created Love in the first place. If we abide in Him, we cannot but abide in faith, hope and love. His love is the exact right size for the love-hole in our hearts, that only He can fill.
As much as we want love, we allow things to creep in that seem to steal the love-deposit that we get when we meet up with our Saviour and are reconciled to the Father. Jesus’s main aim of dying, was to save us from sin and reconcile us to a waiting Father. A Father that longs to be with us, have a relationship with us and love on us in Truth. He loved us first and we can always be assured that He loves us.
1 John 4:19
We love Him because He first loved us.
Sometimes, though, we allow lies to cloud the revelation of His love. They do not take us away from God, they cloud us to see and experience and believe His love. The three most profound lies that I have come across are fear, rejection and comparison. These three are thieves that creep in and steal our safe-space in God’s love. These lies are not the only ones I am sure, but the ones that I have had to fight in my life so that I can stay in God’s perfect peace.
The first one, fear, is kind-of obvious. The Word says
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
Jesus talked about fear a lot in the gospels. It was something He encouraged us over and over about. He did not want us to fear and also gave us the way out - prayer and giving things back to God (Who, by-the-way, can handle it). Just today I watched a little bird and I was reminded that God will look after me like He does after the sparrows. (Matthew 10)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The second thief that has come into my life numerous times to steal, is the thief of rejection. The opposite of rejection is adoption! So, when the enemy of our souls can make us embrace rejection, he is able to take us out of the loving presence of our Father who adopted us. God gave us His Spirit of adoption who cries - Abba, Father! In essence crying Daddy, Papa. We do not have to live in fear of rejection because His Spirit living in us, seals our sonship and adoption.
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
When I go through seasons of experiencing rejection from people, I need to sit at the Father’s feet more and remind myself that I am His. He loves me and will help me through whatever I am going through. His adoption sustains me and I speak the promises of the Word for His sons, over myself because I am His.
The third thief of love is, comparison. Anyone who has grown up in a home with siblings will be able to attest to the destruction of sibling rivalry. Some families never find reconciliation after years of comparison and strife. Women, especially, compare a lot. We compare ourselves to the best in everyone else and feel terrible, or we compare ourselves with their worst and think we are the greatest!
A wake-up call for me was when I found the scripture in James 3 v16. I just never saw it for years and then one day as I was reading my Bible, it jumped up at me and left me shocked for a while.
For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
I suddenly realised that comparison is self-seeking and striving. Comparison opens up my life to confusion and every evil thing! It was such a profound truth for me that day and I immediately repented for my self-seeking ways and comparing others to myself. I asked God to forgive me and also to show me when I do it again. Now, I am more aware of it but I still fall into the trap of this lie. The lie that says, it is okay to compare, even subtly. If I feel confused, I immediately go to God and ask Him who did I compare myself to. Sometimes, it is so subtle that I completely missed it, but the sure signs of restlessness always stare me right in the face.
I need God’s peace and I need His love. Those are not optional extras in my life. I need God more than ever before, every passing day. So, I have declared war on the above three and even started rock-climbing to overcome my fear of heights. I would not really recommend it though - prayer is the better way:-)
Let us stay in His love and His perfect peace, by allowing our minds to be retrained to focus on Him - a loving Father who empowers us through His Spirit to overcome anything.
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Let us trust God to love us and let our lives be a song of us loving Him back.
1 Corinthians 13:4-13
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Liesl Mare is a contributor as Women of Reverence.
Read full bio here.