A Story – Experiencing Love Like Jesus

Loving like Jesus often requires dying to our wants, needs, and feelings. But the beautiful thing about God - He never asks us to let go of anything without also offering us Himself in the exchange (1)

This is the written account of the descendants of Adam. When God created human beings, he made them to be like himself [image and likeness]. He created them male and female, and he blessed them and called them “human.”

[Then everything broke loose.]

When Adam was 130 years old, he became the father of a son who was just like him – in his very image.” Genesis 5:1-2 (emphasis and bracketed material mine)

Recently I was given an occasion to either love like my father Adam, or love like Jesus. In the past, I’d loved this person with hope love would eventually be returned. Anger and bitterness developing as disappointment mounted upon disappointment. I knew with our up-coming meeting I could very likely experience more pain. I had been deeply wounded, and since I hadn’t seen this person in a while I had no idea if being together would make me a target once again.

I wept with the thought.

With time and distance God has brought much healing inside me, alleviating much of the anger and bitterness, but I had no guarantees this individual had changed toward me. I longed to exhibit Jesus’ love, but remembrances of tangible pain and dread filled me.

God had twenty-four hours to prepare my heart. To make me ready. That in itself was a gift as often we are asked to express Christ without warning. In this instance, God knew I needed that precious time to be prepared.

Loving like Jesus often requires relinquishing our wants, needs, and feelings. But the beautiful thing about God - He never asks us to let go of anything without also offering us Himself in the exchange. Click To Tweet

God also never requires us to make the exchange ourselves; He only asks we trust Him enough to know the exchange will become for us a road back to the garden. That place where mankind trusted and relied upon God explicitly, and experienced His love fully and completely without shame.

Steps for Overthrowing the Power of Guilt And Shame

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LET THE EXCHANGE BEGIN

Not long after wiping my tears with the news, God sent me along with a friend to see the movie I Can Only Imagine, the life story of Bart Millard, lead singer in the band MercyMe. There came a time when Bart was faced with the choice to love like Jesus or walk away, much like the choice I was being given. Bart’s decision to love altered two lives dramatically, and has since affected millions of lives for God’s glory. As I witnessed Bart’s story unfold, the Holy Spirit inaudibly spoke inside, “Robin, walk this out with Me; you may never know how I can use you in this person’s life unless you do.”
I could now see the situation through the eyes of hope.

The following morning, Sunday, I awoke with the idea, “Attend the other campus today for church.” I debated with myself for quite some time as I love the campus I attend, but the thought persisted. I began to wonder if God had something special in mind, so I acquiesced. The sermon was on being a victor rather than a victim, and again that inaudible still small voice spoke, “Robin, should you go with Me in this, your choices could possibly allow you the ability to become a victor able to fight for this wounded one’s healing.”
I could now see myself as an advocate rather than a foe.

During the sermon, a man in attendance kept shouting, “amen.” This isn’t abnormal at our church, but this man’s voice stood out to me because it reminded me of our senior pastor’s voice. But it couldn’t have been senior pastor because he passed away almost a year ago. At first I thought it only interesting, but because the similarities were so uncanny, I soon began to take note when this man shouted, “amen.” I realized each “amen” came at a point where I could picture our senior pastor in heaven shouting, “Robin, everything you are hearing is true – don’t give up! This will be worth it.”
I could now exult in knowing there is great cloud of witnesses cheering me on as I run this part of my race. Hebrews 12:1-2

After the sermon, I saw our senior pastor’s wife standing up front, and felt I should go up and give her a hug. My first thought was, “No, she’s always so busy with people wanting to talk with her.” But the thought persisted, so I proceeded to the front of the church. As I got closer to the front, I spotted another friend whom I hadn’t been able to talk with in months standing by herself with a “Response Team” badge around her neck. I decided to speak with her instead so I could ask for prayer regarding my situation. She prayed with wisdom and discernment, moving me once again to tears as her words filled me with hope. When we finally parted, I knew God had sent me to that campus for this precious time with my friend.
I could now acknowledge God truly does have an amazing plan laid out.

The entire twenty-four hours leading up to my needing to love like Jesus had been filled to the brim with God Himself. My heavenly Daddy had so filled me and intimately ministered to me, when my time arrived to love this wounded one who had so wounded me, I was able to love with sincerity expressing God’s very love for me.

As I look back over this moment, I realize something profound:

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NLT)

My willingness to be vulnerable to this individual in order to love like Jesus made me more vulnerable to God’s love in a way I never expected. Losing more of Adam’s image, and regaining in some measure God’s. In the process I discovered a greater intimacy with the One who made me for Himself. The sweetness of the experience makes me hungry for more. It also helps me understand why Paul could so emphatically state:

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
Philippians 3:10-11 (NLT)

How have you found that in the relinquishing you’ve experienced a greater intimacy with God? I’d love to hear your story.

Robin <3

Steps for Overthrowing the Power of Guilt And Shame

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