I have held two completely opposing views of Love throughout my life. In my youth one version took the lead role, to put it bluntly this version was selfish and unstable. In my adult years my Dad introduced me to the other version, the selfless, unwavering Love of God. It took a great deal of effort, self-awareness, and many prayers to undo some of the automatic thinking patterns that my misguided version of Love had established inside my heart, and in my behaviour. Even after 17 years of walking closely with God, straining in pursuit of Christ-likeness, I still battle over which version of love will show up. I am astounded when I unconsciously perform acts of unselfish love, because I recognise it is really Christ working in me, changing me. And yet I am still aware and filled with regret over the times my selfish love rears its ugly head.
This battle between the two versions of love, is as old as time itself, and the biggest misconception of love has been applied to the character of God, God who not only is the very source of all pure love, but who in fact IS LOVE. I feel an enormous amount of urgency to restore the reputation of God, and overturn our understanding of Love, love without coercion or expectation, the freedom and peace true love brings, as opposed to the selfish version the enemies of God have flooded throughout the world. These enemies deny the very existence of love, replacing it with obsession, possession, lust and self-satisfaction, in complete apostasy to the self-sacrificial heart of Christ. Christ came to show us what God’s love looks like, for we unconsciously accepted the falsehood that the enemy was spilling across the earth.
Learning of God’s love revolutionised my life, and I pray my words don’t fall on deaf ears as I hope to shine some light on the battle between deceptive versions and the incomparable version of true love, God’s love.
Love yearns for deep truthful connection, with no equivocation, no hidden secrets, no self-serving agenda. It waits patiently for the chords of love to grow in secure freedom, with loyal untainted unwavering hope. The love that Yeshua imparted to the world took nothing but gave everything. It held nothing back for itself, almost as if love was worthless without loving us perfectly and completely.
Human nature convinces us that we are loving when we feel the desire to connect with others, and yet we have little concept of gaining nothing from it. We push for it because in some way we expect it to satisfy us. We make promises founded on our fragile willingness to hope, then at the first sign that our expectations won’t be met, our promises disintegrate into dust. God’s love keeps its promises because it has no alternative. This is founded in the fact that His promises are based on His character and not on our ability to deserve them, to earn them, or even request them in hope. We only need accept them, trust them, believe in them.
So what about that flood of misguided love that has misrepresented the character of God? What about all those scary threats in the Bible that religious institutions have been using as a means to coerce the world into crouching into a position of slavery and fear under the hypercritical God we’ve all heard about?
The warnings of Hell or Destruction are not threats of punishment. They are a sign post, severely cautioning us as to the unavoidable results of a life separate from God’s love. For He can not protect us from the hellish suffering we are reaping upon ourselves by keeping our hearts and souls hidden from His grace-filled love.
If our souls are energy and energy never dies, but only changes form, then what else is to be concluded but an eternal existence for our souls? What kind of eternal existence our souls obtain is completely up to us. And because True Love doesn’t coerce, God gave us a choice. He gave us the freedom to choose His loving protection and freedom from slavery to sin, or to continue on believing the deceptions. Deceptions which taint our understanding of love and keep us trapped within the selfish empty character of our human nature. A nature that causes us to act in ways that have negative consequences, consequences we then blame God for even after professing that we don’t believe in Him.
The world system sees might, muscle and domination as powerful, and yet the power of God’s love restores what the worlds ‘power’ has destroyed.
God uses the world stage as a template of what eternity will look like without being connected to God’s love. This place is a temporary speck in time compared to the infinite permanent Love of God. His ‘wrath’ is a perfect response to His perfect assessment of who we become when selfishness taints the love He created us to need. His response shows His intense concern for our souls. In His omnipotent wisdom He knows that our desires and self-indulgent hearts are not only taking us away from His love and Blessings, but leading us into the toxic wasteland of Satanic slavery and encouraging others to join us, our children included.
God’s wrath against sin doesn’t come from hatred or impatience or cruelty, as it would from our tainted versions of love. It comes from an all knowing concern for us and our impending existence without the abundant gifts, the eternal freedom and peace that only His love can give. Our belief in His love transforms us, making us able to truly love as Christ loved.
God’s love is made available to us and through us, a free gift offered, wrapped with drops of blood shed to prove its authenticity. The most beneficial thing we can do for ourselves is to look upward, let His love change us and set us free, so that we can reciprocate and share that Love with our own overturned love, no longer tainted.
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)
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In my post Discipline + Trust = Love I promised I would follow on with the story of my adult tantrums and how a changed perspective helped me enjoy many benefits in my relationships.
In my early relationships I was a manipulative, critical, conceited, control freak; unable to identify love at all. I allowed my emotions to control my actions, and used them as excuses to blackmail the people I thought I loved.
I had grown up believing with all my heart that I knew love because I felt it so intensely.
After I learned a bit of Godly self-awareness, I came to realise that what I felt so intensely wasn’t love at all; it was desire, obsession, jealousy, fear, and a lack of self-worth. I had held onto the belief that I deserved ‘the best‘ and should never settle for anything less, which gave me the sky as the limit for my expectations. Let’s just say that was a recipe for disaster!
How many of us grew up believing in movie love? As a child my favourite game was ‘grown-ups’. I would create the perfect imaginary life, perfect job, perfect husband, and perfect baby. I could have it all my own way and be completely happy. Of course reality hit like a brick!
Have you ever made a meal for someone special, rushed to make it extraordinary and watched the clock in anticipation of the perfect evening of dining and romance, only to watch it tick past the arranged time by over an hour? The first ten minutes were about as much as I could take before I began wavering back and too between anger and panic. By the time that special someone got a foot in the door I would be so worked up, I would be in his face demanding an explanation for his complete ignorance to my feelings!.…Am I alone in this?
It would usually go something like this….
“What time do you call this? Where were you? Can’t you read the time? Have your fingers fallen off so you can’t dial a @$#%ing number? Don’t worry about me! NO! I wasn’t just slaving away to make you a nice meal only to have it ruined, was I? I have been sitting here for over an hour, waiting for you, worried something may have happened to you! Obviously you weren’t even thinking of me! Am I wasting my time here? What else can I think except that you simply don’t give a @#$%! I deserve better than THIS! ARGH!”
I can’t believe I thought this reaction would bring about the response I desired from him …“Baby, I am so sorry that you felt that way, I love you so much, I will never do that to you again I promise!” Rush to me, hold me, kiss me and thank me for being so loving…End scene!
I am so grateful that I no longer believe that is love! Why would anyone rush home to that?!
The Bible describes love this way ‘Love is never tired of waiting; love is kind; love has no envy; love has no high opinion of itself, love has no pride; Love’s ways are ever fair, it takes no thought for itself; it is not quickly made angry, it takes no account of evil; It takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but has joy in what is true; Love has the power of undergoing all things, having faith in all things, hoping all things. (1 Cor 13:4-7 (BBE))
When my Dad first showed me that scripture in context, it was difficult for me to read and almost impossible to believe, but once I began to accept God’s design over my life and submitted to His ways, I saw how far from a loving person I was. The reality of my actions crushed me, it was as if all that I thought I knew was wrong! I cried out to God for the ability to understand love and to change.
Then came my first new perspective, I thought perhaps I should treat the man in my life as I do my friends, friends who I want to show love to, friends who I respect and treat well. A friends love is believed, because they are free to love me or not, rather than expected to. If a friend was late for dinner I would give them grace, so why not him?
I took some time to try and learn to depend on God for His love and fulfillment, and when I began dating my husband, I would do my best to greet him with a smile even when he was late and I prayed away the anger that rose in me, to stop my inner enemies exploding in his face when he didn’t meet my expectations.
A number of years ago someone asked me why I was ok with my husband going out whenever he wants, without getting upset and making him stay home more? His job was in a social environment and there was always something to do with people after work.
My reply to her was an epiphany that I have used as an anchor, to remind me of my true beliefs whenever I become too controlling in my relationship. I replied “I would rather he be home one night a year because he really wants to, than be home every night because I forced him to.” I gave myself low expectations and this helped me cope with any emotionally controlling behaviour. I would rather know that he wants to be with me more than he HAS to! I also began to trust that if God wanted him to be the man for me, then he would be! And if he wasn’t meant to be then I was never going to be able to change God’s reasons for that! I had to let go and let God have his way.
Having less or no expectations changes our perspective. Perspective is everything!
Here’s another little example of how a changed perspective brought me much joy. This recent Valentine’s Day, which we hardly ever celebrate, I wasn’t expecting anything, no gifts, no romantic date, nothing. I woke up to a tickle under my foot from the man I love, I opened my eyes to look into his and heard him say “Happy Valentine’s Day Sweetheart” After so many years together, to still be rubbing our feet together under the sheets was the most wonderful feeling in the world! To hear him call me ‘Sweetheart’, and let me know I was his Valentine was almost too much joy! (I have happy tears in my eyes as I recall it!)
I still have to work hard at being the best version of myself as possible, to try to show love through acceptance and grace, instead of demanding it with blackmail and complaining. I go through good runs and bad, (once a month is especially hard, around pregnancy was particularly hard, after my car accident was downright ridiculous!). However I continue to try, to be self-aware and try to look at things with a Godly perspective. I have noticed that it is much easier to be loving to those around me when I am in close unity with God, and much harder when I drift away from Him.
I praise and thank God every day that He gave me the opportunity to become aware of myself and my unloving actions, and that in His mercy He saw fit to help me make changes to be more genuinely loving. Amen!
If your inner enemies are preventing you from feeling, giving or understanding love, I recommend you too call out to God for a new, loving, perspective. It will bring about a change you never thought possible!