I know I've been posting a lot...but God has been showing me a lot of different amazing things! I love sharing and I hope it's relevant to you in some way. So this morning I was praying and asking God to teach me obedience and to be in tune with the Holy Spirit so that I can do what pleases Him and makes Him happy. And I had this mini epiphany! Let me try to explain:
Firstly, Sunday evening I heard an amazing sermon on John 14:15-31. The main theme in this passage is that to truly love God, we must be obedient to His commands and His Word. It was such a challenging sermon! And the preacher emphasised that when we are obedient to Christ, we are actually pleasing Him and for a lack of better words, making Him happy. He also spoke about the Holy Spirit who helps us and leads us to do the things that God commands. We have to be filled by the Holy Spirit and learn to listen to His voice and His leading, though. Ultimately, obedience deepens our relationship with God and binds us to Him in a more intimate way. We should be obedient because we love God and want to please Him.
I've also been reading through a book called "I kissed dating goodbye" by Joshua Harris. I read it in grade 10 or 11, but I wanted to just refresh my mind with some of the amazing truths in this book! Now before I start talking about romantic love, I've got to confess that I don't really have much experience. I can't honestly say I've ever been in love with someone. I've definitely been head over heals in infatuation, but I don't think I've been in love. But one thing that this book and many other Christian books that approach the topic of romantic love discuss is that eventually the warm and fuzzy feelings of being "in love" fade away, and love becomes a choice and an effort. Not that people lose all feeling of love toward that person, but the chemicals that were released in the beginning stages of a new relationship eventually fade and don't have the same effect on the brain as they once did. I read a quote on Pinterest last night that explained this perfectly!
But, this can actually relate to all of us. I know personally I was absolutely crazy about God when our relationship started about 4 years ago. I was seriously crazy in love! I remember reading my Bible for hours because I wanted to know more and more about God. I remember speaking to people daily about Jesus and what He had done in my life... I even pointed out people's sin and would tell them to repent (oops!). I wanted to be in church and around Christians as much as possible. Praying was easy because of the feeling and closeness of God's presence. Reading my Bible was a daily thing because I was absolutely enthralled, obsessed, and enamoured with this amazing God who had saved me and wanted to have a relationship with me! But now, 4 - almost 5 - years later, I struggle. If you look through my blog history you'll see a good 9 or 10 months that I barely blogged. That's because I wasn't in God's Word and I wasn't seeking to hear from Him. I wasn't eager to know more about Him. The feelings that I once felt had faded. I plain and simply didn't want to work at my relationship with God. I wanted it to come naturally and be easy, but it wasn't and it isn't. Love is something worth fighting for. Loving God is through obedience. Yes He will blow your mind at times and you will feel and experience the closeness and comfort and love of God's presence, but sometimes you won't. And that is when you must fight for obedience and love. That is when you must fight for closeness and intimacy with God, through obedience to His Word!
I always think of Psalm 37:3-7 when I struggle with this. Active verbs are repeated throughout this passage! "Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. "
Trust, do good, dwell, enjoy, delight, commit, trust, be still, wait patiently, do not fret.
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23
Make the choice to obey God even when you don't feel like it. Draw close to Him and love Him through obedience because it brings Him pleasure. In return, He will give you a lasting connection to Himself. This will be deeper than any feeling or experience, and a connection that is firm, secure, and lasting. God and Jesus will make their home with you. Do you see that? They will make their home with you!
I'm praying that we would be filled with the Holy Spirit and that we would love God daily through obedience to His word. I pray that we would experience love in a whole new way with the Father.. a love that is chosen rather than simply felt!