Tag Archives: God’s love

The Search for a Godly Definition of Success

The winds of the world’s ideas of success swirl around us: the pressure to create and to do, to earn more, to be productive, to be successful. People and families alike have definitions of what it means to be successful: major in that field, get that job, be married by xx age and having children.

When we accomplish only some of these things or feel led by God down a different path, people may deem us unsuccessful or misguided, even pressuring us to do something different. Or perhaps we’ve walked those paths and feel disillusioned by the result. Even the world around us is filled with calls to find our niche, push for popularity, make a six-figure income, hustle unto productivity and more, and it’s everywhere!

How we define success in life is crucial. It affects the trajectory of our entire lives and even colors our moods, mindsets and attitudes. How we define success affects everything! Nonetheless, we who are disciples of Christ should be seeking to walk out our journey with God in His ways of success.

How should a disciple of Christ pursue success? What defines success for those endeavoring to live a godly life? And in discovering a godly definition of success, what should we do to achieve it?

Let’s aim to define success God’s way. Below are three keys to a godly definition of success. Continue reading

Experiencing God’s Love and Freedom in Spiritual Community

Did you know that some of the lies we struggle with can be extinguished as we do life in community? 

There are some lies we can be set free from especially as we do life with others in community. Things that can only be proven to us when we are not alone, not isolated nor in hiding. I’ve recently learned this in a big way in the midst of my own Christ-centered spiritual family.

As someone both in spiritual community and in leadership, I was so afraid to let my guard down. By choosing to face my fears, I discovered that I can stop trying to be perfect and that I don’t have to act like I’m okay when I’m not. I’ve discovered I can be the “still-in-process” me around them.

I’ve come to know that I can share my pains and struggles, knowing God will meet me there and display His love through them. I’ve seen the love of Jesus in the people of the house of prayer where I have planted myself.

Some of the lies that can be confronted in community include the fear of being rejected, abandoned, or hurt by people. Other lies relate to feeling like you don’t measure up, or that you have to be perfect or good enough to be loved or accepted. Continue reading

Vessels of the Father’s Love

Father God has given us each a free will. He has given us a beautiful choice to show love and honor to Him and others. Most often, we think we do this pretty well. Nonetheless, our hearts still contain impurities revealing self-focus and unhealed wounds.

Learned behaviors we thought were normal affect our daily lives. Ingrained habits plague us. We raise our voices at our children or siblings. We avoid those who rub us wrong. Or perhaps we find ourselves doing things to fulfill the need to be useful, or we assert ourselves wrongly to feel in control. Maybe we busy ourselves to avoid painful emotions.

Even in the many struggles we have, Father God is working to refine us into vessels of His love as we yield to Him.

We want to be ones who seek the heart of God, showing selfless love to all who we come near. Jesus confirmed this call. When asked about the most weighty of the Commandments, He said that loving God with all and loving others are the two from which all others stem (Matthew 22:36-40).

We realize our attempts to love remain tainted with self-serving. Showing love and honor is not automatic. Because of our tendencies toward selfishness and sin, we must seek to be intentional. We must be mindful of those around us.

If we ask, Father God will reveal ingrained behaviors and help us replace them with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We must seek to be a blessing in every situation. It will take allowing Him to show us the depths of our souls.
Continue reading

Results and Relationship: It’s Time to Abide

Recently I have embarked on another level of spiritual growth on the issue of being versus doing. God has shown me how often I was grading my relationship with Him based on how I feel or what I accomplish. Likewise, I have realized the Body of Christ as a whole tends to struggle with this issue.

As Christians we often declare that life with God is about relationship not religion. But we have often replaced relationship with another form of activity, one of seeking for results. Religion’s traditions, rituals and rules have been replaced with a striving to produce and see results.

In our quiet times with God, we often grade ourselves. Did we feel His presence tangibly, did we accomplish a lot in prayer or studying the Word? Often we do not even recognize we are viewing our time based on what we feel or accomplish ourselves.

We may even try Christian self-help strategies hoping for more answers to prayer. Yet life with God is primarily about friendship with Him, not getting our prayers answered. Prayers come as the fruit of that loving relationship.

In our congregations, we tend to base a successful outreach on how many people were saved or healed. Sometimes we even go after marketing strategies in attempts to get more results. But human methods will eventually fade.

At times we even view small churches as less than, or having something wrong. Nonetheless,  numbers and results we see are not necessarily an indicator of God’s approval or lack thereof.

God loves us before we accomplish anything. He is a God of relationship and love, not performance. Before Jesus had done any ministry, the Father’s declaration over Him was that He was well-pleased (Mark 1:11).

Numbers and results are not necessarily an indicator of God’s approval or the lack thereof. God loves us before we accomplish anything. He is a God of relationship and love, not performance.

It’s time for a 180. In John 15, Jesus said we would bear fruit (results) if we abide in Him (relationship). Only if we abide.

The Lord wants good fruit in our lives, but it cannot come unless we cultivate an ever deepening companionship with Him. And the fruit that comes through this friendship will alone be lasting.

This is the relationship Jesus opened up to us through His sacrifice on the Cross. This is the relationship we want others to enter into through our outreach. How can we tell them of their own need for relationship with the Creator if we ourselves are not truly pursuing it?

Abide in Christ, then fruit will come. Without abiding in Christ, we cannot truly know the heart of the King whose Kingdom we represent. Without abiding, we cannot rightly display the great love which He has for others.

May we set our hearts on knowing Jesus. We do not want to be hindered by our desire for results or to prove we are doing enough. May it be that we come to the place of knowing we are loved by God and rest in this truth.

As we love and obey the Father’s leadership, we can trust Him with the results. Let us choose to take Jesus at His Word, which He still proclaims to us today:

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4 (NKJV)

Loved When All You Can Do Is Be

Some days are harder than others. We face challenges. We fight issues that change the course of the day. Perhaps a loved one is sick or we ourselves deal with chronic pain, and healing has not yet come.

Or maybe we watch others never seeming to experience hardship, as we face them daily, perhaps even for years.

Know this: Through it all, Father God sees you. He loves you. You don’t have to measure up to any standard but His. He’s not looking at the struggles; He’s looking st your heart.

Even when all you can do is simply be, you are loved by God.

It doesn’t look the same for someone else as it might for you. He knows the trials, the pain, the weaknesses before you. He knows you are overwhelmed. He doesn’t expect you to be a super hero. He invites you to trust His hand and rest in His arms.

Maybe no one else will hear or see, but God sees you. You, seemingly little not-as-successful-as-another you, you matter to Him. He hears every prayer, He sees every tear. He is a Father, and He loves you better than anyone else ever could.

Even if life is such a challenge that all you can do is simply be with Him, He’s okay with that. He knows you inside and out, through the good and the difficult. He wants your heart more than your performance.

Many others are out busily doing for every other purpose under the sun, but even in the difficulties before you, you are still pressing into Him. By the very nature of your call for help, you are drawing near to Him!

Just being with Him. This counts far more than you know, beloved. It counts with Him! Your mind and heart turned to Him is more precious than all the world in His eyes. You are His precious and dearly beloved son or daughter.

He cares for you better than any earthly parent, pastor, mentor or friend could manage to muster up. He pours His love upon you. Our Abba sees you, His beloved child.

Even when all you can do is simply be with Him, He loves you and He cherishes every moment. You are His beloved one, in whom He delights.