I had a revelation one day when I was thinking through my deepest, darkest, most secret sin issue. As I was contemplating what its source might be, it dawned on me that perhaps one of the reasons I was so enticed by this lie was that I didn’t really believe God loved me. I realized the little white lie tempting me fed this hunger for love somehow.
Don’t get me wrong, I knew God loved me. “Jesus Loves Me” was among the first songs I ever learned.
But knowledge did not equal belief.
So, in effort to get this knowledge into my belief system, I made it my assignment to write every Bible verse I came to about God’s love in a special notebook. This way, every time I felt needy for Jesus’ love (and tempted by this ongoing sin issue), I could flip it open and be quickly reminded of the truth.
The problem was, this didn’t work.
KNOWING IS NOT BELIEVING
Eventually I gave up on this plan.
And I gave up on ever being able to really deeply believe Jesus loved me.
Though I still did think that if I ever came to believe his love, I’d be deeply changed.
I am convinced that so much strife and division, fear and anger, temptation and bondage fills this world because of rampant disbelief in God’s personal, intimate, and unconditional love for us.
I believe these things are rampant in the Church for the same reason.
We’ve replaced genuine interaction with the God of love for knowledge of his love. These are not one and the same. Nor should they exist independent of one another.
BELIEVING LOVE REQUIRES PERSONAL INTERACTION
How many children’s parents told them they loved them every day of their life, yet the children grew up never believing it?
How many marriages have words of love expressed every day, yet the marriages end because one or both spouses didn’t believe they were loved.
Similarly, we can know Jesus loves us, yet never live and thrive from belief in it.
Just like the child or the spouse, you and I need tangible evidence of the truth of God’s love.
Friends, today I live deeply believing I’m loved by God! This has changed everything. But how did I move past knowledge and into belief?
One word: interaction.
I began interacting with God himself.
I opened myself up to the truth that I can hear God speak to me. That I can interact with him in a two-way, personal, and intimate relationship.
LISTEN FOR HIS VOICE
May we not have come this far in this “Little White Lies” series, and not be deliberately and daily seeking to hear his voice. Friends, I urge you, never just read these words, apply them to your life. If you haven’t begun listening for his voice daily, and even recording what you are hearing in a journal, will you take time apart from the noise of life, and begin to wait for and listen to his voice even today?
When I opened myself up to the idea that I can hear God, I opened myself up to personal interaction with him. And it proved to be far beyond anything I ever dared imagine I could enjoy with him.
And it will be for you too.
For the first time, I experienced the thrill of hearing Jesus himself tell me he loves me, what he loves about me, and even personally encourage me. I opened myself up to taking him at his word: I listened for his voice within me, trusted it was him, risked acting upon it when he was calling me to action, then saw his real-life goodness come through for me in my obedience. Oh the thrill of this!
I opened myself up to believing God speaks in various ways too. Yes in the Scriptures. Yes in the inner heart of man. Yes through other people. Yes through dreams and visions. Yes even through our life stories and daily circumstances. When I opened myself up to receive from him however he wanted to speak, he blew my mind. And my heart!
Friends, you and I need more than knowledge about God—though we DO need this too. We need to interact with him personally.
Do not believe the lie that interacting with God—experiencing God—is less important than knowing his Scriptures. I know a lot of people will tell you this today. Listen, we must always check what we hear with the Scriptures—Jesus in us will never contradict the Bible. But this is not what Christ died to give us. He is both in us and speaks to us. You and I have access to know him because of his death and resurrection! We want to settle for nothing less.
I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings… Phil. 3:8-11
We know Christ, not by obeying a static written law code, but by listening to his dynamic law (righteousness/guidance which comes from God himself through faith) in the inner man (his voice inside of us), trusting it, acting on it, and seeing him come through for us, be faithful to us, and express his love to us. We fellowship with him out here on the edge of daring to believe his beautiful voice.
Today, would you seek his voice? Would you seek interaction with God? Would you risk doing life vulnerably and intimately with him? Risk experiencing his personal, intimate, and unconditional love for you?
Life lived from belief in his love for you is sublime.
There is absolutely nothing like it.
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