The Power Of Love

“I Can Do Bad All By Myself” is a story about the power of love.  April, the main character, is living a life less than what she deserves; and she is ok with that.  She is in a relationship with a married man to keep from being committed.  She would rather be by herself than take a chance to fall in love and have to suffer the pain of losing it.  Sandino (Adam Rodrigez), the border who takes a room in her basement, comes along, and is not afraid to show vulnerability.  He is strong and macho; yet sensitive and caring at the same time.  At one point in the movie, when April found out her mother died alone on a bus, Sandino held her and when she asked why, he simply stated, because you needed to be held. 

Can you think of a time in your life when you needed that: a human touch with no strings attached; but you felt you had no one to fit the bill?  I know it is the “Christian thing” to say “Jesus is all I need”.  But that is not God’s desire for us.  We were created to not only have a relationship with Him; but also to have fellowship with one another.  Unfortunately, we do not always want to obey the word.  We would rather be alone, than appear before another human naked.  We would rather hide our hurts; conceal the pain of broken promises; and disguise our wounds of despair.  We would rather cover up who we really are – than reach out and let the Lord heal us.  And contrary to popular belief, His preferred method is to use someone close by.  My pastor always says “favor comes on two feet”.  Meaning, God uses people.  And that is absolutely true about healing those obscure, mutilated internal wounds inside of you. 

Did you ever consider volunteering or visiting a loved one in a rest home may be the cure for your broken heart?  What about helping out at the children’s hospital?  The healing power of giving love is stronger than you think. 

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:12-13)

So can you do bad all by yourself?  Yes, when you take the lyrics to the title song to heart:

“Yeah
Since everybody knows what it is that I need to do.
Well do me a favor, let me worry bout me and you worry bout you.

[Chorus]
I don’t need no one to put me down,
I’m on the ground, can’t get no lower.
And I don’t need no one to hang around and make me frown just makes me look older.
And I don’t need no one to black my eye and tell me lies
Don’t wanna cry over nobody else
No no no no I can do bad all by myself.”

But when we sacrifice ourselves, our wishes, and our preferences for a friend, we give the greatest of all gifts and prove our love beyond any doubt.  And the hose that waters has to get wet.  Simply put, the love you give has to come back.

LOVE

 

At some point in life, we all struggle when it comes to love:  loving God, loving others, and allowing ourselves to be loved. 

Over the next few weeks, let’s explore Liz Gilbert’s third leg of her journey to Eat Pray LOVE

 

“But you walked away from your first love—why? What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen? A Lucifer fall!  

Revelation 2:4–5 (TheMessage Bible)

What is a Lucifer fall?  When he left the presence of God, Lucifer fell into chaos.  He fell into a place that had no order – it was void and covered with darkness.  Does that sound like your life?  Sometimes it is hard to tell.  You know you may have fallen if you used to faithfully read your word, but now find yourself catching God on TV while getting ready for work.   (I know – you call it multi-tasking :) )

If you spend more time letting others pray and prophesy to you, than you do for yourself – you may have slipped some. 

If the rat race of this world has you robbing Peter to pay Paul; sacrificing God time for ‘me’ time:  catering to the lust of your flesh no matter what the consequences, you definitely fell and broke something. 

And one final way you can tell if you fallen and you can’t get up – if you left the ministry of ‘helps’ to join the PBI – Pew Bureau of Investigations.  If you spend more time on Sunday seeing how much manure filled dirt you can gather and spread before the 11 am service than assisting the Sunday school, you have definitely done a Lucifer kind of fall.

Whatever your reason – you have lost something.  And despite the big house, nice car, fine clothes and bangin’ shoes – all of you is hangin’ out.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about the stuff – God desires us to have the best & provided it for us.  And all He wanted in return was for us to love him and to love each other.  But our priorities got mixed up.  God no longer has a place of preeminence in our lives.  And truthfully, how you got there really does not matter; the good news is you do not have to stay there. God is not holding any of it against you.  His love for us is unconditional but balanced. 

In the movie Eat Pray Love, Liz walked away from her lover because she could not get it to balance.  Liz runs away, saying she doesn’t need to love him to prove she loves herself. A few days later, Liz goes to say goodbye to Ketut, her spiritual leader.  He asks what happened with her boyfriend; at learning why she broke it off, Ketut tells her that Love and Life sometimes involves realizing there doesn’t need to be that balance.  “Right here is the perfect balance: Right at the meeting of heaven and earth.”    

And for me personally, that is what draws me to God the most: His balanced approach to loving us with His unselfish love despite our up and down treatment of him.  Do not misunderstand, because God’s love is perfect, he has to judge sin.  But no matter how many times we mess up, our punishment is never what we really deserve – not even for Lucifer.  God could have utterly destroyed him when he fell. Or He could have left him in the dark, lifeless place he sent him.  But the Father showed him mercy by allowing him to inhabit the place he created for man.  When God formed the heaven and the earth; when He created a place for us to live; when He was making sure we would have plenty to eat and do, He did not remove Lucifer from the picture; he just told us to take dominion.  He wanted us to balance out the equation.  In this God taught me what true love looks like because he could have banished Satan to hell right then.  But love is not about your ‘four and no more.’  Even though Lucifer’s nature never changed: (he is still stealing, killing and destroying God’s property) – God remains faithful to his word and promises; even to his promise not to destroy Satan until it’s time. (Rev. 20:7-10)  He still lets him come to heaven when the angels come to report (Job 1:6-12); what awesome restraint, and balance! 

However, it is also our biggest problem with God.  We do not always think his justice is fair, so we rebel.  We call ourselves fighting for God by judging each other (I guess we think He is not doing a good job).  Or we think God is soft as we watch evil prevail.  We get frustrated or see no value in living holy, so slowly but surely we fall from graces too. 

  Well, whatever drove you there, you do not have to stay – get up! 

No I am not going to give you three easy steps to keep the fire burning.  You have to work to maintain your place in him.  However, I am going to ask you to do a self assessment this week.  Ask yourself:

  1. Am I as in love with God today as when I first got saved?
  2. What happened to change it?
  3. Make a list:
    • where has God been faithful  
    • where has he let me down(in your finite mind)
      • how can I learn to trust him when I cannot trace him
    • where have I been faithful,
    • where have I let him down                                                     

      And don’t just act like nothing is wrong, ask some hard questions:  Where did I miss the mark?  When did I leave you?  And how can I make this thing work?

And for heaven’s sake, don’t beat yourself up – repent where you need to repent, and rejoice where you can rejoice.  The biggest thing is to start getting back what you lost.  Spend time fellowshipping with Him. 

I encourage you to have a spontaneous moment and read I John this week while reacquainting yourself with the Father. And if all is well, really let your hair down and read a chapter a day of Song of Solomon.  Whatever you do, do something! 


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