June 30, 2009

Relationship precedes fruitfulness

Our first date
26 years later

We’re back from vacation. I got my annual hives upon my return. I’ve decided that I am allergic to vacation ending… ;) Actually I think it is somehow related to the sun. No doctor has ever seemed to give me a satisfactory diagnosis but that’s the only consistent thing I have found. I use hypo-allergenic sunscreen and take all kinds of precautions. The rash doesn’t appear until I get home though! Crazy! But the prednisone has kicked in and I am no longer a raging beast… (itching can bring out the worst in a person) so thank God for that!

This past Thursday Keith and I celebrated 26 years of marriage together! I have been married to Keith most of my life! We married young and although it hasn’t always been easy, I wouldn’t be married to anyone else. Keith is a rock… Keith is a leader… Keith has wisdom… Keith is faithful… Keith is trustworthy… Keith is a protector… Keith is sensitive… Keith is a man of God... Keith is anointed... Keith has integrity... When Keith walks into a room, there is a feeling of peace and safety... (not to mention he's doggone good-looking too ;). Wow, I’m blessed! He married an immature, selfish, wounded little teenage girl. But he somehow saw something in me, he believed in me and he loved me unconditionally. Although he got right with the Lord after we married, I know that the Lord put us together when He did and used him in my life to show me the undeserving love of God. Not to make him out to be perfect, he’s had his faults, but overall, I know, I am one blessed woman because my husband loves me. And throughout the years, that opened my heart to the love of God. I have definitely grown and I am even now, growing in the knowledge of the love of God. I wonder if we ever will fully know it on this earth? But for 26 years I can truthfully say that I know I have been dearly loved. The value of that isn’t lost on me.

One must learn to receive love before one has it to give. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us”. He makes that first step towards us. I am convinced that most believers are not fully aware of the love of God. Because of experience, imperfect examples and our inborn fallen nature, sonship doesn't come natural to us. We may have been taught that God loves us our entire lives (how many of us sang in Sunday School, "Jesus loves me, this I know"?) and we may know it in our heads, but sadly few of us are truly settled, confident, secure and resting in that love. For many, it hasn’t made it to our hearts and consequently much of our soul wanders in uncertainty and much of our obedience is wrongly motivated. If we know we are loved and we love in return, we’ll WANT to obey. I don’t lose any sleep in insecurity over Keith's love. I don't bless my husband because I HAVE to out of fear, obligation or in order to earn his love, for I already know he loves me. But I rest and I bless him because he loves me and because I love him. Its just a natural outflow of being loved.

It is all about RELATIONSHIP.

No one will argue that the Great Commission to "...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt.28)" is high on the priority list in the Kingdom. And the Church has built many a program on how to accomplish this worthy goal. But truly- the Great Commission is meant to be preceded by another greater priority in the Kingdom- The Greatest Commandment.

Matthew 22 :37 "Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Relationship!

So much in the natural is a pattern for the supernatural. When the Bible talks about a husband and wife’s relationship, it often says “and he KNEW his wife and they begat…” Just as relationship/ intimacy precedes and produces natural children, likewise, true spiritual fruit can only come out of a love relationship with our God. In the spiritual also- intimacy/relationship/knowing precedes fruitfulness.

Jesus said it this way-

Matthew 7:21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

He never KNEW them. There was no relationship. It was just religion. Even though they DID great things… and in His name too- HE didn't know them!

There are different levels of 'knowing'. Keith was in the Navy for 20 years and he worked for the President of the United States. He knew the President. He knew his name, recognized his face. He followed his orders and gave orders under his authority and with his approval. But had the President passed Keith on the street he'd not have known his name. Keith knew the President, but the President didn't 'know' Keith.

I know many people- Acqaintances whose name I know. Although I don't know them very well, on some level I can say, yes, I 'know' them. And I also have several close friends whom I know well; and family members also, and they in turn 'know' me. But I don't know anyone like I 'know' Keith. There is a level of 'knowing' there that is on a whole different level. We are one.

Jesus longed for that oneness, that unity, and He prayed for you and me in John 17. He said,

20"...I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. 22I have given them the glory that You gave me, that they may be one as We are one: 23I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me...25"Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent Me. 26I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them."

Our God wants to know us, for He truly LOVES us! Do we really believe that? How many of our problems and doubts and fears would be swept away if we truly BELIEVED this! How much more would the Kingdom be advanced and the Great Commission fulfilled if we first, KNEW Him and KNEW that love that motivates us with love to go after the lost. Not in order to earn His love, but because we KNOW we are loved and want to please our Daddy and to be like Him. If only more of His children truly believed. Forgive us Lord and help us to overcome our unbelief!

The very foundation of the Gospel is love. Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

But obviously not everyone has this revelation as clear as some. This is why Paul prayed for the Ephesians this way:
Eph. 3:14 "For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. "

So Lord reveal Your love to us in a fresh, personal way. May we truly KNOW it in our heart of hearts. At the very core of our being and may we be planted settled and motived by Your love. We already believe with our minds. May we believe with our hearts and deepen in our relationship with You and produce beautiful fruit that will last for Your Kingdom and Your purpose and Your glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

God bless. Kayla


Jordan said...

So gooood! Thanks so much. Man, I need this revelation everyday! How often we get bogged down in other things, strivings, forgetting our true purpose and our true heart, to love God and be loved!

Tracie said...

Hi Kayla,
I'm still amazed that people all over the place are tracking with our story and rejoicing with us!

Thanks for your comment!

Tracie Loux

Anonymous said...

awesome blog, WoW!