(Part 1 and 2 in February archives)
My husband and I have been talking a lot about performance driven relationship. (oxymoron, right?)
I’ve mentioned before that lovers do more work than workers. This is probably true because lovers know and are known. Lovers know who they are because of Who knows them.
Workers, on the other hand, know how to work without being known. Want proof? Matthew 7:21 says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Take the work away from the worker, and identity is lost.
Ok, so let’s get this straight.
We all know that God honors faith. “If anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea, and does not doubt in their heart, but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” Mark 11:23
Wait, what? 🙂 “If ANYONE says and believes, it will be done.” White, black, woman, man, child, old, young, sinner, saint. Anyone. That is how much God values faith in humanity. “The sun rises on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45
Lovers are not the only ones who can receive from a good God. So really, it’s possible for me to receive gifts (free equipment) from the Holy Spirit without being a lover. Keep reading in Matthew 7, and that becomes clear: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” What is God’s response? “I never knew you.” Mathew 7:22-23
In the Bible, the word “know” is often used in the context of intimacy between a man and a woman. If you are intimate with your wife, is there any doubt that you “knew” her? Probably not. 🙂 Your assurance comes from a direct relationship with her where you are bonded in deep love and covenant.
Ok, we got the point. So if workers don’t make it into the kingdom, who does? “…He that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7: 21b
Children can obey, but lovers know what the King is up to.
So how do we do the will of the Father? Be known.
That does not include a list to check off or a formula. There is no “5 steps to make sure you are known” pamphlet. Somehow, doing something gives the illusion that progress is being made. I don’t know if God is amused or disturbed by our charades. I am right here just waiting to hang out with you! Humans are obsessed with performance, but no amount of information or preparation can compare to the life changing reality of a direct encounter with God. You can’t replicate that.
In my opinion, the greatest falling away of the ages manifests in groups of people clinging to the environment in which a past move of God occurred, instead of embracing current encounters for transformation of the generation at hand, which will then welcome the same Lord in the next season.
Two verses to make you admire God’s wisdom:
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
So I can not please God without faith, but if I have faith without love, I am nothing. Isn’t that a pickle? Those two elements of our relationship with God can never be separated. It seems like a checks and balance system between remaining simple children and becoming lovers and co laborers with God.
When I’m in love, I’m not only going to see gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, but there will also be fruit of the Spirit, which is not the result of the elementary “ask and receive” of a child, as is the case with spiritual gifts. Fruit of the Spirit comes from relationship. Being in love means I am known by Jesus. I am empowered to do His will and to be like Him because of our love.
Recognizing the difference between spiritual gifts and fruit of the Spirit helps me examine my heart. It’s a scary thing when there are gifts of the Spirit, but no fruits of the fellowship with Him. Even more terrifying is the illusion of fruit, but no gifts. I think it’s next to impossible to be a lover without operating in gifts. tick that in your pipe and smoke it. No, don’t. Smoking will kill you, and we wouldn’t want that. Figure of speech ignored.
In my dream, love seemed irreverent because of the toxic spirit of religion operating out of fear. (Oh, happy day. The Lord said that perfect love casts out fear!)
The religious spirit portrays an illusion of irrefutable godliness, despite the lack of the fruits of the Spirit. (which come from being known) You can see the damage it does, yet feel ironically powerless to question it because the illusion has completely disarmed you of evidence or probable cause. This is not physical force; it’s spiritual influence. This is not holy; It is manipulation. We don’t wrestle the physical. We wrestle the spiritual. We have been made conquerors over spiritual powers.
Too bad I didn’t tell Satan to stand down in my dream. But then again, I told the religious man that love is the greatest chastening.
Satan knows his Bible. I don’t know about you, but I have seen many people crushed under the weight of a scripture in Satan’s gnarly hands. The difference between God’s words in the hands of the enemy and that of the Spirit: one is inspired out of a motive of destruction, and the other is inspired by Love. Check His heart. His plan is to bring hope and a future. His words can transform nations when nations encounter the heart of God.
How powerful is His Word though?
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
That verse is precious to me because words are part of my DNA. It’s not ironic that my first name means “fiery sword.” I smile when I remember that my middle name means “small,” just to keep perspective of my size in comparison to the Lion of Judah. My sword is too big unless a giant Lion is in me. 🙂
Back to the main point:
So far, we have workers, (God honors faith) lovers, (without love, faith is meaningless) and fakes. (a form of godliness, denying the power thereof. 2 Timothy 3:5)
Everyone loves to be right, but not everyone is in love. Being right is sometimes wrong if I’m not in love.
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire the spiritual, especially to prophecy, which is for edification and building up towards the fullness of Christ. (I Corinthians 14:1 paraphrase)
If I continue this series, it will include practical lifelines to inspire faith in the messy transition from a system of shame and learned behavior to a lifestyle of relational empowerment and cultural transformation. Yes, that was a long sentence.