Then in this series on Alan Knox's blog, I really felt Him taking that same topic even deeper as I wrestled with the truth that true pure love is not possible by trying harder. That the Church really does have a love problem.... and I believe the root of it is that we don't intimately know our Lord. We have a surrender problem. At the same time, I was encouraged through that series that we as God's children, indwelled by His Spirit (and the goal being continually filled with His Spirit) have been given all we need to love others and when we are not loving, we are disobeying.
Which brought me back to what I was learning through BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and my study of Genesis - which was the power of openness with the Lord about everything. The power of confession. That week, I started practicing even more confessing my disobedience (which shows in lack of love to others amongst other things) and it was so powerful how God's grace and mercy and forgiveness just poured on me as I confessed and was open with Him. What great practice to recognize what is from Him and what is not. What He cares about and what He doesn't. Talking to Him about all things is so impactful!
I earnestly seek God's love in my heart and life. I desperately desire His love and grace and affirmation. I want health in my life. Emotional, spiritual, mental, physical.... I want healing.. for so many reasons... but a major one is so that I can be productive and serve and impact others. I know the more I understand and receive His healing love, the more I will be able to give out. I really do believe that I can't give what I don't have. And that I need to be quenched by Him.... so that I can love others!... so that I can put my love muscles to work. I do believe it all starts with relationship with the Lord.
Then, that week as a church, we read 2 Peter 1:5-9. Through those verses and our conversation, I was reminded again that our diligence in our walk with the Lord is directly related to our love for others. I was reminded that in our loyalty and strenuous dedication to know the Lord Jesus intimately and follow Him.... there is a direct correlation to us knowing the Lord.... and being productive, effective in our service (and at the climax of these verses we see brotherly love and kindness). Our goal is to know the Lord Jesus intimately as our Lord & Savior & Redeemer & Love & Teacher & Shepherd & Healer. Everything we do in our walk should be aimed at Him, so that we would know Him better. I do believe that when we know Him better, we will see ourselves in His eyes more and more clearer and we will become more and more the person that we believe He sees us to be. We become what we believe of ourselves. His Word shows us over and over again who & whose & what we are - His children, cleansed, renewed, full, complete, perfect in His love, loving, a new image - being made more and more into the Creator of that image, Jesus Christ.... and on and on!
I want to see myself as He sees me, so badly!
The next week, I started back at the basics of my relationship with Him. Meditating on all those things that His Word says about me. I so badly want to accept myself and be who HE says I am! I want to be healed & full of security & love.... so that I can love others purely and truly! And I realized that by meditating on those things.... what I was doing was "putting on the new self"
Eph 4:24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness
Which leads me to this morning. I was sitting with the Lord and I kept asking Him questions about this..... but Lord, this putting on? Isn't this what is so wrong with so many christians and the church - this fakeness, this "putting on", this covering up, this pretending? Really? You want me to just put on? Just fake it till you make it? Isn't that just so.... fake?
I sat on those thoughts all morning and right before naptime, as I was folding laundry (a very deep sacred spiritual discipline)..... I heard Him tell me.... yes, it IS just fake, a put on, IF you have not put off the old. And it IS just fake - IF the new is not true. But the truth is that Christ is in you and I see you through Christ and you are those things I believe about you... even if they haven't manifested themselves yet in your time, in your eyes. And Randi IF you have not put off the old, then you ARE just covering up. BUT when you quit the old. When you turn from the old. When you repent, confess, turn and then believe wholeheartedly what He says about you instead... even when you've been cranky all day, unloving, unjoyful and you have so much to repent from....if you put if off, then it's not a cover up! It is truth! It is a replacing! Not a covering up!
This is why safe places of close intimate relationships are so important and so powerful. We seem fake to each other... because we are only seeing the putting on!! We seem fake to each other because a) sometimes we are being fake because we are not putting off.... or.... b) we are distant from each other so we don't see the whole process! We only see the putting on.
When we see the whole process that God is doing... when we see the wrestling and the taking off and confessing and turning ---- then we will see the whole process and God's transforming work.
We also have to desire to show each other so much more than just the realness of our old self. We have to encourage each other to allow Him to clothe us. To encourage each other with truths like we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph 2:3) in Christ. We have all we need to love others. We have new power. We are a new image. I believe through Alan Knox's series on love, the Lord used those brothers/sisters to do that for me. I walked away so encouraged and built up. See.... His encouragement comes from the least expected places... like online conversations. We all know we shouldn't expect or depend on those distant interactions.... and should bring it back to our real communities.... but the truth is He used it in my life for sure!
But, this new image - this new self we put on - it's all about what He has done and the clothing He has given us. Adam & Eve were clothed by the Lord - not themselves.. though they tried. Their pretend coverings of leaves were not enough. They had to allow HIM to cover them and that is true of us. We have to admit our nakedness to Him, confess our inability to clothe ourselves and allow Him to cover us.
A huge reason we do not see maturity in our Church today is because we don't have places to encourage each other to put off AND put on.
In some circles, we see a lot of putting on and fake coverings because people aren't putting off.... they are just trying to cover themselves!
In many places, we only see the putting on so we think people are just being fake.
In many other circles, we see a lot of "nakedness" and people being real with each other - but never encouraging each other in the truth of what the Lord says about us!
We need close relationships so that we can speak into each others lives and build each other up - to put off our old selves, be real AND put on the new image He has gifted us with in Christ Jesus!
Eph 4:22-24 You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
And then I read the next verse, 25 and wow, I can't believe the Lord spells it out so clearly what He was speaking to me!! Yes yes yes!! I am on the right track!!! Praise Jesus!! I love you so much Jesus, THANK YOU!!
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Yes! Praise the Lord. Seek close relationships where you can be real - put off falsehood! Don't just cover up - but PUT OFF and then allow Him to show you who you REALLY are. Encourage each other to put on your new self - the new life Jesus gifted you with!
Be truthful with each other about what you are wrestling with, confess your disobedience but then make sure you encourage each other to take that off.... and put the new life Christ has gifted you with on in place of the old!
This is true healing. Healed by His love. Seeing ourselves how He sees us. Being so full of His love that we can't help but pass it out to others. This is how to build each other up in Christ.
1. Loved so dearly (John 3:16; Rev. 1:4-6)
2. Forgiven of all my sins and washed in the blood (Eph. 1:7, Heb. 9:14)
3. A new creation (2 Cor. 5:17)
4. The temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19)
5. Rescued from the power of darkness and brought into God's kingdom (Col 1:13)
6. Redeemed from the curse of the law (1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Gal. 3:13
7. Blessed (Gal. 3:9)
8. A saint (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2, Phil. 1:1)
9. Holy and without blame before Him (Eph 1:4)
10. Elect (Col 3:12, Rom. 8:33)
11. Established to the end (1 Cor 1:8)
12. Brought near to God through the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13)
13. Victorious (Rev. 21:7)
14. Set free (John 8:31-3)
15. Dead to sin and alive to God (Rom.6:2, 11; 1 Pet. 2:24)
16. More than a conqueror (Rom. 8:37)
17. Fellow heirs with Christ (Roman 8:17)
18. Sealed with Holy Spirit of promise (Eph 1:13)
19. In Christ who is our righteousness, holiness and redemption (1Cor 1:30)
20. Accepted in the Beloved (Eph 1:6)
21. Complete in Him (Col 2:10)
22. Crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20)
23. Alive with Christ (Eph. 2:5)
24. Free from condemnation (Rom 8:11)
25. Reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:18)
26. Qualified to share in His inheritance (Col. 1:12)
27. A fellow citizen with God's people and member of God's household (Eph. 2:19)
28. Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)
29. Born of God and the evil one does not harm me (1 John 5:18)
30. Blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3)
31. His disciple because I have love for others (John 13:34.35)
32. The light of the world (Matt 5:14)
33. The salt of the earth (Matt 5:13)
34. The righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21, 1 Pet. 2:24)
35. A partaker of His divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4)
36. Called of God (2 Tim. 1:9)
37. The first fruits among His creation (James 1:18)
38. Chosen (1 Thess. 1:4; Eph 1:4; 1 Pet. 2:9)
39. An ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20)
40. God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10)
41. Being changed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 1:6)
42. Raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places (Col 2:12; Eph. 2:6)
43. Beloved of God ( Col. 3: 12; Rom. 1:7;1 Thess. 1:4)
44. One in Christ (John 17:21-3)
45. A daughter of God, His Spirit in me confirms that (Rom 8:15-16)
46. Obtained an inheritance (Eph. 1:11)
47. Access by one Spirit to the Father (Heb. 4:18; Eph. 2:18)
48. Overcome the world (1 John 5:4)
49. Everlasting life and will not be condemned (John 5:24; John 6:47)
50. Received power, the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8)
51. The greater One in me; thus, greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)