How to let the Lord love you? – Faith

A few years ago I started a series of blog posts called “How to let the Lord love you.” However, soon after starting this series I took a break from blogging, so I never actually completed the series. Now that I have started blogging again, three people that I know are on a journey of learning to let the Lord love them, so I thought it would be a good time to add some thoughts to the topic.

In the previous post I dealt with learning how to ask the Lord to love us in the ways that we desire to enjoy His love. In this post I would like to discuss the importance of “faith” when it comes to letting the Lord’s love in.

The first thing we need to understand about the Lord’s love is that it is a reality whether we experience it or not. God is love (1 John 4:8). So His love towards us is not based on how He feels today. It is who He is. Thus, for His love towards us to end, He would have to end, and as I’m sure we all know, that is not possible.

What does change however is the degree to which we experience His love. And that is determined by our faith.

Faith is required to enter into or receive anything from God.

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:7-8)

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Jesus also portrayed this aspect of relating to God during his earthly ministry. His miracles were generally a response to the faith of the people who came to him to be healed. He would often comment on their level of faith or ask them why they lacked faith. Much of his teaching towards the disciples was also based on encouraging them to have faith. Jesus taught us clearly that the degree to which we believe is the degree to which we will receive… (#cliche, but true)

According to Paul we have been blessed in Christ with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Eph 1:3). That includes grace, and mercy, and strength, and courage, and endurance, and kindness, and longsuffering, and boldness, and peace, and righteousness, and holiness, and the list is endless. Everything that is true of God is available to us in Christ. We have been given all these wonderful spiritual realities in Christ when we received Him. And for that reason we can enter into and experience them in increasing measures as we allow the Lord to grow in us…. as we allow him to permeate our being with the character and nature of God. We can be transformed by all these realities as we open to the Lord and appropriate them by faith.

And of course, this is also true for LOVE. I would say, that love is the foundation of all these realities. Love is the greatest of all the gifts (1 Cor 13). Without love, the other gifts don’t really make sense and don’t really function effectively. Love is the pinnacle of God’s person. But just like all the other aspects that are in Him, we need faith to enter into, experience, and enjoy it. But how do we do that?

“Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17).

Faith is enabled in us when we HEAR the truth. But not just by our physical ears, but in our spirits. That is why the scripture says we need to hear through the word of Christ. We hear the truth in our hearts when the Lord Jesus himself speaks to our inner person. It is only through His words that faith comes….

This inward speaking can come as a result of many different things. Sometimes it is through reading the bible, or hearing a testimony, or reading a book, or meditating on the truth, and so forth. But generally it comes as a result of engaging intentionally with the truth. Opening our hearts to receive the truth and allowing ourselves to take an inward posture of letting the Lord speak to us. If our hearts are truly open to the truth and we even seek the Lord’s inward speaking, then He will speak to us in such a way that produces faith and enables us to believe.

If you are ready to allow the Lord to fill you with faith to believe into and experience His love, then I would recommend that you posture your heart to receive that and ask the Lord to lead you to the truths that He wants you to receive. These may come from books about His love, reading the scriptures that talk about His love, spending time with brothers and sisters that will love you and minister His love to you, listening to and meditating on music that speaks about His love, and so on. There are so many ways in which you can grow in His love. Just let him take you on a journey of receiving and enjoying His love. He is the master at wooing our hearts. If you let Him, He will truly sweep you off your feet. 🙂

If you have heard the inward speaking from the Lord Jesus and gained faith to believe into and experience God’s love, please share about it in the comment section below.

This blog post is the 4th in a series. Click on the links below to see the rest:

  1. Step 1 – Let the Lord love you.
  2. How to let the Lord love you?
  3. How to let the Lord love you? – Just Ask!

#5.3 – The Wisdom of Suffering [James 1:1-18]: Faith

So what is Faith exactly? This is probably one of the most age-old questions that people have asked and tried to answer. People have had some very interesting ways of looking at and understanding Faith. Some which still influence the way we meet and worship today. So why am I focusing on Faith, when there is actually only one line in this initial passage in James referring to it? Maybe its because I believe that a significant part of understading suffering and the endurance designed to be developed within us, is in fact intrinsically linked to our understanding of Faith.

A man and I were chatting once about religion. He said that he doesn’t know if he believes in God, but that he has “faith.” To which I asked, “what in?” Faith on its own is worth nothing. One has to believe in something. You might not always be able to articulate what that something is, but its always connected to something. Just like Muscle is always connected to Bone. Muscle is really just floppy meat until it is connected with ligaments and tendons to bone. It is the bone that gives it a base. A foundation of operation. Without bones, muscles can’t work. Our skeletal structure gives us just that, structure. A frame to which everything can be joined and from which everything can function. Without it, our faith, just like our muscles, is useless!

And as followers of Christ, our lives are built upon him. He is the framework for our spiritual existence. Without him, our Faith cannot function. Without him, our Faith is just floppy meat. Our Faith should be built upon having unquestioning confidence and trust in someone. And that someone, is Christ. And I think that trials and temptations are designed to reveal to us who or what exactly we have connected our muscles to. Is it to the strong and sure structure of Christ, found in scripture and based on truth, or is it to the weak and brittle ideas of the world based on the traditions of men?

Let us be sure to understand that trial and suffering is designed to put stress on our spiritual muscles. Designed to prove the functionality of our faith and reveal the true make-up of our spiritual frames. We get to see things for what they really are. What a great gift! For without it, all we will ever be is floppy and flimsy flippin meat!

Father, thank you for your son, Jesus Christ, who is the very foundation of truth. The solid structure upon which all of life is built. I pray God, that we will appreciate the trails and sufferings that helps us see what exactly we have built our lives upon. To what exactly we have connected our faith to. May we see it as a gracious gift. One designed to show us the truth so that we may have real, solid, eternal life in Christ. 

#5.2 – The Wisdom of Suffering [James 1:1-18]: Faith

So, we have answered the question of how endurance is actually developed within us? We saw that it happens when our spiritual strength is put to the test. When our faith is pushed to its limits. That is when our endurance stretches and tears and has a chance to grow by the infilling life of the Lord Jesus Christ. But it doesn’t end there. And so, my next question then is, What exactly is Faith? Yes, it can be understood practically as one’s spiritual strength. But how exactly does it work?

To continue with our illustration of the body I found this cool definition for muscle. See how interestingly it relates to Faith: “Muscle cells contain contractile filaments that move past each other and change the size of the cell. Their function is to produce force and cause motion. Muscles can cause either locomotion of the organism itself or movement of internal organs. Cardiac and smooth muscle contraction occurs without conscious thought and is necessary for survival.”

Isn’t that cool? Likened to muscle, we could say that the function of Faith is to produce force and cause motion for our spiritual bodies. Wow, I can understand that. Every action in the spiritual realm is produced by Faith. That is our strength. Confident belief in the truth, value, and trustworthiness of God. And it is by exercising our spiritual muscles that we are able to move, hold, touch, grab, run, jump, and even punch in the spiritual realm. An interesting thought.

And just like our muscles, our Faith is a part of our spiritual frame and enables us to engage and move around in the spiritual realm. And just like an athlete must exercise and strengthen their muscles to run the race with endurance, so also do we exercise our Faith to run the race set out for us. And the Lord, who is a well experienced coach, gives us difficult exercises and trials to prepare us. So that we, in the words of James “can be fully developed and lacking in nothing.”

Lord, I pray that we will see suffering and trial as mere exercises that you have given to prepare us for the race that you have set out for us. May we approach them with courage and allow them to develop our spiritual muscles so that we may be fit and able to run with skill and endurance. Amen.

#5 – The Wisdom of Suffering [James 1:1-18]: Faith

So, we have determined that the reason we face trial and difficulty is so that the Lord can develop endurance within us. That aspect of His nature that resembles his everlasting and eternal quality. Through suffering we become more like Him and can bear His image more fully on the Earth. A true reason to rejoice!

So my question for us today is: how is this done? How exactly is endurance bolted into us? Yes, it is done through the use of trial, but how exactly does that establish endurance within us? What changes?

James explains that endurance forms when our faith is tested. When it is proved and refined. When it is pushed to its limit. When it is bent and bruised and beaten. That is when endurance grows.

A good example is the human body. Back in the day when I used to gym (I know, you wouldn’t say it, would you…), I would try to build muscle by doing as many different weight exercises as I could. After a month or two, I picked up some muscle, but it never grew any bigger. I asked the gym instructor what I was doing wrong and he explained to me that even though my strength was at a certain level, I needed to start pushing my limit and begin lifting weights that were almost too heavy for me, and at the same time drink and eat a lot of protein. He explained that as the muscles tore the protein would go and fill the open spaces and that would subsequently grow my muscles. And faith is much the same.

For endurance (muscles) to grow, faith (strength) needs to be pushed to its limits. And as it tears, and we eat and drink of the Lord, those gaps begin to fill up with the protein of His life, and our endurance grows bigger and stronger. Yes, it is difficult, and for a time, while the protein is setting into the open tears, we must walk around with paining muscles, but at the end of the day the result is a stronger and more sturdy spiritual frame that is full of faith and resembles Christ. And that is another true reason to rejoice!

Lord, I ask that we will see trial and suffering from your perspective. That we would see it as you, the heavenly gym instructor increasing the weights that we exercise our muscles with. So that our spiritual bodies will not be so weak and frail, but instead be strong, fit and full of faith like Jesus Christ. Teach us your ways. Amen