“Then He said to them, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it.” -Luke 9:23-24
Have you ever seen two people who you could tell were deeply in love with each other? You can tell that all they want to do is be with each other. I have always heard that true love is when someone else’s happiness makes you happy. Shouldn’t this resemble our relationship with Jesus? It should be a little more like “fallin in love” and a little less like “something to believe in.” I am not talking about just praying a little prayer once and feeling like that was sufficient. No, have you recklessly abandoned yourself unto Him? Your dreams, hopes, desires, ambitions, etc. I mean yes he knows our hearts and everything about us before we could even form the thought ourselves. But there is something about the vulnerability of coming before the Father and communicating it all before Him.
I’m going to get really real right now. I feel like we have this preconceived idea of what we think a relationship with God looks like. I know I used to. I took notice of other people’s spiritual lives. I would be in awe of how “spiritual” other people seemed. I wanted mine to be up to par. Really what I was looking for was a genuine, love- filled relationship with Jesus. But why wasn’t I getting the results I wanted? I thought if I talked the talk and walked the walk, so to speak, I could have the same level of spirituality of these people that had me in awe. I was coming up empty time and time again. Praying felt like a chore, reading my bible was boring at times, and I was struggling. Why? To get answers, I would go to meet God and just explain my frustration. I felt the answer. Not exactly a clear straight forward answer, but it was a sense of direction that I needed. You see, you do not have to have this premeditated, forced relationship. It is impossible for it to be love-filled if it’s forced; it is impossible for it to be genuine if it’s so premeditated. You have to go back to that first love feeling. That feeling when you first felt touched by the Holy Spirit. You knew without a shadow of a doubt it was real because you knew you must respond. A response that shouldn’t be taken lightly, no, but a response that should lead onto a path of love and happiness… And I must admit, I mess up allllll the time. I am not perfect in my walk with God. I do not read my bible every day. I do not always pray these in depth and elaborate prayers. But I love my Lord and I know He loves me so much that nothing I could ever do could make Him turn his back on me. I am growing everyday. I am learning how to use the gifts and talents He has placed within me.
If you have never experienced that first love feeling with Jesus, ask Him to reveal himself to you. To reveal His love.
I have probably shared this before, but I had a vision of Jesus a couple of summers ago. He was carrying the cross up the hill of his crucifixion site. He had on the crown of thorns, he was sweating and bleeding, and he was so weary as he carried that cross… I just remember crying and being astounded by such love. I remember saying, “I’ll do it.” I knew in my heart that I meant I would do anything for Him because of what he had to endure for me. I mean if Jesus could die on a cross for sinners, the least we could do is live for Him. And if that is not true love, then what is.