How do I even begin to love You, Lord, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength,
and my neighbor as myself with so many things challenging that love every day?
Circumstances can make me question Your faithfulness.
Respecting and loving even the body of Christ is challenging in these days when our
interactions are often limited to posts, tweets, and memes that too often
elevate opinion over truth and mercy.
How can I, how can we, change the atmosphere?
The pull and influence of the world is strong. It requires a deliberate effort on your part to focus your attention on that which introduces My ways into your daily practice. If you coast along mindlessly, you will soon find yourself consumed with fear, uncertainty, comparison, controversy, issues, and problems that will pull you far from Me. Your heart then becomes ensnared in envy, anger, and resentment and you begin to feel justified in lashing out with insults, mocking, and nastiness. None of this is My will for My child. But if you live by your own strength, you reflect only yourself without Me.
The circumstances you see around you and in the world may make you wonder what I am doing, whether I am faithful; faithful to you. My faithfulness is without compromise, and stands rock solid in every circumstance. It does not mean you will not encounter difficulty, hardship, or even suffering, but it does mean that I go before you, I stand with you, and I hold everything that touches you in My hand. Nothing can cross the boundary I set, and I make even the hard things work together for good.
I have given you My Spirit to live within you and to empower you to let Me live through you. Your efforts are not to be focused on behaving well, but on Me. Come close to Me. I am infinite, and there is always more of Me to know. The better you know Me, the closer you stay to Me, the more you will love Me. When you know Me you find it easy to surrender your heart and your ways to Me. You repent of your selfishness, your sin, and your rights in order to let Me have My way. Your heart is changed by My life and presence rather than by your efforts to change.
Love for Me comes from knowing Me. Love for your neighbor becomes more and more your lifestyle as you abide in Me and grow in your love for Me. The natural result of My love poured into your heart is seeing others with My eyes. My Spirit begins to bear fruit in your heart. Fruits like patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control all contribute to loving others. You seek to understand someone’s view rather than attack it. You realize the person you disagree with has walked a different path and encountered different challenges that you know nothing about, but you are ready to listen, to understand, and to respectfully work through it together.
These attitudes will not become your pattern unless you are abiding in Me and letting Me have My way in your heart. Your eyes must stay fixed on Me that My love may grow in your heart and flow outward to everyone you encounter. Your pride and opinions and ego have no place in furthering My kingdom. It grows only by means of My love reaching the world through My children. You are My plan. If you fail to live by My Spirit, I will work through another of My children. But you will lose the privilege and reward of participating in the work of My kingdom, and find yourself floundering in uncertainty, bitterness, anger, and defeat. I created and redeemed you to give you a life full of My goodness and blessing. Abide in Me and find the life and rest your soul craves.
Isaiah 58:6-12; Zechariah 2:8; Romans 8:28; Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 5:13-14, 22-26;
Ephesians 4:29-32; Philippians 2:1-11; Matthew 11:28-30