Posted on August 20, 2020 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
When my wife and I got married, I was sharing my apartment with two other friends. As our wedding day approached, the others began the process of moving out, and after our wedding covenant took place, my wife and I took over the living space together. We started cleaning out drawers and closets and making decisions together about all the things that impacted the life we now shared. I quickly, or I like to think it was quick, learned to listen to what she said and hear her guidance, especially on things I didn’t know, or I was blinded to. This helped the most in seeing people for who they really were, she is much better at that than I am. Our lives were fast becoming ‘one’ because our thinking was being renewed, we thought in terms of ‘us’ or ‘one’ instead of ‘me.’
I wonder what would happen if I treated my wife, the way most of us treat God? Like for instance, what if I chose to let all my friends and their opinions take up room in our living space? Or what about keeping all the drawers and closet space for myself? What if I chose to keep her at arm’s length and only allowed her ‘in my life’ when I needed something? I know she would not stand for that … and I probably would have a different shade of eye color… 🙂
God has invited us to live a relationship with Him that is so pure and vivid that it is referred to as ‘light.’ If we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have oneness – so intimate a fellowship with Him that we can’t be seen as apart from one another… the two have become one. This relationship is so perfect and clear that the only way to enter into it is through the perfectly given blood of Jesus, God’s Son. His sacrifice cleanses us from all thought and desire that leaves God separate from us. (1 John 1:7)
When we stop trying to control our lives by hogging all the drawer and closet space and stop filling up our time with temporary stuff and relationships, and instead just love Jesus by living through His commandments, our life becomes cleansed or renewed because we are living via faith in His perfect Word. We are no longer controlled by our selfish heart. Our hearts are corrupted, we will do whatever we think we can get away with, especially if it leads to our autonomy. We are so good at deceiving ourselves; pretending our motivation is for good reasons when, in reality, we are just trying to manipulate events to get our own way (Jerimiah 17:9). We need help, we need a new heart to love the way we were created to, and this is only possible by choosing to allow God to control our lives by His perfect Word. If love is forced, controlled, or manipulated, it ceases to be love. This is why God gave us free will, so we could freely choose to give control over to Him, the perfect source of life and love. The choice to make space in your life is an expression of what you love most, just like when I cleared out my apartment and made room for my wife. The more I removed, the more I gave over control of the life we share, and the more I rested in what she added to our oneness.
God, in His wisdom, knew surrendering control of our lives would be a struggle for us. I know I needed help in making the right choices when we were married. I couldn’t see past my desire for autonomy to what would unite us as one. God gave some exceptional people to guide me to what was good, loving, and would lead to oneness. To love like Christ requires the death of our desires and willful self. We need His Spirit to live in us through faith… like God has been showing us through His people Israel and the Temple. In His love for us, Jesus asks the Father to give us another Helper, to be with us forever, the Spirit of truth. This is who the unbeliever cannot receive because they neither see Him nor know Him. As believers, we know Him, for He dwells with us and will be in us.” Jesus, motivated by loving kindness and His heart’s desire for oneness, promises, ‘I will never keep you at arm’s length,’ “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. There will be a day when unbelievers will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in Me, and I in you (oneness). Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:15-21 NLT)
To make room for my wife, I guess you could say I love her with all my closets, living space, tv remote, and thoughts. To make room for God, Jesus tells us we must “love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 NLT) You can see that doesn’t leave any room for ‘me,’ but isn’t there something more significant here, something much more than I could manipulate for myself? God has something greater for us beyond the surrender and death of our autonomous self. It may take losing space and control of our lives, but He will pour into us so much love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, humility, hope, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… that our lives will spill over into all who surround us. When we forfeit our plans and dreams and make room for His magnificent renewal and work in our lives, something extraordinary takes over. I know this is true in my own life when I asked my best friend to marry me, she filled my life with love, confidence, and strength. We have faced some of the most tumultuous circumstances together, as one, and are still standing. If I can know this in a human relationship, how much more fantastic is it to ‘walk in the light as God is in the light?’
To choose God, who is absolute perfection, is to forsake everything else. A sacrifice of ourselves is required to make room for Him, so we can walk in the light as He is in the light, and enjoy oneness. Do you really want to know the love of God and share the harmony found in His presence? Then start cleaning out some drawers and closets full of temporary desires and remove the voices of distraction that drown out God’s intimate whisper. The choice is yours; God gave you the power to freely give Him the space in your life… what you love the most will be seen in how much room you make for Him.
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.
Think About This: “Be careful not to blame yourself if someone rejects Christ. If you do, you might be tempted to take credit when someone accepts him.” — Craig Groeschel
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose [g]stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:23-24
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.