On Being Wonder Woman: Part 2
In his book Experiencing the Father’s Embrace, Jack Frost talks about the importance of experiencing, abiding in and giving out the love of the Father. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. I am reading it for my third time and it has life-transforming potential. One day this week I was thinking about some people and situations that I have been praying over for a long while. Broken people and broken situations. It should have been more obvious, but it suddenly occurred to me that many of those broken hearts can be traced back to fatherlessness. Maybe dad wasn’t there or maybe he was, but was unable to express lavish and unconditional love to his children. So many of us have been wounded in the area of love and that is why it is so important that we learn to receive and give the love of Father God.
God has really been convicting me on this point. I don’t always do this well. I often get it way wrong, but God is a good teacher. I am a faith person. I like to stand in faith to see promises performed, mountains moved and walls crumble down. That’s a good thing. But I realized recently that I can often be driven by principles rather than His presence and by “how things should be,” rather than a motive of love. I find myself looking at things that are so wrong. I get angry. I get frustrated. I try to get my faith to move mountains based on the principle that something is wrong that needs to be fixed. I have been guilty of praying out of a place of frustration and discontentment. I talk about what is broken. I try to convince others of what is broken and I am good at pointing out the problem. But as I have heard said many times, true transformation doesn’t happen from the outside in it happens from the inside out. And that inside out kind of change happens when people understand God’s love and heart for them.
God can use us to affect change when we abide in the place of His presence. As we abide in His presence, we receive of His love for us. When that love gets its roots in us, it begins to produce fruit in our lives. We begin to flow and to operate out of His presence. In fact, we begin to over flow. It is out of this overflow that we can begin to love others, to pray with power and to see real transformation take place. The sort of love that others need to receive from us is supernatural. We can’t conjure it up on our own but if we ask God, He will cause it to take root in our lives.
To bring this home and to help it stick, I’ll say this. It’s easiest for me to operate in love with those that live outside of my home. It is one thing to minister love at the altar, at the outreach or within the confines of “ministry.” It is hardest to do this under your own roof. Why? You see everyone’s flaws up close and personal and they see yours. The issues always seem present and they get right under your skin, yet God doesn’t give us any exemptions with this love thing. But He does provide us help. He is the love expert. Jesus loved his executioners as they nailed Him to the cross. God doesn’t ask us to do this on our own. But He does ask us to open our hearts to His love, in order that He can cause His love to grow on the inside of us.
Principles are good and faith is good. But faith and principles with no love behind it leads to legalism. If principles alone could get us anywhere, the Pharisees would be the heroes of the Bible. They knew every principle and every rule. But they lacked the one thing they needed most, which was love and relationship with Jesus.
In his book, Jack Frost references 1 Cor. 13:2, which says “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I have nothing.” Frost writes, “What Paul is essentially saying is that the person who abides in love abides in God. Without love we have nothing because we are not abiding in God.” That is convicting…in a good way. This challenges me to really begin checking my heart and my motives. Why am I doing what I am doing? Why am I saying what I am saying? Is it out of frustration that things are not how they should be? Is it based on principle? Or am I being so moved out of a place of intimacy with the Father and love for people that I feel I need to act and respond? There is a difference.
To conclude, I thought the Christ kind of love was so well illustrated in the movie Wonder Woman. As she stands toe to toe with evil, she is given the opportunity to destroy someone we may deem as unworthy of love. This is the character in the movie that cooperates with the forces of darkness to create the poisons and gases that would bring harm to many people. This character could represent every difficult person in our lives. Every person who ever wronged us or has caused us pain or harm. Evil points out that such a person doesn’t deserve love or protection. Wonder Woman resolutely proclaims, “It’s not about deserve. It’s about what you believe. And I believe in love.”
So today, I challenge you with the same thing God is challenging me with. Let’s make love the overarching principle we abide by. Let’s determine to love before we try to change. And let’s pursue God’s heart before we pursue God’s justice.