I dare you to love.

I have been reading this book by Danny Silk called Keep Your Love On! and God is literally using it as a tool to change my life. My worship pastor introduced the book to me. Here are some of the things that have helped me to improve thus far:

“We were designed to be free. How do we know this? God put two trees in the garden. He gave us a choice. Without choice, we don’t have freedom, and more importantly, we don’t have love, which requires freedom. God chose us, loves us, and wants us to choose Him in return. So He gave us a free choice, even though it necessarily meant risking our rejection and the devastation of a disconnected relationship. The tragedy of the Fall actually proclaims that He does not want to control us. He didn’t control us in the Garden, and He doesn’t control us now” (p. 50).  I just love this quote. It gives me a sharp perspective on how I’ve been “living” my life by always over thinking and over analyzing the things I think God wants me to do. I realize that, instead of being defined by this one thing I do, I need to just be defined in God. This, in essence, gives me the freedom to just be myself. I can explore, have adventures, and pursue many interests without the stress of being defined by just one major attribute. For example, my strongest passion is worship and for the world to be changed through God moving in worship. Even so, I would rather not be defined by just that–by being a singer and being on a worship team. There’s so much else I love to do that it leaves little room for justification. Not that I need to be justified, but that all I desire is for every area of my life to shine the love of God. If I’ve done that, it means more success than a thousand worship sets at church.

To continue on, here is a second quote that I consider revolutionary:

“If you want to cast out all the fear in your relationships, then you need to leave no room for doubt in people’s minds and hearts that you truly love them” (p. 54) Tonight, I decided to reach out to friends from my past who I would rather not let go of. I wanted to take initiative and be a “Powerful Person” (something else Silk writes about in the book). Essentially, I sent Facebook messages, e-mails, and a text message to reach out. God opened up His heart completely for us to respond to, and I am hoping this experiment also goes well. But, a third thing I have been taught so far is that I cannot control people. There is the possibility that my reaching out will not reciprocate in the way I desire, but then I am reminded of Psalm 37:4. It promises that God gives us our heart’s desires if we delight in Him.

Just like God gives us a choice to love Him, these friends I have reached out to also have the same choice. Sure, pain cannot be avoided, but it can be mended.

The most important thing we must do in all relationships is to completely eradicate fear. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18, ESV). If we let fear control our relationships, then we do not let the love of God nurture them. How can a friendship, marriage, or team be authentic with fear at the center of it? It simply cannot be so “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV). Silk comments on this verse when he writes, “When Paul told Timothy that the spirit of love is also the spirit of power and a sound mind, he implied that its opposite, the spirit of fear, is the spirit of powerlessness and a weak, divided mind (p. 53). If you want to have strong relationships, you need to reach past whatever you are afraid of and be daring to love.

God, I trust in you more than a thousand love poems, love songs, and love stories. I love you with all my heart and know that Your will is the best. I also know that all You have for me is love. It is my prayer that everyone who reads this would feel Your love in a real way and be changed for the better. To be with You forever.

In Jesus’ name I pray.

Amen. 

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