“God, I’m Tired.”

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Lately I’ve found myself longing for rest. Longing for things to slow down. Needing relaxation. Needing rejuvenation. With a busy schedule and responsibilities beckoning, I just wanted some time to relax. Getting ready to depart for a Christian young adult conference this past weekend called Passion, I was so excited to get away for a few days and have a refreshing time with the Lord. I enjoyed the drive down and felt a peace with the Lord that I so needed. But as the following day or so progressed, my anticipated relaxation morphed into an apparent fatigue.

My expectancy and excitement for all that I was about to ingest, from great preachers to awesome worship music to community group time, started to turn into downright exhaustion.

I was confused at why I was so tired because the sermons were so powerful, the music was touching my heart and I really felt the Spirit of the Lord in our midst. But I was getting more fatigued by the minute. And I so longed for rest. I just didn’t understand why I was feeling so tired in a place that has always been a place of restoration for me. I loved being there. My desire wasn’t the issue. But the rest and rejuvenation I was hoping for just wasn’t materializing the way I expected.

By the second day of the conference I still found myself exhausted. Then for the first time in a long time I was fluctuating with whether or not I wanted to go to the worship service that was going to take place at 11 pm that night. And anyone who knows me knows this is a rarity for me as I am a music fanatic! But I was just so tired. And it was affecting my joy and my want-to.

I started whispering to the Lord, “God, I’m tired. I don’t think I can go…I just want to go back and rest. Please, can I just leave and rest…” And God convicted my heart in those moments telling me that He didn’t want me to have rest the way I wanted. I didn’t really understand why He wouldn’t want me to have rest except that He wanted me to be obedient and continue on in the conference I had committed to. And that He would take care of me.

Tired and spent and a little discouraged about why I was feeling this way, I walked with a new friend to the arena. Our leaders had told us during community group time to walk back silent as we walked back for the worship night. So as we walked through city streets back to the arena, thousands of us moved in silence. No words. No chatter. Just silence.

And right there, God started working in my heart. There was something about that silence that just renewed my spirit.

Right then and there, God started to teach me what real rest is.

As we continued, I sat down in the arena and we waited for the music to start. Then they began to play. Softly and quietly.

There were no lights like the session before. No drums. No flashing colors. No jumping up and down. Just a sound. Just our voices. Just worship.

In that moment I sensed God moving in my heart reminding me of the power of stillness. Reminding me of the simplicity of His presence. Refreshing me with the calmness of united praise to Him. And I began to experience how He was giving me rest.

And though my body and mind were still tired and exhausted, God met me in that night to show me that real rest comes from a different place. Not the place I wanted to go to rest. But the place He wanted me to go to rest. God is showing me that despite my impoverished soul God can bring forth rest from His Spirit to impart to me. Temporary rest may give me a boost of energy, but real rest eases the soul. Long-term. Only God can manufacture this kind of rest. And it was the rest that I needed.

In looking back on this it seems strange to me that I would have been longing for rest in my soul. I mean I was at a Christian conference for crying out loud, what better place than that to tap into the rest of the Lord, right?!

Or so I thought.

But I see now that I was not resting. I was too busy doing.

I was not letting God’s spirit wash over me. I was not resting in Him. I was too busy taking notes and listening and teaching myself what I needed to apply that I was missing out on the real rest of God to still me. I prioritized the knowledge of God over the experience of God. And that’s why I was feeling so drained and so spent.

Until I got back from this conference and started to think about what God had shown me concerning this, I wasn’t even aware of how much rest my soul was longing for. I had mistaken my longing for soul-rest for a physical kind of rest. But I realized that there had been a steady deterioration occurring in my soul on behalf of my busyness, my school work, and my unmet expectations that had started to whisper lies of discouragement to my soul. Lies that told me I was striving for nothing. That I needed to hide away from it all. That God didn’t want me to have relief. That I wasn’t getting the rest I deserved.

But what I really needed was God’s rest deep down in my soul.

I needed to be reminded that God is God and I am not. To take my focus off of myself and put it onto God. And that there is purpose in what I’m doing because it is preparing me for the next step.

I needed His rest to quiet me. His rest to calm me. His rest to put me at ease. His rest to let me know that everything I’m so worried about will be okay. I needed Him to put my soul at rest.

Psalm 63:1 says, “God, you are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate and without water.” Like the psalmist I find myself totally impoverished and in need of God. For He alone can provide the rest my soul is thirsting for.

Now I see that this kind of real rest can only come from God. And it cannot be manufactured on my own. Rather it requires me coming to Him completely empty and exhausted so that He can then still me with His love and give me that rest that I need.

So strange as it may seem, God’s rest flourishes best in me in the torrent of my exhaustion.

For my emptiness makes room for Him to move in my heart. I am no longer in His way. And He can be my only supply. My only source of life.

Through this experience, God is teaching me that expecting rest and relaxation through accumulating knowledge of God doesn’t always promise the rest of God. I thought that going to this conference would give me rest and energy like it had in the past… but really…it wasn’t until I was utterly spent by the end of it after working so hard to accumulate all the knowledge I could hold that I broke down and became tired and empty…that I finally met with God in a way that satisfied me.

In Philippians 3:7 Paul says, “Everything I counted as gain I count as loss because of Christ.” Paul understood the all-surpassing significance of experiencing closeness and rest with God through Christ. For him, knowing Christ was more important than all the other knowledge he had accumulated in his life…and Paul was a pretty knowledgeable guy. So for him to say that everything he had learned was a loss compared to Christ is a pretty extreme declaration. I can’t get past it. Because of Paul’s confidence that Christ is worth far more than every other thing he had worked for, I am inspired to also see everything I have and hope to have as nothing in comparison to knowing Christ.

For as I get to know Him, I do find rest.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-29 that we will find rest for our souls when we come to Him. So I just want to keep coming to Jesus, letting Him give me the rest that I can’t find on my own. Then I will find that all the things that drain me are actually meant to redirect me towards Jesus.

God is having to reteach me how to rest in Him. God is having to teach me how to just sit quietly with Him.

How to be with Jesus.

How to stop thinking, and just let Him speak.

How to stop singing, and just let Him still me.

This is hard for me sometimes because I feel like I’m not connecting with God if I don’t think or sing or learn and so on…but God is teaching me where real rest comes from.

He’s teaching me how to let Him be God and how I can just lean in to Him.

Now I’m realizing that real rest is not found in the place that I wanted to look for rest. If it were, I would have left for the night, went back to my hotel room and went to sleep. I would have gotten physical rest, but I would not have gotten the rest I was really longing for…rest in my soul. God gave me the rest He knew I needed even when I didn’t know it myself. Because His idea of rest and my idea of rest are completely different. And He will always do what is best for us, even despite us.

If He would have given me the rest I wanted which was to skip the last worship session and go back so I could sleep, I would have missed out on the chance to experience God providing rest for my soul in that acoustic worship session.

I would have missed out on the beauty of 15,000 college students walking in silence before the Lord.

I would have missed out on a chance to be still before Him in total exhaustion, desperate need, and emptiness.

I would have missed out on the chance to bask in silent worship, listening to the voices around me praising my King.

I would have missed out on the chance for God to fill me. For Him to give me the rest that only He can give.

Now I’m learning that God has not been giving me the rest I’ve been wanting because the rest that I want will not help me whatsoever in finding peace. It will rather give me a false sense of serenity. A complacent hideaway. And I will not be taught anything if I rest how I want to rest. I will not grow. I will not learn.

I have to let God teach me how to rest in Him even when I feel exhausted so that I can learn how to practice obedience and faithfulness.

So now I’m asking God to change my “God, I’m tired” prayer to a different kind of prayer:

When I’m exhausted and weary and feel like hiding away for any moment of relief, I’m learning to ask God to help me say, “God, I’m tired… But I don’t want to give up. I don’t want to run away. Please help me to be obedient to what you have called me to. And give me the rest that only You can provide. Help me as I am so weak.

I know that He will be faithful to answer, even when it’s hard for me to feel joyful in that moment. For God cares about the condition of my soul far more than anything else about me. And the same goes for you too. He will fight for you and me to bring us to the point where we have no other source of rest apart from Him. Then we can experience a kind of rest that is unattainable by any other means. For we find it from Him alone.

So I pray that we would be brought to the end of ourselves in total exhaustion, just ever needy of Jesus. I pray that we would be keenly aware of the rest God is waiting to pour into our souls. I pray that we would ask God first for rest before looking for it in and through ourselves. I pray that God would meet us in that moment, filling us up with His fullness. And I pray that we would all come to that place where we are so desperate for God that He becomes our only source of rest, our only source of peace and our only source of hope. May we get to know Christ better and find that in Him is rest everlasting. A rest that satisfies.

“Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him.” Psalm 62:5

Questions for Today:

  • Where does real rest come from?
  • What should I do when I feel exhausted and weak?
  • How can I ask God to help me when I am feeling this way?
  • Why is it significant that God wants to give our souls rest and not just our bodies rest?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?

“I Surrender” by Hillsong Worship

A Tainted Love and The Sandwich of Trust

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The farther I traverse this life with my Savior, I find that He is so complex. So unfathomable. So brilliant. So indescribable. And yet as I get to know Him more and more, I become increasingly aware of how sinful I truly am.

Though I desire to know Jesus and pursue Christlikeness, I struggle with my own propensity to do things that break the heart of God. As Paul discusses in Romans 7:15 & 24, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…who will deliver me from this body of death?” Paul goes on to exclaim, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” in Romans 7:25, that we will be rescued in full from our sinful condition through Jesus Christ.

In this life, we will have trouble, as John 16:33 says, but Jesus reminds us that He has overcome the world. Therefore we can have peace.

There are days when I am confident with this peace that Jesus has overcome the world and that I stand before Him complete.

But there are other days when I’m so keenly aware of my sin.

And I feel so unfaithful. So unworthy. I find myself tempted or lured in by ideas, people, things or knowledge. Any moment of sin renders me shameful in the Lord’s presence. And I am tortured in bringing that before the Lord, both of us made aware of my unfaithfulness. Knowing I promise Him so much… and live up to so little.

I hate that I can’t maintain righteousness. I hate that I can’t remain faithful to Jesus. I want to reciprocate His love with integrity. I want to worship Him in purity of Spirit and truth. But I struggle to demonstrate that every day. Even in my greatest moments, my love and worship of God is tainted at best.

This reminds me of a song…a song that I’ve grown up hearing but never really understood completely. This song, ‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus, is really a very beautiful song but the verse where it says, “How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er” just doesn’t resonate with me. How can we prove Jesus over and over? I feel like I’ve failed him over and over. Not proved Him over and over. And the closer I get to Him the more I’m aware of this dilemma.

As I pore over God’s word wrestling with this idea of proving ourselves to God and loving Him faithfully, I find comfort in the psalms of David. The utterances of David’s heart are raw and transparent, revealing his emotions and confusions that accompany spiritual life. David truly loved God in the ways that are humanly possible, but he messed up just like anybody else does. He even stumbled into an adulterous affair leading to murder. Now that’s pretty wicked, most of us would argue (as if our sins can be measured.) But the Bible calls David “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). I wonder why?

The psalms so clearly reveal David’s desire for God, which surely pleases the Lord and serves as a source of inspiration in our pursuit of the Almighty. But more particularly in Psalm 40, David displays a shift in focus that indicates his turning away from wallowing in his own sin to trusting in God. We can learn a lot from David’s response in this spiritual progression, or the “sandwich of trust,” as I like to call it.

David goes from trust → praise → shame → praise → trust.

Trusting in God, praising God for Who He is, recognizing his own wickedness and asking for God’s help, praising God once again, and choosing to trust in God despite his sinfulness and shame.

This progression in Psalm 40 is as follows: “I waited patiently for the Lord…He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me….Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me…But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in You…As for me, I am poor and needy…You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” (emphasis mine; Psalm 40:1, 3,12, 13, 16, 17).

Trust and praise hem in David’s shame on every side.

David just never stopped praising God. And never stopped trusting Him. Because of David’s response, his shame didn’t stand a chance. Why? Because David admitted his sin, released it to God and then chose to praise Him despite it and trust in Him even in the wake of it.

I think this is why God loved David so much. David was honest about his sinfulness and always sought to acknowledge God in all things. David chose to receive God’s unconditional love for Him and because of that transaction was enabled to love God in a way that surpassed his human capacity to do so.

If we won’t let God hem us in on every side of our shame, we will fail to believe that He loves us when we sin. And problems will arise in our relationship with Christ. We will begin to believe the lie that we have to do x, y and z in order for God to not be mad at us anymore. Or we will think that we break His heart and that this cannot be undone. I have believed the latter many times over.

For me, the problem lies in relying on myself to hold my faith together. Or relying on myself to love God with all of my heart.

But really, it’s the other way around.

1 John 4:10 says, “This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (emphasis mine). I will never be able to love Jesus the way that He deserves to be loved, at least not on this side of eternity. But because of His own purpose and plan, He has chosen to love me, and willfully does so even when I sin against Him. There is not a causal correlation between my performance and God’s love for me. It has never been about you or me deserving His love.

Therefore, it’s not up to me to love God so that my relationship with Christ will flourish. No, no.

It’s up to me to receive God’s love so that my soul will flourish, and then my view of Jesus will be elevated so that I can’t help but fall more in love with Him.

This is the key. And it should free our hearts knowing we are capable of love beyond what we have to offer through the Holy Spirit working within us.

Now I’m learning that God isn’t waiting for me to earn His love or to stop breaking His heart. He’s not mad at me for bringing my sins before Him time and time again. He’s not loathing my repetitious repentance. Nor does He need me to be righteous enough. He simply wants me to rest in the grace He provides for today and for tomorrow. He wants us to come to Him broken and teachable (Psalm 51:10&17). I’m so overwhelmed by the freedom this brings. Let this be a word for your heart today that sinks in and relieves the pressure of feeling like you have to prove yourself to God. God already knows us fully anyways.

Not only does 1 Corinthians 13:12 tell us that we are fully known and fully loved, but reminds us that one day we will get to know Jesus in the same way: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.” To be known for all and still loved is just unthinkable. It’s what we all desire.

It’s taken me a while to believe that if God is pleased with Jesus, He is also pleased with me. That I am hidden in Christ as it says in Colossians 3:3. That we are one with Christ and the Father as is says in John 17:22-23. Therefore, God sees you and I in the same way that he sees Jesus (Matthew 3:17, Corinthians 5:21, Colossians 1:22, Revelation 19:8).

Unknowingly I realize that the picture/diagram with this blog kind of looks like an eye. But maybe it can remind us that the way we look at shame has a direct impact on how we respond to God. If we look at sin and shame as a barrier between us and God that keeps us from His love, we will remain disheartened and in a negative place spiritually. But if we look at sin and shame for what it is, an assailant of God, and feel broken over it… it will lead us to repentance, then will return us to praise and trust in our God.

So despite my tainted love for God, I can experience the greater love of God as I praise and trust Him even in the midst of overwhelming shame. Turning our hearts towards Him in repentance is what He desires as it says in Joel 2:12-13. Then God can move in our hearts and change us into the image of Christ.

Why don’t we posture our hearts towards the Lord and let him love us despite the sin that causes our shame? And may it turn our hearts towards repentance, praise and thanksgiving to our God, learning to trust him every step of the way. For He is more than willing to forgive us. God desires to draw us closer to Himself.

 

“May He incline our hearts towards Him to walk in all His ways.”

-1 Kings 8:60-

 

Questions for Today:

  • When I sin, do I repent and let praise and trust hem in my shame on every side?
  • Why is it important that I receive God’s love for me instead of trying to love God on my own?
  • Why must I elevate my view of Jesus so that my soul will flourish?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?

Elevation Worship, “I Will Look Up”

There’s Gotta Be Something More: Waiting for an “Aha” Moment

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For so many of us, we live in a constant state of looking towards the future. Waiting for what’s next. Waiting for our lives to finally fall into place. Waiting for something more. If I’m not careful, I can find myself thinking these thoughts over and over again.

So often I’ve thought that if I could just get to a certain point in my life that it would all make sense. That my life would finally have meaning. That I would finally fulfill my purpose. There have been times when I’ve been discouraged in the waiting periods of my life to the point where I miss the ministry opportunities right in front of me. Thinking that I can do something better and so I must work really hard to attain the means by which to get there. Or thinking that what I’m doing at a particular moment isn’t really making the difference that I want it to make.

And I find myself wishing for that moment…that opportunity…that season of life.

But that time doesn’t seem to arrive, does it? Even when we make decisions that land us in new, exciting territories that we expect to grant us a sense of purpose…it never satisfies. I know it never puts me at ease. It never puts an end to the longing in my soul for more to accomplish.

And in this place I find that God is waiting for me to realize…that this is the point.

Yes, there will always be something more to do. Yes, there will always be something else to consider. Yes, there will always be unfulfilled wishes of my heart. Because “the heart is utterly sick and who can understand it?”, as it says in Jeremiah 17:9. I can’t trust the something more of my heart.

But God is teaching me to be okay with not having the something more. He wants me to know that He is the someone more.

And through Him, I can learn to be faithful right here and now. Through Him, I can be at ease. Through Him, I can find meaning in my place in life. Through Him, I can do ministry to those around me. Through Him, I always have purpose and I don’t need to wait for what’s next.

The greatest ministry opportunity I’ll ever have will always be: right now. Wherever I’m at. And wherever you’re at, know that you have a calling to do ministry in that place too. God is calling us today.

The psalmist writes in Psalm 95:7b-8, “Today, if you hear His voice: “Do not harden your hearts as at Maribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness.” Again this is repeated in Hebrews 3:15, “Today, if you hear His voice: “Do not harden your hearts.”

It is imperative that we focus on today, instead of wishful thinking of what the future may or may not bring. I know I am guilty of this. But the truth of scripture reminds me that I do not know what tomorrow may bring or if it will come (Proverbs 21:7 & James 4:13-14). But I do have today. So do you. And today is in desperate need of the love of the Savior to reach a lost and dying world.

As we focus on God as our strength for today, we immediately find purpose. The purpose that we’ve been waiting for. A heart change happens that shifts our desires away from ourselves and onto God. And we find purpose by being in relationship with the Savior who created us to long for Him and find satisfaction in the longing. This is best demonstrated through the words of the psalmist in Psalm 84:10. It is one of my favorite psalms and a prayer for the trajectory of my heart. Let us meditate on it together: “Better a day in your courts than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather be at the door of the house of my God than to live in the tents of the wicked.”

I love the passion of the psalmist in this passage. He is so enraptured with God that the sheer thought of being at His door is enough to fill his heart with zealous longing. Just at the door. Even for one day. Even if he doesn’t get to peek inside. Or see God’s face. Just to be at His door is enough for him.

And I am pierced in my heart as I ask myself: Is it enough for me?

I know I can get so distracted by all of the things I have planned, all the things I want to do for God, all the things I hope to accomplish…but what if I stopped to think about God in the way the psalmist does? To stop thinking about what I can do and simply rest in the thought of where I could be.

What if you and I stop and meditate on the thought of just being at the door of God’s house even for one day? To love Jesus with such passion that the cares of this world don’t even enter our minds because we are so enraptured with a longing for just a glimpse of the house of the Lord. May it radically change our perspective.

As I meditate on Jesus and ask for Him to grant me a longing for Him, I find indeed that He is the something more. Really, He is the someone more. And He gives me purpose for today. I’m finding that being faithful where I’m at is more important than all my future goals, even of service to Him. Because He’s more concerned about who I am becoming than where I am going.

Now I can stop waiting for my “aha” moment where life finally makes sense. I don’t need to anticipate it any longer. Because it is not a future moment I must wait for…rather it is an imminent gift I must take possession of. The gift of learning more about Jesus today. The gift of making the most of my opportunities today. The gift of relationship with Jesus today. May we, who are in Christ, never take that relationship for granted. For intimacy with Christ today is much more important than the plans of tomorrow.

And as we become who we were created to be in Christ, our influence magnifies in effectiveness because we have more to offer others.

In 2 Peter 1:5-8, Peter writes, “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Peter is encouraging us to grow in our relationship with the Lord in all of these ways so that we will be effective in our faith and ministry. Our character in Christ is directly proportional to our fruitfulness. We must take possession of the gift of Christ and make every effort to spend time with Him, knowing that we are maturing into who we are made to be and can then reach others the way Jesus did. It matters who we are becoming. Because those around you and I are impacted by what we say and do…so we must receive that influence and decide to make the most of it in any way that God calls us to, no matter how big or small it may seem to us.

This is why we must be faithful now where we’re at in life. We must be diligent now to spend time with Jesus. Today is the day of salvation, as it says in 2 Corinthians 6:2. Today is the day we grow in our faith. Today is the day we make a difference. Today is the day. May it be a reminder that forever compels us to press on with urgency.

And then, we will realize… that Christ in me …Christ in You…that is the “aha” moment! That is when it all makes sense. Colossians 1:27 says it so well!  “To them God chose to make known how great among the gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Christ reigns in us! This generates hope within that can never be quenched. Realize just how significant you are right now, not just to God, but to all those who surround you wherever you’re at in life. Today, you have purpose in Christ. The hope of glory. To make His name known. To magnify His name above all others. And that means above ourselves. And above our plans.

I must decide to embrace these moments right now as the moments that matter. As the moments that have purpose. As the moments that are making a difference. Because if Christ is in us, everything we do right now has purpose! There is someone more that is working in our souls. Generating purpose. Generating satisfaction. Generating passion. Generating a longing for Him. And through Him, it all makes sense.

We can choose to think about all that we could be doing, should be doing, would be doing if we were in another place or had another set of circumstances. But what if our circumstances never change? Will you and I still be faithful today? Will we still trust Him today? Will we let Him be enough today? We must decide today who we live for. It’s a decision that has major implications for our lives. But also has the potential to dissolve so many of the fears, worries and lack of purpose that plague our hearts.

Let the finality of what it means to have Christ in you be enough. Let it amaze you. Let it sink in. Let it prompt you to want to bring Him glory in everything that you do and make the most of today for the benefit of another.

“But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.” – Hebrews 3:13

Questions for Today:

  • What future goals are distracting me from being faithful today?
  • How can I make the most of my place in life right now?
  • Why is Jesus more concerned with who I am becoming rather than where I am going?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?

“My Heart if Yours” by Passion Band ft Kristian Stanfill

The Problem with Shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette

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In my teens, I admit I watched The Bachelor and The Bachelorette religiously. It was normal and popular and attention-grabbing. All my friends watched the show. All the magazines were talking about it. What could it hurt?

I used to be confused when my dad would get mad at me for watching it, asking that I turn off the television. Saying it was filth. Saying it was trash. I never really understood that he was right… until I started to learn about what the Bible says about love and how Jesus himself demonstrated it. The Bible says in John 15:13, “No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.” Now, that is a strong picture of love. One that I doubt we see regularly on television screens. When’s the last time these shows ever depicted someone laying his or her life down? Sacrificing his or her wants? Sacrificing his or her comforts? It seems like these shows do just the opposite.

Rather than teaching people what it means to love someone sacrificially, it primes people to love selfishly, sometimes without even knowing it. It becomes a game of tricking someone into doing whatever it takes to be the most desirable. Doing whatever it takes to steal attention. Doing whatever it takes to win. And it tricks us into playing along with them. We fall for it every time we refuse to turn the channel.

Finally, I realized that I was being duped by the deception these shows feed their audience. The real problem with shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette is that they illustrate a false definition of love. We watch these shows without first preparing our hearts and minds with what real love is. Then we let the show define it for us. We can watch these shows and be tempted to think love is by chance. Love is by fate. Love is fluctuating. Love is seductive. Love is manipulating. Love does what it does to get what it wants. Love is all about how you feel. Love is something you find. Love is something you try out with a bunch of different people. Love is a fairy tale.

But this is not love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 gives us a clear picture of what pure love is. It says…

“Love is patient;

Love is kind.

Love does not envy;

Is not boastful;

Is not conceited;

Does not act improperly;

Is not selfish;

Is not provoked;

Does not keep a record of wrongs;

Finds no joy in unrighteousness,

But rejoices in the truth;

Bears all things,

Believes all things,

Hopes all things,

Endures all things.

Love never ends.”

This passage in 1 Corinthians is counter-cultural. It is totally opposite from anything we see on television, read in magazines or hear at school. That’s probably because 1 Corinthians 13 love isn’t easy. It’s hard to love like this 100% of the time. It’s even hard to love like this 50% of the time! But the Bible demands it. And so does God. Really, it’s more than just a demand. Nobody ever has an epiphany or a life-changing experience from a demand placed on them. But a calling…that changes people. That’s why loving in this way is more of a calling than it is a demand. God calls us to love. This calling is based upon His own love for us, that we might be a lighthouse in a darkened generation as it describes in Philippians 2:15. Loving in this way is the only way to shine that light. It takes commitment. Dedication. Persistence. Intentionality. But it’s worth it. As we love others the way that 1 Corinthians tells us to love, we become transformed as our minds are renewed in Christ’s likeness. We become different. We talk different. We act different. Our love compels us to put others above ourselves because we know that it is our honor to do so. And we discover joy in manifesting this kind of love. A calling to love changes everything.

Jesus demonstrated real love to us by laying down his very life! He sacrificed everything He had. He is love in the flesh. Who are we to not do the same. We complain when we don’t feel loved. We complain when we don’t yet have a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, etc. We complain when nobody shows up for us. But this is because we fail to love first. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” So the only reason we even have the capacity to love is because Jesus gave us that capacity through first showing love to us! If we want others to love us, we must love them first. If we want to have healthy relationships, we must be a person who loves without expecting anything in return. If we want others to be there for us, we must first love others by being there for them. We must go out of our way, sacrifice our comforts, and abandon our desires by being the one who first imparts love to others. Even when we feel like it’s not working. Even when we feel like we get nothing in return. We keep loving. Why? Because Jesus kept loving us even when we didn’t.

As we embrace the very love-nature of Jesus, we embody the love of Christ in everything that we do, so that we can be the “fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,” as it says in 1 Corinthians 2:15. It is up to us to show love to the world. It is up to us to show them Jesus. Then maybe, the world might be so full of His love that we no longer need to fuel love shows like The Bachelor and Bachelorette.

Questions for Today:

  • How can I embrace God’s calling for me to love like 1 Corinthians 13 says?
  • Have certain TV shows and movies been keeping me from clearly seeing God’s definition of love?
  • What can I do to change that?
  • How can I help others to know of God’s love for them?

“Give thanks to the God of heaven! His love is eternal.” –Psalm 136:26-