“What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.” (Luke 12:29-32, The Message)
My dad had a mystical experience in prayer one evening that had a profound influence on his life. He described it as being “lost in the love of God.” From that time forward, he was keenly aware of God’s love for him and others. Like all people, Dad still had a lot of growing to do in Christ; from then on, he was fully persuaded, “God is love.” (1 John 4:8). He was a fierce lover of my mother, our family, and the church. Each of his pastors told me of his loyal love for Christ and his church. Interestingly, those pastors told me my dad was among their closest friends.
That encounter with God the Father changed my dad’s life. His father died when he was six years old. My grandmother was a loving woman but had to raise her children while running a working farm without the benefit of electricity, fuel oil, or natural gas. On the farm, they were living in the 19th century without the love, strength, and discipline of a father. God’s love transformed my dad from a fighter and survivor into a lover and provider.
It is spiritually dangerous to us when we take God’s love for granted. It is even more deadly to our discipleship when we are no longer amazed by God’s pure, white-hot love for us. Periodically through the years in discipling people, I have asked them to tell me how they first knew God loved them. Those whose hearts are ablaze with love for God delight in recounting His love. They are obsessed with not getting something from God but being loved by God.
It is one of the secrets of prayer. Ask the Lord to teach you how to receive and boldly express the love of Jesus Christ. Don’t focus on what you want from God but be focused on Him, His grace, His love, and a passionate desire to live in His loving presence. Let me encourage you this week; just become obsessed with the fact that our Holy and Awesome God loves you! He really does! It will change your prayer life and relationships and build your confidence in faith.