Yesterday’s devotional on generous forgiveness is making deep paths into my heart. It’s breaking down dams which have prevented the experience of the free flow of God’s remarkable love. I greatly desire to experience the kind of love that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 Don’t you? If I’m honest about it, what I really want is to RECEIVE this kind of love, but I’m not super enthusiastic about learning to GIVE it. However, a rather startling questions is going through my mind:
Can I ever truly experience the love described in 1 Corinthians 13 if—I’m not ALSO willing to give it?
I cannot! Why not? Well, because GOD is love and without Him as my center it’s impossible for me to experience the flow of His supernatural love. Furthermore, in His presence—we cannot keep His love to ourselves. Wonderful, beautiful, humility—places Him on the throne of our life and allows us to enter into His great love!
My friend, there is no doubt—to have God’s enduring love we must draw from a source that is greater than self.
There is no way we are capable of “bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things and enduring all things” for ourselves—much less for anyone else! Why would we ever expect this from others? We are born needy. As infants, we need someone to constantly serve us (which is love) lest we die. Even as we become more independent, we really aren’t. We need companionship. We need generosity. We need compassion. Whether we admit it or not—even our most basic survival depends upon a huge team of people. Pumping gas for our car, flipping the switch to turn on our lights, shopping for groceries, withdrawing money from the bank, going to work—none of these things happen without a whole army of people making it possible. On a universal scale, nothing at all happens without God sustaining our environment; indeed, the earth’s surface temperature, tilt, rotation, atmosphere, and ocean—are all in the hands of the Master and sustainer of universal operations.
It is by God’s generous power and His great love that we are enabled to do anything…especially…to love.
But to fully experience the completely selfless love of God we must live in His presence. We must desire to live in His righteousness. We must forgive like He does; we must give without expectation; we must have compassion like He does; we must humble ourselves like Jesus did; we must be selfless and—we must do it over and over again. We are incapable of this kind of enduring love unless God’s presence is supplying it to us. He never runs out. The vital connection between generous forgiveness and enduring love is this: When we understand the trillions of dollars’ worth of forgiveness God has given us, it HUMBLES our heart and we enter into the experience of God’s love!
God is near the humble heart!
The Bible says God “resists” the proud and “gives grace” to the humble. (James 4:6) The essence of the 10 commandments is that we love God first and love others like we love ourselves (not—to love ourselves more—we are born already loving ourselves.) This requires humility. God knows we struggle with humility—and because He desires to have us live in His love—we are COMMANDED to live humble like Jesus did:
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:3-8 NKJV
Humility makes us acutely aware of His generous forgiveness and His generous forgiveness humbles us. Humility and forgiveness allow us to experience an extraordinary sense of His presence; and thus, His love. We become more like Jesus. Remarkable. Really. The more intensely I’m seeking God the clearer He’s showing me just how much I need to change. I’ve started a list:
- Become more selfless—more motivated by the needs of others.
- Don’t retaliate—ever—let God fight my battles.
- Don’t be easily offended.
- Give of time, resources, and compassion with no fear of running out.
- Think good instead of evil about people’s motives.
- Don’t desire the spotlight or credit—give it all to God and others.
- Don’t become weary in well-doing; rather let God energize my soul.
- Grow less concerned about storing stuff for myself.
- Learn to see giving as an opportunity to use God’s resources for His glory.
- Becoming less concerned about my looks and my own prosperity.
- Caring less about things and more about people.
God wont leave me on my own to make these changes. As long as I humble my heart, He will teach me to forgive and love like He does.
Humility allows us to bathe in the loveliness of God’s full-circle of love and forgiveness.
We would love to hear your thoughts about this devotional. Did God speak to you or challenge your daily walk with him? Or is there a topic that you would like Kimberly to cover or expound on? Please share with us in the comments below.
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