By Molly McNamara
I Cor. 14:1 (MSG), “Go after a life of love as if your life depends on it…. because it does.”
So many times I have heard this verse and made its application to the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ – love, that gift to be nurtured in us as Christians. But today as I read this verse, I was compelled by the word ‘life’. The possibility of living as love, as an expression of love in the earth today, before ALL men, seems a lofty and unattainable feat in my current condition. What about you?
I imagine that is exactly what the Lord implies to so live this ‘life of love’ to be accomplished in us. A promise not given us to do and have, but only as we are found in Him. Why would He then require you and I to go after it, as if our ‘life depends on it’?
Perhaps the story of Nehemiah can provide us with some clues. In the 2nd chapter, Nehemiah is going to serve the King of Persia his wine, which was his job. On a particular day, (verse 2) while doing this customary work, the King noticed a change in Nehemiah’s countenance. The bible describes the King as saying, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart”. I am taken with the fact that the King would come to notice a servant’s temperament given the magnanimous duties and responsibilities a King has over his nation. Is this not similar to our Heavenly Father who is just and similarly attuned to the details of our lives? He (our Heavenly Father) is not so much interested in the substance of our customary offering that we might provide Him on a given day, but is more focused on the spirit of a man, the thing that weighs a heart heavy with concern. The next line of scripture in Nehemiah is key, as Nehemiah describes for us his feelings which arose in him as a result of the Kings’ enquiry, verse 2, “Then I became dreadfully afraid.”
How many times have you and I become ‘dreadfully afraid’ as was Nehemiah? Perhaps you, like me have found yourself filled with horror of having been found out for the secret passion or desire that lay deep within my heart. That ‘larger than life’ desire or dream that seems so unfathomable in human terms, so beyond any gifting or ability known to man or attainable through our customary work, let alone human understanding.
In the story of Nehemiah, he went on to share with the King his hope and heart’s desire, to journey to Judah to rebuild the walls. What I would like to point out here is that he shared with the King although he was ‘dreadfully afraid’. The King didn’t tell him to ‘buck up’ or stop being sad, he just listened, asked enquiring questions and ultimately provided Nehemiah with more supplies and provision than he could have ever hoped or imagined. In the New Testament, Jesus demonstrates this same principle. Matt. 17:7, “But Jesus came and touched them and said, Arise, and do not be afraid.” Note here that Jesus came, touched and called out to arise long before He commanded them to stop being afraid.
At times, I’ve believed that I had to come in some particular way, certainly not as one who was sad or afraid, in order to gain the ‘favor’ of our King Jesus. How about you? Aren’t you glad that is not His design.
He is looking for those who will be willing to come and be found in Him, despite all odds and human comprehension, to become His expression of love, one ‘living loved’ and leaning on the King to meet all needs. I’m coming to understand more deeply that the only way to ‘see His Kingdom come and will be done” is when we continue to choose to turn to Him, even in our dreadful sadness or fear. He alone is able to supply and stands ready to take the heavy yoke and overwhelming burden, as we turn our faces toward Him and share with Him our hope, dreams and heart’s desire.