Proof of Love
“How do you hear God so well?” or some version of that, is a question I often hear people ask me. My usual answer is something like, “Well, God and I have walked together through hell and back, so I learned out of desperation to hear His voice.”
I remember one such time with Jesus. In a type of prayer ministry I have received, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I was taken back to a horrific memory, and was desperately trying to visualize Jesus in that place with me. At first, the man I thought was Jesus, when he approached me, was vile with evil lurking in his eyes.
Quickly, I asked for the true Lord Jesus to come. He did. The precious lover of my soul walked into my hell, and bent down in front of a little, terrified girl, who was me. Holding out His scarred hands where I could see, He said, “Daughter, see my scars. This is always proof of my love for you. Always look for the scars, and that way you’ll always know it’s really me, for my love never takes from you. It always gives. It doesn’t rape you. It protects you. It always sacrifices for you. It doesn’t demand a sacrifice of you.” I remember the love that flowed from His heart to mine. I will never forget that moment.
Love is to be experienced, and that experience of receiving the truth of who He really is began to unravel a web of lies that had held me deeply captive.
So, my intimacy with God, who I now can call my Papa, my Father, developed by Him loving me back to life, by the many times He has spoken what He thinks of me over and over again, by my experiences with Him. He is love. But His love is also jealous.
In worship, recently, the Holy Spirit jolted me. I felt like He said, “My children choose masturbation over the real thing.” Well, honestly, that shocked me, but I have learned to lean into the voice and ask for understanding, rather than dismiss it.
In a marriage, obviously, the most intimate time is sexual intercourse. Many times though, lovers chose an imitation to the real thing like masturbation and/or pornography, because it’s something they can control and manipulate, satisfying the flesh without exposing their heart.
In the intimacy of the marriage bed, flesh to flesh, heart to heart, we can’t hide. Our imperfections are exposed. We are also vulnerable, which should be a beautiful thing; skin to skin.
God awakens us to His love. Jealous for our affection, for our naked heart, He will not settle for an imitation, instead of the real thing.
He is done with His bride running to everyone else for what they should be getting from Him. He is drawing His bride into His intimate love. He’s jealous for us. Nothing can substitute for the real thing.
Sometimes we want a facebook kind of love or relationship, instead of a face to face, heart to heart friendship with God. What I mean by that is we tend to only put our best foot forward. We only show people what we think they want to see. We don’t show who we really are. It’s a psuedo friendship. Could you imagine only relating to your spouse through social media? For many of us, that’s our comfort level with God.
I’ve been really talented at running and hiding, because I thought in the exposing of my heart, I would be disappointed, or expose something ugly in me that I didn’t want to face.
I’ve walked through at lot of hurt, a lot of broken promises. People disappoint all the time. In fact, I almost cringe when someone says I’ll always be there for you, or we are forever family. I know the intentions are good, but honestly, I’ve found that’s usually the point the commitment to friendship is tested and many have walked away from relationship.
I think many do the same thing with God. As long as He is able to be controlled, and we can have Him on our terms, then we are good, but if He asks us to obey Him in the hard time, well, some walk away.
I can hear Jesus asking His disciples, “Will you leave me was well?” after all the crowd left offended and only the twelve were still there.
If your love is infatuation, it’s not really love. 1 Cor. 13 talks about what real love is. Love is patient. Love is kind. It doesn’t envy. It doesn’t boast. It’s not proud or rude. It’s not self seeking. It’s not easily angered and keeps no record of wrong. It always trusts, always hopes, never gives up. It never fails.”
So, intimacy and my ability to hear Him are all tied up together in a loving relationship with Him. Because I have experienced His true love and grace, even in the worst places, it has opened my heart to want to respond to Him, to want to obey Him. It’s not based on performance, but on relationship. I love Him, because He first loved me! I hear His voice, because we are face to face, breath to breath.
Do I still struggle with fear? Yes. Do I still get tripped up with lies? Yes. But I run to Him, not away from Him, because I know that He will respond to me out of perfect love.
In perfect love, there is no fear of punishment. God is love. His love is jealous for us, for our devotion to Him. He is relentless in His loving pursuit of our hearts. And He won’t take a fake, shallow love for the real thing.