Love is effort. Love is intense. But when you make those provisions for the one you love, it is most certainly rewarding.
So, one morning, I had to wake up very early to fulfill an obligation that I committed to for a friend. I hit my alarm clock twice and it turned out to be 5:30 am before I could peel myself out of bed. Let me be honest, I wouldn't have been up, by any means, if it wasn't for the fact that I gave my word. Nonetheless, after I got out and shook the burning sensation in my eyes off, for some reason, I found that God was there too. I mean, God is everywhere all the time, but this particular morning, peace, joy, and His presence was overwhelming. Too overwhelming to ignore. I have mentioned this in the latest blog, but I must reiterate that when you're in God's presence, nothing else matters! There is no confusion. Only joy and awe that he would come (Psalm 16:11) and the only proper response is worship. It was 5:30 in the morning, folks. FIVE THIRTY. But within an hour and a half's time, I became less mindful of how early it was and more mindful of the fact that God was here, in my space, and He would not leave! He didn't just pass through, but He had some things to show me. He wanted to be with me; and by responding to Him with my worship, He opened up my eyes and understanding in ways that I've needed for a long time now.
The question later occurred to me.. If I got up that early again, would God be there to meet me? Keep in mind that prior to this morning, having yet found a job, I was waking up anywhere between 10:30 am and noon. Waking up at 5:30am was supposed to be only a circumstantial thing! Yet, here I was, presented with a reason to wake up much earlier: To meet God and perhaps spend more of that quality time-- Perhaps, to give Him the first fruits of my day, rather than the last hour. The question was: was I ready to commit to that type of love? That type of love that says "I hate getting up before the sun, but if it means I'll see you, then I'll do it".
That night I decided that I wanted to commit to it.
I set my alarms (because I never wake up for the first alarm in any case)
I had it set in my mind that I had somewhere to be in the morning and that it was too important to miss -- just like the commitment I had with the friend.
If I can get up for a person, I can definitely get up for Jesus!
Let me tell you: My alarms went off. They were faithful. However, I was not.
I distinctly remember thinking "mm God ain't gon be there" and immediately going back to sleep. And I didn't just sleep! I slept until 2:30 pm that day. Its no surprise that the sleep felt good, because satisfying the flesh always does.
AND THAT'S HOW IT'S DONE PEOPLE!
I brushed God under the rug to make room for my own comfort. My pillow, Queen size 22'' rise air mattress and covers never felt so good until I was confronted with the idea of sacrifice.
I'm out here trying to understand how to love and commit to people on an exceptional level, but it was in this moment that I realized, I don't even love God exceptionally well. I mean, I love Him. But, I fall short. I FALL SHORT. I FALL SO SHORT of the faithfulness that He extends. He has no flesh to keep Him bound and even when He was wrapped in flesh, He maintained faithfulness that is and will always be unmatched to creation. I can be faithful in the things that don't matter, or the things that are physical, or the things that have obvious consequences; but my faithfulness wasn't whole.
It was a challenge to go higher.
I took it as a challenge to, not prove to God that I love Him, but to work to love Him better.
That morning, I had convinced myself, with no effort, that God wasn't going to be at my bedside waiting for me to wake up, but the truth is that He was. The truth is God sees when we choose the flesh over Him, and He is always there when you make your sacrifices. In fact, it is through His spirit, only, are you able to make love sacrifices. He's present. He sees when you sacrifice your flesh. He sees when you're unfaithful, but He also sees when you're faithful, even if you don't feel that you've immediately seen the result of your devotion.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1
Yes, this scripture is regarding sin, but in addition to sin, we have to be willing to sacrifice the things that satisfy us. Personally, being single satisfies me; but if God's purpose for my life is to have me love and serve a husband, then that is a reasonable service. For a woman who longs to be married, but God is calling her to a season or life of singleness, it is her reasonable service to submit to His will. I'm reminded of David in Psalm 63 when He says "early will I seek thee". David didn't do this because it was law, He did this because He loved and desired the Lord. He says "my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is." It is our reasonable service, it is worship, to sacrifice the comfortable things for the sake of pleasing God. In this, God is training us to be sacrificial as He was in John 3:16 through the crucifixion of His son. It's all a part of perfecting love that is in you (1 John 4:12). Love God, love people, right?
SO, some things in my life definitely had to CHANGE!
I had to stop going to bed at 1 and 2 am, SO that I could be well rested for my meeting the next morning, just like I would do for a job! I had to make provisions to meet the one who loves me most. I had to act like I loved Him! No, I'm NOT SAYING THAT GOD IS REQUIRING THIS OF YOU. I wouldn't dare put such words in His mouth! But I knew I had some things to do so that I could go higher, get closer, and allow my relationship with God to be driven more deeply. That's what we have to do as professing believers. We have to cut out some habits, limit communication with some people, or change your schedule up, in order to be devoted and faithful to the God you say you love.
Why do we say we love God, and change nothing? Why do we believe we can choose how to love God and His sons and daughters? If we can't sacrifice for Him, how long is it before we lose practice of loving sacrifice for our sisters, brothers, and significant others? We always want something back. We always want receipts for our sacrifices and loyalty. But, when was the last time you were loyal to the one you say you love and put before anything? Living a "God First" lifestyle is no easy feat. To pretend that you've mastered it is to pretend that there is no further need for grace. It's constant dying to the disposition of your flesh; constant sacrifice. Here's the good news though: His grace is sufficient to keep you while you work on this weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). His Holy Spirit is consistent to remind you of what pleases the Lord. As His love is perfected in us, we better reflect the heart of God.
I want to be clear in that this blog isn't about waking up early to be with the Lord. It is most certainly not about our works that we try to put in place to seem more holy. According to Isaiah 64:6, no matter what, our deeds are still only as filthy rags. This doesn't mean that our deeds are not worth doing; It means our deeds cannot replace what Jesus has done, in any way! So, what we are left with is the choice to live our lives for God and to develop a relationship with Him. At this point, our behavior is not based on what reputation we can create for ourselves, but is rather a part of learning of Him and being available to Him. Even in the days where I decided to wake up early the next morning, I still had to be available to respond to His presence during the day. In the middle of doing something very important, I would sense His presence and yet still feel like He could wait. He could wait until I'm done with what I was doing or He could wait until 5:30 the next morning. Keeping the regiment of waking up in the morning would then become merely religious because it exposed that I wanted Him when I wanted Him and not when He wanted me. How do we manage to be so selfish, call it love, and never repent?
May God cleanse us of all wickedness with the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May His Holy Spirit lead us to all truths and help us be established in holiness from the inside, out.
May we love Him the way we want to be loved by people.
May we love each other the way He loves us.
Love is effort. Love is intense. But when you make those provisions for the one you love, it is most certainly rewarding. No matter what you've heard, love is not weak. Love is not a cop-out for sin, it is a seed for the discussion that can bring so much life if you use it.
too much love,
Conscious Batiste is the founder of the growing blog ImpeccableLoveStory. Years ago, Conscious realized that she had no idea about, or confidence in, the concept of love. As a professing Christian, she took her concern to the Lord. After many years, much studying, revelation, and experience that would change the course of her life, the Lord encouraged her to use her writing to relay the understanding of love, in that the love of God, freedom from sin, marriage, growth in the Lord and our love for each other are all interconnected. ImpeccableLoveStory is purposed to remind the people of God about His love as we witness and as we live day to day.