Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Risk it for Jesus

"Compassion breaks through social structure. When you stand for me (Jesus) and my heart for someone, you stand inside me. People don't see you they see me. This is why it is so important to leave self effort behind, because when you are within me you have different protection and freedom. You are operating in an uncharted range of effectiveness lifted so far beyond the way this world works. You will access in my Spirit great receptiveness to my presence as you stand with people. Religion might point and say these people will corrupt you, but when you are inside of me and allow my acceptance to be released through you, these people will be relieved by the chance to be consumed in Love. Do not be afraid to be vulnerable, to risk for my Spirit."

I was hearing this and at the same time wrestling with being a woman and being called to reach out to absolutely whomever God asks me to, regardless of any social standing. Now I'm not talking about doing stupid stuff and putting ourselves in dumb situations, obviously...common sense is a great gift from God. But there are safe, real and healthy times when God will ask me to push the envelope. To express compassion even though it seems like I shouldn't be the one doing it. Like someone else should--just to be on the safe side. Well, not everyone will have the impression of the great compassion of God all the time during prayer. What if it's me? Am I going to sit on my hands? Mary Magdalene "shouldn't" have been the one anointing Jesus' feet. Jesus "shouldn't" have been the one speaking to the woman at the well. The Samaritan "shouldn't" have helped the man on the road. The risks we take for Jesus greatly glorify Him. A God of "shouldn'ts". All our shouldn'ts are the points over which God turns on the spigot of the miraculous...the spigot of Love pouring into lives. God honestly doesn't see man or woman when He looks at us. He sees His image. He made us with our identity of course, and He planned us this way for reasons, of course. But if we always hold onto our world's standards for what our identity should look like, we don't get to soar in that place with Jesus where nothing matters but the heart and the moment. We instantly recoil from that place because it seems so vulnerable (not to mention way to easy and simple). In reality, there's so much protection for us there. We have no idea how much. A soft heart is a strong heart, an invincible heart. A heart so infused with God it becomes made up of heavenly stuff. Different cells. Crazy talk? There are people all over the world dying for Jesus, and they're not doing it because they decided to be strong enough to prove a point. They're doing it for Love, not Romeo and Juliet love. That's diminished. No this is LOVE. (Luke 7:36-50) This woman was messed up and she poured expensive, expensive perfume on Jesus and rubbed it in with her hair and mingled it with her tears. She was loved. She knew she was loved. She knew Jesus was loved by the Father. She knew He was Love in love's very essence. She and Jesus had no qualms about loving in front of Pharisees. What if this woman would have unhealthfully attached herself to Jesus? (Because isn't that what we're all so afraid of?) He's God. I'm pretty sure He would have perfectly walked her through it. Why are we embarrassed and afraid for Him? He doesn't need our guidance or help. As we take risks (in a heart of common sense) are we confident in our God? Does He know how to walk with people? If so then He knows how to walk with us, and our pure risks produce beyond measure. There are some things we don't have to always qualify.

I'm challenged to stop saying I will never know God's love...I will never get it. In my own life I see I have sometimes construed a portion of Ephesians to be a really comfy exit strategy. "I'm exempt from understanding and living out God's love because I'll never be able to know it."
The Word says more than that. God says that He can give us power to "grasp" His love, though it's beyond mental nailing down. So if I'm after the heart of God more than making sense out of Him in my head, my ideas about love will shift and I will encounter more relationship with Him.
Everything Jesus did was a revelation of God's love for people, and they got it! He went into their hearts and they were fully able to receive Him. I believe we can prepare to be surprised by the capacity for love and true compassion God will give us. If we don't have, maybe we just forgot to ask, because Jesus is willing! (Yes, it's Scriptural).

Ephesians 3:14
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives it's name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled with all the measure of all the fullness of God."

Even though we can't "ask or imagine", ALL the measure of ALL the fullness of God is ours. And we don't have to worry. Our perfect God can perfectly handle a bunch of Spirit-filled risk takers.

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