“NOW GROW IN LOVE”

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I was reading something on “True Love” from the Lamp devotional, my mind went back to something I learnt when I visited ICGC at the beginning of this year. The man of God (Rev. Eastwood Anaba) made a statement; “If you want to know how much you love God then look at how you love your fellow human beings”. So then the question is, Do we really love God? Judging from how we love and relate to people. Our whole existence should be centered on love — because God is LOVE.

We doubt the strength of God’s grace and mercy. Perhaps we are too quick in taking offense, playing the blame game and we also speak love too late. Maybe if we focus more on showing the love of God, then we can embody the beauty of being in His will. Maybe unbelievers don’t believe that God is so loving because so many of us aren’t. We don’t even love ourselves talk of loving others. The only problem is you have to truly believe that and I don’t think you can until you experience it. I think unconditional love is buried underneath our shame, pain, and fear (vulnerability). Someone hurts you and it becomes so difficult to continue loving them as if they did you no wrong. Forgiving them should be easy, right?

I believe this is where we need His divine direction, right?

God will definitely show us how to love an imperfect person perfectly, right?

I believe we all need the merciful exposing spotlight of the Holy Spirit to illumine our levels of love (God bringing us into the awareness of His Love). We have no higher priorities in life than loving God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, as well as loving our neighbor as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27). We must prioritize the pursuit of those two loves. And if we’re reading the great commandments carefully, the words “all” and “as” should drop us to our knees. They are there to make us desperate for God.

This kind of desperation — utter helplessness — is what drives us to prayer. People who pray are people who know that apart from Christ they can do nothing (John 15:5). They seek to abide in him because they desperately need him. Christians don’t always — in fact, shouldn’t always — feel the emotion of desperation when they pray. Saints who learn to rest most in God’s promises have learned most profoundly how utterly they depend on God for everything. And how faithful He truly is.

None of us prayerfully presses into loving God with our entire beings, or loving our neighbor as ourselves, until we see clearly our profound lack of such love — how much we need to be filled with the Spirit of Christ in order to love like Christ. We will likely keep comparing ourselves against the low-bar of one another, and often feeling like we’re doing relatively okay, until we invite the Spirit of Jesus to examine us. His questions always penetrate deeper. “Do you love others as I have loved you?” “Do unbelievers know you are my disciple by the way you love the Christians I have given you to love?”

Do we really want to know how he views our love levels? He invites us to ask him, and he promises to answer us if we want to know (Luke 11:10). His answer may be devastating. But that will produce the prayerful desperation that brings the growth through Godly grief as stated in (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Whatever It Takes, Lord

I believe Jesus is serious about his commandment, perhaps more than we may think (John 13:34). He did not command us to love one another relatively well. He commanded us to love one another divinely well — to love as he loved.

Honestly, it does not matter that this is impossible for fallen human beings, for we have a God for whom all things are possible (Mark 10:27). And since the Father promises to give his Spirit to those who ask (Luke 11:13), let us ask boldly (Hebrews 4:16) and persistently (Luke 11:5–8)

Prayer

“Whatever it takes, Lord, increase my capacity to love until I love you with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love my neighbor as I love myself”Finally I know must let go and leave behind old things and habits(past), new things I must learn to embrace, and the future (eternity) that I must prepare for. Give me the wisdom to know the difference and strength to forgive — open my arms to receive love and grow more in your love…Amen.

I HAVE AN ADDICTION

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Help, I think I have an addiction. No. Scratch that, Can I be honest? I am an addict. Wait. Not what you’re thinking. No. I don’t do drugs, no, not alcohol, neither is it sex — my addiction is with this small but powerful device called a smartphone.  Just like this blog, my phone is an outlet to vent to the world. In bed, propped up by pillows, eyes on my phone screen and wondering, how did I even end up on this page (yes stalker traits). The comments, the fake love, the tweets, the likes on Instagram even seem to carry some value now. I pick up my phone for one thing, my hand is on default, my fingers automatically end up doing a thousand others.

I am overwhelmed by the pieces of me floating on social media. The phone buzzes, check out the issue, respond cleverly as usual, and then hover for a moment, contemplating my next move. Nothing comes to mind, so I open up a new app — Instagram, perhaps, Facebook or Twitter, or maybe scrolling through old pictures, laughing sadly at the good times gone by. Next thing I know my phone is hot, my hands are sore, my brain dizzy and disappointed, my posture bares a strong resemblance to an overacting third grader playing car race “Elinam” You’ve been outsmarted by your very own phone — again.

Addiction is usually defined as something that begins to control your life and starts interfering with your day-to-day activities, work, and relationships.  Whiles talking about addiction, we may often think of someone who wakes up to a glass of scotch instead of a cup of tea. However, with technology, signs of addiction are now found in the form of staring at a cell phone. Catching up with a friend, then she pulls out her cell phone to post a picture on Instagram or snapchat. The same thing occurs during family meals, devotion time and even in church.(I am a culprit)

We cannot allow anything to have excessive access to our lives without denying access to something else. I am usually up between the hours of 1am – 5am, mostly I pray during these times  — honestly the number of times I end up on my phone even before deciding to pray are countless. My mind says its prayer time my fingers say check that notification out. I don’t want to place anything above the love I have for God. The bible tells us that If we place any person or thing above the love of God, we worship that thing or person. This is called idolatry (as stated in Exodus 20:3-6).

God, please show us the functions(purpose) you’ve placed inside of us and give us the wisdom to not abuse that knowledge. I don’t want to be so overwhelmed with the options that I miss out on fulfilling my purpose. We place more weight on ourselves than God requires of us and then demand in prayer that He helps us balance it. Or worse, we let the response of people become more important than our purpose. We have to reply to the text message immediately or someone’s feelings will be hurt. The office can’t wait for the email. Before you know it you’re checking out a fashion page and you forget to check the email. 

It is pretty common to brush off such incidents as etiquette issues or bad manners. But, the reality may be far more complicated than it appears. The Bible tells us “there is a time for everything” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). The smartphone has become a constant companion (very handy) whiles we leave our bibles at home. We carry it throughout the day and keep it by our bedside at night. We allow ourselves to be interrupted with messages from social media, emails and texts.We must be careful — that we aren’t tapped into so many things that we forget what’s most important. May our purpose never get lost in the shuffle.

PS: I am not saying the smartphone or social media is bad. But personally, at this particular point in time, it is distracting my walk with God.(Focus)

Measures Taken (My Thoughts)

  • Praying to God to help me battle out this addiction through grace.   
  • Last month I started a 90 day plan to stay off certain platforms by deleting the apps (Instagram, snap chat, twitter) Lol I miss Instagram tho.
  • Challenging myself to only pick up my phone when necessary. Constantly reminding myself that though my phone has a lot of functions I am only picking it up at that time, for one purpose. 
  • To share the word of God through these social platforms as well. Even though they can be distracting they can also be helpful through what I share.
  • Implementing time limits and friends who serve as a check when I’m online. Set up a DND feature on my phone (do not disturb) that prevents me from picking calls after a certain time. Turn my phone off if I have to prevent having divided attention.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, I don’t want to place anything above the love I have for you,  help me deal with this addiction, help me to focus more on you and your word. Please help remind me of Your purpose for my life. I see so many opportunities for growth in front of me. I don’t want to do something that is outside of your will concerning my Life, or something that fails at edifying and maximizing the purpose You have for me. I have the faith to stand by Your word, but life brings luring opportunities, and we get spoilt for choices, when we see good down every avenue. Everyone talks about having faith to fight the bad things in our lives. Give me the audacity to turn away from any good opportunity that isn’t ultimately going to better me for You in Jesus Name… Amen.