Random Blog Clay Feet: February 25, 2009
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two Inspirations of Love

I came across the following statements this morning and it really stimulated my thinking. Allow me to share the thoughts that came as a result of these new insights for me.

The law and the gospel are interwoven as warp and woof. Here mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and peace have kissed each other. We want to come to God's standard. He has a law governing human intelligences and it is for our happiness to observe it. We are to love God. Love leading to disobedience is the inspiration of the devil; love leading to obedience is the inspiration of Heaven....

Carry the light of Jesus. Carry it to your neighbors. When we bring Christ into our experience, there will be a loving of one another, there will be an unlocking of the hardest hearts. God can take a worm and thrash a mountain. If we humble ourselves and have His converting power every moment, His righteousness will be our covering. {2SAT 97, 98}

This really surprised me. I have never thought of another love being available to our minds. But now that I think of it the Bible certainly talks a lot about other loves: love of money, love of the world, love of evil.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

So, here is what I am starting to see. Obedience is impossible without being a symptom of love, and love itself is inadequate without its fruits of obedience being allowed to grow. But now I am seeing that part of our confusion may be coming from our lack of awareness of what both love and obedience really is. I have suspected this most of my life, but now it is becoming even more clear.

I am starting to sense that love is very close to, if not the same thing as, worship. I suspect that the words are simply describing two facets of the same thing but from slightly different directions. But at the same time there are authentic diamonds and there are fake diamonds. Both of these will have dazzling properties and will have various facets to examine, but only one will hold up when the hot light of God's presence is unleashed. At that time the fake diamonds will melt down in shame and disgrace while the true diamonds will glow with brilliancy never before imagined possible.

Like worship, love may be something that our hearts simply are going to do because that is just what hearts are designed to do. Maybe it is time to challenge our paradigms about love and our hearts and think more outside our old boxes in this area. For a heart to have reason to love is much like the reason that a fish will swim. It is not something you have to train, it is what it is going to do simply by its design.

The problem comes when the affections of the heart become attached in the wrong directions. Because sin at its core is selfishness, our hearts have been short-circuited by this counterfeit wiring pattern and we are naturally filled with self-love from birth. But self-love and love of everything designed to promote this model of thinking in our world removes us further and further from the source of life. God designed us to be part of the much greater circuit of life where we are to receive to give. This can be clearly seen in nature. Lakes that receive and give freely can thrive and remain healthy. Lakes that refuse to give begin to stagnate and eventually become dead and repulsive.

All true obedience comes from the heart. The heart by design is a loving machine so to speak – that's just what it is going to do if it has any life at all. Attempts at producing obedience in any other way only create fake obedience no matter how externally proper it may appear. Obedience that is forced is nothing but a sham. But it is really much worse than that because it keeps our minds deceived into believing that we are safe to encounter the presence of God.

God is the only power source of life and love in the whole existence of reality. Any belief that leads us to think that we can depend on any other source to get life for ourselves is conceived of deception and will eventually prove fatal to our very existence. But God has not just designed us to get life directly from Him, though that is part of the arrangement. God has ordained that we should function within a whole, complex circuit of life which means that we are to receive life both directly from Him and indirectly through other sources in many ways.

We are to receive life through good food, through breathing healthy air, through clean water, through our eyes by dwelling on beautiful things and enriching our hearts. We are to receive life through our ears by hearing inspiring things such as words of life and especially stirring, heaven-inspired music. We are even to receive life through our sense of touch even though this may be one of the most neglected sources for many of us. All of our physical senses and capabilities are designed by which we can intake life for our souls and synchronize our lives with the life of God.

We are also to learn to receive life through our contacts and connections with others that God has put into our lives. This is a much more hazardous source for us because other people have varying degrees of confusion about their roles in imparting life-giving nourishment to us. With their attempts to share life with us they are likely to also pass along confusion about life and love and false implications about how we are to interact and nurture each other. In so doing we can often become very confused about the nature of love itself and may become afraid of allowing others to pass along life to us.

This is where it is so important to have a deepening relationship directly with God for ourselves. His Spirit can buffer the problematic aspects of the life that we are to receive from others as well as teach us how to better pass along life to others ourselves in ways that more accurately reflect the true heart of our heavenly Father. While God intends for us to become bonded more closely with others in our position within His circuit of life, we must not allow their mistakes and confusion about God to define our own beliefs about the real truth of our Father's heart. We must listen carefully to our Father directly as He communicates more clearly to us through His Word and His Spirit the real nature of true love. We must give Him total access to our hearts and minds so that He can accomplish all the healing and repairs necessary to restore us into healthy, functioning components of His vibrant circuit of life.

But it is critically important that we live in constant expressions of out-giving as well or we will soon become diseased and begin to die. Just as it is extremely unhealthy and even eventually fatal to try to eat and eat without eliminating naturally, it is fatal to think that we can take and take of life-giving blessings from heaven without properly fulfilling our role of giving out life in the great circuit where God has placed us. In fact, our willingness to cooperate with the design for our lives, to receive to give of the life and love that is flowing all through God's circuit of life – that cooperation is itself the obedience necessary for us to thrive and remain as a viable part of the great circuit of life.

The real problem with artificial or forced obedience to God is that it deceives us into thinking that obedience is something we have to produce to satisfy some artificial rules imposed on us by God. This mentality in itself removes us from even being able to understand the reality in which we are supposed to be able to live and thrive. It views obedience only as the external descriptions of how a healthy person will appear when they are properly functioning in the circuit of life. It is more focused on appearances than on the condition of the heart and the spirit. It fails to understand that it is completely impossible to give without first receiving. Likewise it is impossible to receive and remain healthy without passing on all of God's input for healthy life.

Artificial obedience leads people to try to produce fruit without paying attention to the real causes of fruit. It attempts to force fruit to appear on the tree of our life while paying little attention to the things necessary to making the tree itself healthy. Self-righteousness leads people to think that God is primarily interested in performance rather than in blessing us and mentoring us into living within His circuit of life. False ideas about righteousness lead us to work very hard at trying to live a life of supposed obedience while failing to allow our hearts to receive the very nurturing ingredients necessary for it to thrive and be healthy. This is like trying to force prisoners to work ever harder while cutting back their food rations, their rest times and all the other things necessary for healthy bodies. You may for a while get more compliance and output from them through the use of increasing levels of fear and intimidation, but it will someday become evident that forced obedience is a dead-end proposal – quite literally.

Both love and obedience, like all the other religious words that we are familiar with, need to be carefully reexamined and understood in their proper perspective and in the light of the real truth about God. We have such distorted ideas of what these words really mean that it becomes nearly impossible to even talk about truth using words such as this because of the false conceptions inherent in people's thinking about what they mean. I have been discovering that the more I understand the real meaning of words and shed my false ideas associated with them, the easier it becomes to make sense out of life and the Word of God. But this is not just a good intellectual exercise necessary for us to decipher reality, it requires an engagement of the heart in order for our intellect to properly perceive the much deeper meanings of all of the language used to convey to us snapshots of reality as God designed it.

From the above statements it becomes very clear that there are alternative kinds of love that can be inspired. That tells me that just because my sensations of love feel inspired that it is not enough to lead me to believe that they constitute authentic love. There are deceptive forces all around us designed to create a great deal of inspiration in everyone thirsting for love and for life. I think most everyone is quite familiar with the fact that the entertainment industry has honed inspiration to a fine art. But that does not mean that the resulting feelings produced inside of our hearts are going to be the kind of love needed to deepen our proper connections in the circuit of life. Most of these inspirations are designed to embed us more deeply into the counterfeit circuit designed by the enemy of our souls to make us feel temporarily excited or to give us pleasure. This kind of love is the current that flows through and empowers the counterfeit circuit set up to imitate the original circuit enjoyed by the rest of the universe.

Pleasure is the great counterfeit of real satisfaction. Pride is the counterfeit of a self-confidence that comes from being genuinely loved, valued and cherished. Everything in Satan's system of reality is designed to mimic to a great extent the real elements in the circuit designed by God. But the counterfeits generally focus on appearing good on the outside but fail to meet the much deeper needs of the heart. That is because only the One who created our hearts to start with, who designed those deep cravings is the only one that can give us the ingredients needed to make our hearts truly thrive and enjoy peace and bond together in healthy joy bonds.

Forced obedience is one of the most deceptive counterfeits that religion has to offer us. Self-induced obedience is extremely misleading because it uses so much religious terminology, quotes so prolifically from the Bible and uses the name of God so liberally. It leads people to think that God has promised to help them in their efforts to obey His laws but that they have to invest as much effort as possible and God will make up the difference. Their mantra is the often quoted phrase, “God helps those who help themselves.” This sounds so logical, but then every counterfeit appears to be authentic on the surface or it wouldn't be a very effective counterfeit.

All true obedience comes from the heart. But it can only come from a heart that is receiving love and life and is also dispensing it to others as it receives. It is very important to notice that you can never give what you have not received. To attempt to do so will only lead to frustration, discouragement, emptiness and eventually lose of life. This is the destiny of all false obedience because it does not acknowledge our total bankruptcy of the heart. It tries to achieve an external obedience while trying to suppress the deepening hunger pangs of a starving heart devoid of love. This kind of person finds themselves struggling ever harder to satisfy increasing demands for perfection while facing equally increasing emptiness deep in their soul. They don't dare to admit their inner growing feelings of emptiness because it would discredit the claims of authenticity for their beliefs, so they steel themselves against all appeals to reconsider their assumptions and end up hardening their hearts in an attempt to satisfy the requirements of a stern, holy God.

Isn't it interesting that the analogy of a hard heart is so relevant to the situation we find ourselves in when we try to obey instead of living in a circuit of love. Our heart is our love organ. It is designed to receive and to dispense love just as our physical heart's primary function is to circulate life-giving blood throughout our body. When our attention gets fixed on obedience and performance instead of receiving love and life into our heart in order to pass it on, then our heart becomes more and more hardened from misuse and from starvation. We may engage in alternative forms of love such as that described above, but all forms of counterfeit love fail to nourish the heart effectively just as junk food cannot sustain a healthy body for very long.

True obedience is not created by focusing on the external symptoms and behavior as we are so often prone to think. True obedience, like so many other things in the healthy circuit of life, is simply the synchronization of our hearts and lives with the design of the circuit of life as purposed for us by our Creator. Real obedience is simply cooperating with whatever it is God designed for us to do in our role of receiving and giving life with our heart as a functioning component in the great circuit of life. Obedience is letting go of our resistance to the basic principles of reality that define how everything works together properly to enhance life.

Intellectually we need to understand increasingly the basic principles of reality that are sometimes called laws. But that intellectual pursuit can never be allowed to be substituted for the function which our heart was designed to do within us. It is our heart that only can produce real obedience which is simply cooperation with God's design for our life in conjunction with the rest of creation around us. Compliance through any other method will always be along the lines of counterfeit obedience which always leads to dysfunction.

And because the heart is designed to be loved and to share love, then the authentic obedience that naturally emerges from a thriving heart will itself be seen as encouraging and inspiring. The very word itself will begin to lose its false implications and associations as we begin to see that true love is the real current of life that is used to power all of the universe. It is not obedience that should be so much the focus of our attention because real obedience is simply the natural result of a heart that is learning to function as it was originally intended to function within God's circuit of life.