Focus: Seeking God for ‘the heart’ to ‘live’ when you don’t feel like it
1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
There are few things that motivate us like the power of love. When you woke up this morning, you may have been wondering if anyone loves you. You might have wished for a sign of some kind as to whether you should keep going, or end it all. Well, maybe what you’re reading is the sign you were looking for. Someone really does love you and He told me to tell you that today. He knows you’re sick of the fight and that in spite of everything you’ve been told—and all you’ve read—some days, you still have a hard time just being here. He really knows. He knows when you have nothing to do—you feel like there is no point. He knows when you have stuff to do—you feel overwhelmed, like you can’t do it anymore. He knows all about it. Whenever I feel like that, I try to remember the phrase, “It’s always darkest before the dawn”. Meaning that when things look the most hopeless, ‘breakthrough’ is just around the corner. Maybe it would be a good time to just say that out loud—or at least whisper it…“It’s always darkest before the dawn—breakthrough is just around the corner.”
Now, you can listen and/or read!
Just like there is an enemy of your soul—there is a lover of your soul. You may have never thought about Jesus as the ‘lover of your soul’, but He is. Jesus is all about love—and love at its best. He is the One who loves you when you’re good or when you’re bad, when you’re happy or when you’re sad. He loves you. He loves you all of the time. Not just when you’ve done something He needed you to do. His love isn’t like that. He loves you even when you don’t pay any attention to Him. He loves you when you’re having the worst day of your life. That’s what real love is. It’s hard to find real love. So many relationships fizzle out when the going gets tough. But, the love of Jesus is like a fire that never goes out.
Love can be an amazing force. There are some instances of the power of love. Instances where true, amazing love enabled people to do something that would normally not be possible. You’ve probably heard the story about a mother who saved her endangered child by lifting a vehicle off it, or a mother who threw herself between her child and an oncoming car—fully expecting she would die. She sustained critical injuries in the process, but was able to save her child’s life. Recently in Florida some friends had been diving and doing some underwater spear fishing. After fishing, they were back at the boat. One man, who was still in the water, was savagely attacked by a bull shark who bit one of his legs. It was a terrible wound. The man’s friends acted heroically. They jumped in the water and rescued him. They pulled him out before the shark could come back–and saved his life. Do you think you know anyone who would do something like that for you? Your first thought might be—“I’m not sure”. Well, you do know somebody who did something like that for you…and it was all about love.
On the day He died, Jesus was like the mother who put herself between the evil that was about to run over her child. He took the ‘hit’ on your behalf. When He gave up His life—the price was paid for your sinfulness. What actually happened when Jesus died on the cross, is like when the mother lifted the car off her child who was trapped beneath it. The child had no power to get out from under the load. Without his mother lifting the load off him—he would have died. But the mother’s love enabled her to do something unusual and incredible. That is like what Jesus did for us. That is the kind of love that motivated Him to save you. See yourself as the man in the water who was attacked by the shark. The devil is like a shark. He wants to sink his teeth into you and tear you apart. But Jesus is like the friends on the boat. Jesus thought nothing of His own suffering on the day He died for you. Oh, He felt the pain alright. He suffered so much—the Bible says He was ‘unrecognizable’. The most gruesome pictures we have seen depicting the torture He endured, don’t come close to what He must have gone through—but He knew He wanted to save your life more than He wanted to save His own…so He ‘jumped in and did it’.
I need to be reminded of that kind of love sometimes and so do you. Jesus went along with His Father’s plan to save us. He was in complete agreement. He struggled with the idea—it’s not like He didn’t feel everything they did to Him as they were killing Him—He did. And He knew He would, before it happened—but, He did it anyway. I don’t like to think about the pain He went through, but it amazes me that anyone would love me that much. It should amaze you, too. And when we feel like we can’t make it—that there isn’t much to live for—or, we don’t have the heart to keep going—we should remember that Jesus didn’t shrink back from fulfilling all the days of His life. He didn’t take His life—He gave it. His death accomplished something supernatural for you and me. He died, so we could live forever. The best way for us to say ‘thanks’ to Him, is to ‘live’ the life He gave us—and not fall short of completing the days God has appointed for us to live–even if it’s hard and everything seems dark.
It was Jesus’ darkest day on the day He died—but, He loved us–and He knew ‘breakthrough’ was just around the corner for you and me. Love compelled Him to finish well and not give up before the victory was won.
Declaration: I will find new strength by remembering it’s always darkest before the dawn. Breakthrough is just around the corner. I will finish well.
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