Posts Tagged ‘love of Christ’

God’s Pleasure

“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph. 5:17-18)

“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.” (Ps. 149:4)

“…That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:17-19)

It is important to realize that your pleasure is God’s pleasure, because you are God’s delight. His goal is your heart… to dwell there and to allow His love to find its deepest root system there! He loves you with an unconditional love and all of His thoughts toward you are good (Jer. 29:11). You can’t live beyond God’s knowledge and you can’t hide from His Presence… He will never leave you and He will always be found waiting for you (Isa. 30:18).

7 Things That Bring Pleasure to God:

1. The Prosperity of His People:

  • (Psalm 35:27) Let those who favor my righteous cause and have pleasure in my uprightness shout for joy and be glad and say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, Who takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servant. (Amplified Version)

2. Ministers Doing His Will:

  • (Psalm 103:21) Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, all you His hosts, you His ministers who do His pleasure. (Amplified Version)

3. Men and Women that Fear Him:

  • (Psalm 147:11) The Lord takes pleasure in those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy and loving-kindness. (Amplified Version)

4. His People Walking by Faith:

  • (Hebrews 11:1-2) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

5. Giving His Kingdom To His Children:

  • (Luke 12:32) Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom! (Amplified Version)

6. Saints Enjoying God’s Fullness:

  • (Ephesians 1:5) For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [ because it pleased Him and was His kind intent (Amplified Version)
  • (Ephesians 1:9) Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will (of His plan, of His purpose). [And it is this:] In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention) which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him, (Amplified Version)

7. Giving People The Desires of Their Heart:

  • (Philippians 2:13) [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (Amplified Version)
  • (2 Thessalonians 1:11) With this in view we constantly pray for you, that our God may deem and count you worthy of [your] calling and [His] every gracious purpose of goodness, and with power may complete in [your] every particular work of faith (faith which is that leaning of the whole human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness). (Amplified Version)

Reasons to Pray

I know prayer is important and in this article I want to begin a short series of thoughts that focus on the reasons to pray. It can seem like the primary motivation for prayer is simply to get answers. Prayer can feel like a grocery list: “Our Father, who art in heaven – Gimme, gimme, gimme!” This is sort of a “shop in heaven” way of praying. But I would propose that just filling the shopping list is not the best reason to pray, and more than that – I have found it to be the least satisfying!

The #1 Reason to Pray - Relationship!

I am first and foremost called to pray, because it is the most valuable practice to build and steward my love relationship with Jesus Christ. It is the practice of my faith. Hear me now -this is important. Christianity is not primarily rules. Its a relationship and relationships need to have activity and practices that keep them alive.

Certainly God has standards, but we don’t become Christians because we receive standards. We become Christians because we receive God’s greatest gift, the forgiveness and salvation that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. God loved us and sent His only Son to take away any and all hindrances to relationship. Jesus died for us and lives in us to reveal the Father’s heart and offer us the privilege of abundant life… relational life.

Learning to Live in Love:

What I need, then, is to build my love relationship with Him. I have to learn to allow Him to embrace me, to care for me, to point out my needs and how He meets them (Phil. 4:19). I need to listen to Him and I desperately need to talk with Him. That is the definition of prayer… listening and talking with God.

The Apostle Paul prays, “that you may be able to comprehend… what is the breadth and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge…” (Eph. 3:1-19)

I need to comprehend and “know” His love in all of its facets. The word “know” in this passage is the same word used for the intimate closeness of a husband and wife in sexual embrace. The Apostle Paul is praying that you and I will experience that kind of love with Christ - not sexual, but intimate, deep, close, without distraction. It is so deep that Paul later says it “passes knowledge”.

One place we can experience this is in prayer. When we get honest before God, we have access to His love in a unique way. The Bible calls this experience “fellowship” and seldom do we ever find ourselves closer to Him than in prayer. When we pray, we can experience His love, be bathed in it, clothed in it and overflowing with it… to let it soak into the dry cracks and crevices of our lives and to learn how to give it back. It goes beyond, just being in God’s Presence, we can experience His Glory and Splendor (the essence of who He is) and find His deep affections for us.

A Supernatural Environment:

I could share personal testimony of the wonderful power of prayer. It serves as the environment where our wounds are healed and our broken-ness is restored. As we learn to receive and give love in genuine relationship with the Holy Spirit, God’s power is revealed. Prayer is one place God can get at us and speak to us like He did Moses, ”face to face” as a man speaks to his friend. Prayer is one of the most effective ways for God to minister to us. Think about that for a moment - God wants to minister to you and I. His hope is to walk with us, father us and instruct us in His ways… revealing His thoughts toward us (Jer. 29:11). You and I can taste and see that the Lord is good. We can come to understand that His love is better than life. And when we are captured by love we will reflect that reality to those we come into contact with. Its an amazing relational reality!

Hidden Root System

“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- to know this love that surpasses knowledge; that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”   (Eph. 3:17-19)

The concept of living in Christ is so much about abiding in His love (Jn. 15:9). Its allowing our hidden root systems to go down deep into the spiritual soil of God’s affection for us. To know and understand the width, length, height and depth of His affection toward us is to be rooted and established in love.

This rooted-ness must be the basis of our courage, the motivation for our character and the strength of our confidence! 

Understanding A Root System:

We often only see the surface parts of trees, because the really effective roots stretch far beneath the earth. Deep underground there are streams of water that bring an endless supply of nourishment and strength to the tree. This hidden root system is the life and stability of the tree, it’s branches and its future growth and production. Amazingly a tree can live for hundreds of years, because their root systems are constantly tapping into sources of “living water”. The constant and abiding nourishment is hidden, yet essential to everything we see above ground.

Healthy & Strong:

I want to be like a tree, planted by streams of living water (Ps. 1). I want to be established in His love, allowing my roots to go down deep into the richness of His love, bringing health and nourishment to my spirit man. I have seen trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. They are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit (Jer. 17:8).

Abiding in His Love:

When we abide in Christ and allow His love to nourish our souls, we will live abundant and thriving lives and bear much fruit. This is what we should become passionate about, living in the overflow of God’s abundance, bearing good fruit and bringing others into the nourishing love of God. This is what my soul thirsts for!

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