February has so many varying perceptions. I hear some people say that it is just a month used as a marketing tool to sell Valentines. Others appreciate the time set aside to honor their relationships and make a point to emphasize the love they have for the people in their lives. Others sit in hopeful anticipation that they will have someone in their lives so they can participate in all the things Valentines. Some couples have been together so long that it is really just another day; they may celebrate with a special dinner or may just let the day pass like any other day.
How do you engage in the month set aside to celebrate love? I reflect a lot on the love of God all throughout the year, but even so, every time I see the cards and gifts in the stores around this time of year, I am reminded all over again of the lengths that God went through to express His great love for me and all of His creation (that would be you, too!).
God, our Father in heaven and our Creator, expressed His love for us by sending His son Jesus to earth as a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus expressed His love for us by sacrificing His life. John 3:16 (NKJV) says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Did you know that the “perishing” and “everlasting life” happens before dying? The difference is that before the physical death, we can choose to change our course from spiritual death to spiritual life when we leave this world. John 3:16, as with all scripture, is living and active and does not just come into effect when we take our last human breath.
Anyone who has been through deliverance for addiction can tell you once they surrendered that bondage to Jesus, the destruction (perishing) stopped immediately. Anyone who struggled with fear and anxiety and surrendered that bondage to Jesus, the crippling (perishing) stopped immediately. I could keep naming exchanges where people made the choice to stop the influence of the enemy which leads to the death of our mind, body, and/or emotions here in this world and exchange it for the life-giving gifts that Jesus sacrificed His life for us to receive. Once the perishing/destruction/influence stops, healing, restoration, and new life can begin.
Do you feel more like you are perishing in all or some areas of your life? Or do you feel like His life and light is permeating throughout every area of your life? Do you take an inventory periodically?
When I was at my darkest moment, I was perishing. I felt like everything was slipping away from me. I knew the Lord from an early age, but in this season, I had forgotten His truth and and His ways. I was living my way, and I was perishing. I felt it all throughout every aspect of my life so much so that I didn’t want to live any more. What happened? At a foundational level, I had unknowingly come into agreement with the enemy (demons) about my life. I didn’t know this at the time, but looking back, it is obvious.
The Lord, in his never ending love and kindness, sent His truth in varying forms to pull me out of the dark places and break me away from the lies that I had believed. He conquered my fears with His love. I exchanged my anxiety for His peace. He began to show me how He saw me and gave me a vision for my future which took away all the suicidal thoughts. And He did so much more. He showed me what He could do in my life, but each step of the way, I had to make a choice to accept or reject His way.
This is love. I have tears welling up as I type. Because of Jesus, we can make these exchanges. Because of Jesus, we can be delivered from the works of the enemy in our life. Because of Jesus and His grace, we can walk in freedom and have everlasting life here on this earth and do not have to go in and out of bondage unless we choose to submit again to the enemy. This is love.
This is love: God gives us a choice. He does not force us to accept His ways. He gave us His ways through scripture and then allowed us to choose or reject Him. This is love. Love does not force. Love does not control. Love pursues and perseveres, but it is not overbearing.
God does not force us into freedom, but He does lead us to freedom if we are looking for freedom. Many come into this world from birth in bondage from the choices of their ancestors (Exodus 20:5; 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9). God is a God of justice. There is a price to be paid for sin just like there is a price to be paid when we break a law here in this world. The price we pay for sin is a spiritual price that can manifest in our earthly lives. However, mercy triumphs over judgement when we apply His truth to our lives (James 2:13; Matthew 5:7; Luke 6:37).
Friend, God loves you so much that He made a way for you to be free. All you have to do is surrender to the Lordship of Jesus and choose to be free. The price has been paid. The battle already won. All we do is accept the victory and walk in freedom.
While writing this post, I had a man call me that I have been working with for the past month. He is in another state, and we went through deliverance over the phone. He had some exchanges in deliverance that he made with Jesus that are life transforming. He noticed the effects immediately. He called to ask how to convince his wife that He has really changed because the world says that you can’t change in those areas or the percentage who actually do change is extremely small. I offered to chat with his wife if she had questions because when we do make an exchange with Jesus and are delivered from the bonds of the enemy, we do have immediate, real, tangible, life-giving change. It can be hard to believe because we don’t hear that in the world and do not see it when we seek worldly ways to heal spiritual issues.
Friend, my prayer for you is that if you feel trapped, broken, beat down, defeated, held back, and/or find yourself thinking that there must be a better way that you come to the revelation knowledge that there actually is a better way. That you can be delivered into a new life with Jesus. Even if you have known Jesus your entire life, but haven’t experienced His freedom, now is the time to exchange your set-backs for His fullness. I pray that you have the courage to seek freedom with Jesus. You will know His love like never before.