Be Not Afraid Wk 1: Love and Glory
Some of us are afraid TO love, because we have been hurt and find that trusting another person enough to love them is frightening. Yet, Jesus calls us to love. Some of us are afraid to BE LOVED because we have to open our hearts and make ourselves vulnerable enough for people to get to know us if we want to be loved. But we are afraid.
The most commonly repeated phrase in the bible is Fear not, or Have no fear, or Do not be afraid, or Be not afraid! It appears over 100 times in the Old Testament, as well as about 44 times in the New Testament. That phrase is so important in the bible, we decided to create a four week message series about it. This is it, week one, Be not afraid.
Sometimes we allow the mistakes we make in relationships to frighten us from trying again. There is one little mistake that tears quietly at the fabric of relationships, especially marriages. I heard someone once explain it this way. “It’s like the pinprick hole I found in our leather couch: not a big deal at all, hardly noticeable to someone not looking for it, until I turn my back and my puppy finds it. Now my couch hole is gaping like a fresh wound, and I wonder how in the world I’m even going to begin to restore it.”
This pin prick hole in our leather couch, per se, often occurs when we become confused between love and glory. The mistake we so often make in our romantic relationships, friendships, and family relationships is failing to identify the difference between love and glory.
This is what I mean. Sometimes we confuse the idea that we want to be loved with the idea that we want people to fill us. We want our spouse to be all we need them to be, to find us attractive, but not bug us too much, to work hard and provide, or keep the house organized and steady, but be available when we ask for something else, to know just the right words to say, and when to keep their mouth closed and just listen.
We want to walk away from any given conversation, sexual experience, or even mealtime with our spouse and feel full of love and care, and a sense that all is right with the world. We see the cultural pressure for this in the gloriously large prom invitations and the tik tok, and Facebook posts about a spouse’s gift or thoughtfulness that rival a romantic novella.
But fulfillment isn’t our friend’s, neighbor’s, or spouse’s job. Fulfillment is the work of the Holy Spirit through the gift Jesus Christ has given you, the gift of his life. The gift of his LIFE, is the gift of his LOVE for you. That love now flowing through you, which we all crave more and more of, is the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through your veins.
The presents, the words of affection, the grand idea of completing one another’s sentences, and the sweeping romantic gestures we humans share with one another, or desire from one another aren’t really love. Those things are glory. They make us feel GOOD. They make us feel FULL. They ARE good. However, they can not hold the weight of our needs. Only God can hold the weight of your needs.
When we find ourselves looking for something from a friend, a neighbor, a lover, a spouse, particularly if we are looking for some grand gesture, we can ask ourselves: Am I looking for love, or am I looking for glory? Am I seeking to be glorified by another? In other words, do I want to have a relationship? Or do I want to be noticed? Wanting to be noticed is a manifestation of our fear, of our insecurity. We want to be noticed, or glorified, because we feel inadequate. All of us are insecure to some degree. I am.
God sent us the Holy Spirit so that we would be full. No person can do this for us. When we receive grand gestures or even have conversations with our friends, children, neighbors, or spouse that leave us feeling full, we can give glory to God for those times. Thank God he places these people in your lives. Furthermore, he gives you all you need for each day, his life within you. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit, let God breathe more of his Spirit into you, by allowing God to fill you and giving him the glory when he does. Thank him. Our psalm today said: “I will praise your name forever, my king and my God!”
The Holy Spirit is God’s breath within you, the Holy Wind, the Holy Breath. Let him breathe into you, fill you more and more with his breath. When we stop seeking to control everything, stop seeking to be noticed, stop seeking glory, relax and let God in, we let him breathe into us. We let God be God. Then you are filled even more when you recognize that he is filling you, often through others. Give HIM the glory, for HE has loved YOU enough to FILL you.
God is the filler. He sent his Son into this world to die and rise for me. I AM full. The glory belongs to God and to God alone. His goodness, his mercy at the cross, fills me, and that is more than enough to know I am valued, and I matter on this planet. I freely open my heart, my very being to allow the Holy Breath, the Holy Spirit to breathe more and more into me. When you do that, you can share love freely with your family, your spouse, your friends, and leave fullness and glory to God’s work. He does it so well.
We want to be loved, and we want to share love freely, for that is the message of the Gospel. But do some of us want to be glorified? In order to manifest the kind of love that Jesus wants us to, we have to know the difference.
A way that we can show we are not seeking our own glory is by glorifying the Lord and telling others about him. BE NOT AFRAID to love and be loved. To GOD be the Glory.