"Did you learn to love?"

Ever since I heard of Bob Jones’ passing into heaven I have been reminded of a God-encounter that he shared where the LORD asked each person the same pointed question: “Did you learn to love?” This has struck me and has become a marker for my life. How different would our lives be if we consciously answered this question in the midst of every interaction?

I have seen that loving—God, ourselves, and others—is truly the key that opens up how to live in victory, no matter what we encounter in life. I have learned that it is possible to prosper in the valley. I am learning what it means to be seated with Christ in heavenly places[1], while walking through life’s difficulties. No matter what challenging circumstances we face, love gives us the resources we need to overcome. Love is the currency of the Kingdom. It’s life. It is the literal nature of God, and when we spend time with Him, the substance of Him (love) transforms us. It allows us see our circumstances the way that He sees them.

Love releases God’s perspective to us, and empowers us to walk in it. And when we live from this reference point, the enemy has lost his power in our lives. This is why there is such an attack on love. The enemy’s plan is to tempt us to focus on our difficult circumstances instead of God’s eternal plan of good for us. He wants us to doubt God’s love. He accuses God of not loving us and desperately hopes that we will agree with him, and begin to accuse God too. Doubt and accusation do not change God’s love for us, but they sadly hinder our ability to receive it.

Knowing God’s plan, and being aware of the enemy’s lies, will allow us to stay on-track whenever we encounter problems. My husband and I are practicing this as we are walking through his diagnosis of throat cancer. He is currently undergoing radiation and chemo treatments, which are excruciatingly painful. The enemy wants us to focus on our current life circumstances and get discouraged, but God has told us a different story. And we are choosing to believe Him! We are choosing to receive His love and learn how to better love in this process. We are focusing on the truth: God is sovereign and we are not at the mercy of our circumstances. Mercy actually follows us.[2]

So LORD, teach us to receive, and understand the gift, and power, of Your love. Teach us how to live in such a way that our love makes other people’s lives better, and allows us to soar over the valleys. Teach us how to live intentionally and with Your Heart so that we will all be able to answer the question, “did you learn to love?” with a resounding, “Yes, LORD!”

[1] Eph. 2:6

[2] Psalm 23:6