“May the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you…”
(From 1 Thes. 3:11, The Message)
“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and everyone else…” (NIV)
“If then you are wise, you will show yourself rather as a reservoir than a canal. A canal spreads abroad water as it receives it, but a reservoir waits until it is filled before overflowing, and thus without loss to itself [it shares] its superabundant water.” Bernard of Clairvaux
I’ve been pondering this truth, these words:
I know in my head that all the love and all the service that I have to offer is in direct proportion to my intimacy with God. I know this. And yet I wrestle with it as well. I’m an introvert (which doesn’t mean I’m withdrawn, but it does mean that I get my energy from time alone and time in small, intimate togetherness). But life is busy and noisy and the pace around me is often dizzying. So why do I resist stepping back, taking time out with God to be quiet, to be still, to listen? Especially as an introvert who is aware that I will burn out without this restoration? If I believe that I am in desperate need of His filling and that I have nothing to offer apart from Him then why do I resist the very thing that restores my soul and equips me for ministry?
Here are just a few of the reasons I believe this is true.
First, it is a scheme of the enemy to keep me moving at his pace rather than at my Father’s pace. Relationships take both time and communication. If all my communion with God is grabbed piecemeal as I rush through my days then the relationship suffers.
Second, I live without awareness of the truth that I know in my head. I am not awake to the spiritual reality beyond the sheen of the surface of life. I go through the motions of my day, my week, my life without discernment. I think I am fine when in reality I am poor and needy.
Third, I do not deeply believe in my heart the truth that I believe in my head. Unbelief is a serious sin that separates me from the life in God that I so desperately need. Without time in intimate communion with God, through prayer, His Word and spiritual community my belief becomes shallow acknowledgement of truth rather than truth deeply lived out in my life.
There are more reasons, but I’ve been pondering these things.
What would it look like for me to stop resisting and live in a completely counter cultural way? Unhurried: like Jesus. [Note that unhurried is not necessarily the same as slow…it is a mode of determination to be at the Father’s pace, like Jesus, not scurrying around under the pressures and influences of the world. Jesus ministry was full and busy, yet He remained unhurried. For all the demands on Jesus during His ministry we never once see Him rushing.] How can I, even in this busy, traveling season make intimate time with the Lord and an unhurried determination to listen for His voice my priorities? Not as a duty filled action because I have a need for these things (which is true), but as a release of the deepest desire of my soul. For in all of my resistance I am fighting the very thing that I most deeply desire – intimate relationship with the One who calls me His beloved.
I want to overflow. I want to splash over life and love and “bountiful fruits from the soul” onto the people around me as I walk in intimacy with Him.
Jesus, teach me how to live.
“So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” Phil. 1:9-11 (The Message)