Devotional 8/19

… but they turned to the LORD God of Israel in their distress. When they sought him, he let them become reacquainted with him. 2 Chronicles 15:4

Never be afraid to start over, it’s a chance to rebuild your life the way you’ve always wanted.

Relationships are conditional: dependent on standards upheld by us, individually. People may love us, but not be able to express that love in a way in which we feel loved. For example, people may express their love for you by giving you gifts, but you can’t perceive their love because you understand affection and praise. Or maybe yourself, you give to others what you recognize as love, while others may not receive what you offer as love. (If you want to know more about this, take a look at the book Love Languages, by Gary Chapman)

Love is a universal language, it crosses the boundaries of culture, race and language, although not received/ understood. And in relationships we make the mistake of accepting how others treat us based on the unconditional love we feel for them. Nobody is perfect, therefore relationships will not be perfect but we are treated the way we accept to be treated: the condition is that we accept. For instance, as children we pick on our crushes: throw spitballs at them, pull their hair and things like that… but as adults, if we are possessive, verbally or physically abusive then we may have to reevaluate what we believe love is. We are not objects, who must accept any manner of affection or type of dealings from others: nor should we accept them to accept our ways. 

God loves us with an everlasting and unconditional love, but the way we relate to Him and others is not. Relationships are conditional. In order to have a well functioning and successful relationship with God, we must know that God is our husband, our friend, our older brother, our master: we must think of His standards, not only our own expectations. He is committed to, and totally invested in, us; and expects the same in return. 

We all sin, we all fail God unintentionally or impulsively: we lie, exaggerate, experience anger, doubt, or frustration; fall into temptations, and act selfishly, bitterly, spitefully, etc. But there are many ways in which we fail God, which is different from impulsive or involuntary sin. When we cheat on God, it is idolatry. It is having an affair with another. Examples include, relying on substance use when stressed, instead of going to God in prayer or going to sex for love, instead of resting God’s unconditional love. And although God loves us unconditionally, He does not accept any type of behavior from us.

Any person we are in relationship with should meet our needs, or we would not be able to stay in the relationship otherwise. It is healthy to expect others to earn our love, and I learned this from God. Can’t you see that his goodness is intended to bring you to repentance? (Romans 2:4). Repentance means to return to God, or to turn away from evil: it means to change directions. There is one sin, which we cannot repent from, and remains unforgiven by God: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. But to the glory of God’s name, we can repent or turn away from what God considers to be evil. I always compare my relationship with God as a husband who I belong to. God does not like when we cheat on Him, just like a man or a woman in a romantic relationship does not either. But if we do cheat on God, we can and should hurry up to repent!

Repentance, is expressing sorrow for sin, and changing the behavior of sin, where God can then, give us the structure and principles for the restoration of our souls.

Let’s pray:

Lord God, Most High, King Eternal. I thank you for bringing this topic to mind. I present any of us who have failed you whether consciously or not, and those of us who may have committed adultery against you holy God. We repent from failing to discern that unconditional love does not mean accept how people treat us, and neither would it give us a license to treat others however we wish. We repent from treating you and others, with a nonchalant attitude or careless behavior. Teach us to meet your requirements, and the requirements of others; and teach us to raise our standards as well. I rebuke all delusional and lying spirits from our lives, and the lives of those around us, which may keep us in unhealthy, toxic and in anyway abusive relationships. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

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