You are loved. You are secure.
Do you constantly feel it?
Do not expect anyone or anything tied to the world to make you feel constantly loved and constantly secure. I want to emphasize the word constantly because if I were to define our world, it would be changing. Money could be there one day and gone the next. The person you love could stay one day and walk out the door the next. Your parents could be married one day but divorced the next. Your friend could be loyal one day but betray you the next. You could feel secure one day but insecure the next. The point is, nothing is constant. No wonder growing up in this world causing instability within every person's heart. But most importantly, no wonder I see so many people fail when searching for that one thing or person that is going to constantly fill their heart with love and security despite their circumstances. Then, their heart carries the pain of each disappointment everyday. The next definition I would give the world is the losing game. Your fulfillment is not in this world. It's above it. The constant your looking for was Christ, is Christ, and will forever be Christ.
One of my favorite scriptures is when Jesus states, "Peace I live with you, my perfect peace I now give and leave to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you." (John 14:27)
After I read that scripture, I wonder every time why I looked to the world to fill me with constant love and constant security rather than God. I wonder why I was so hesitant to surrender to God. Now I realize, I had not become familiar with the true spirit of God. I did not know who He was at his core. But, my father sure did. I'll explain after I go over a quick story in The Bible. Stick with me, I promise this relates.
The story of Jonah in the Bible gives no background of Jonah's life before The Lord called unto him nor does it give any indication Jonah even knew The Lord. Jonah 1:1 literally starts with, "Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah…" I believe this is because Jonah did not know The Lord. He was not familiar with the true spirit of God. He knew and was familiar with the world. So of course, the world is what he chose to trust his life with.
Basically, Jonah fled to a ship that was going in the opposite direction of where God called him. Jonah was fast asleep at the bottom of the ship when the storm hit. He was temporarily content with his decision. Temporarily content. I believe the storm and the ship is an example of the people and things in this world. Temporarily, this world may appear better than a relationship with God but just like the people who threw Jonah overboard, so will the world.
Jonah found himself in the belly of a great fish (stick with me). I believe the fish is a representation of how it may seem like you are swallowed up with various struggles when your circumstances come against you. But actually it can be the beginning of coming to know God at his core and living within His love. The author of "There is More" by Brian Houston said it best, "The enemy cannot destroy what God has created, but he can corrupt it." The enemy tried to corrupt Jonah and his circumstances. And he's tried to do the same with my father.
Jonah was in the belly of a great fish for three days and three nights at the bottom of the ocean. Imagine that. I know its dramatic and unrealistic now but would you feel like you could EVER escape that on your own? Jonah describes how he felt in the belly of the fish "…cast out of Your presence and Your sight; yet I will look again toward Your holy temple." Even in the darkest circumstance (literally and figuratively) he chose to look to The Lord. Despite the fact that he believed God had cast him from his sight and presence, he looked above. I believe when Jonah looked above, he felt the presence of The Lord and was astonished.
Jonah states, "I went down to the bottoms and the very roots of the mountains, the earth with its bars closed behind me forever." Jonah is describing how the world had failed him. But he goes on to state, "Yet you have brought up my life from the pit and corruption, O Lord my God." Wait, Jonah's circumstance had not changed at this point. He was still in the belly of the great fish. But he was already declaring how The Lord had brought up his life? I believe when Jonah stated earlier, "…yet I will look again toward Your holy temple." He felt the presence of The Lord fill him. He felt a true spirit of mercy, loving-kindness, and security. After Jonah had turned his back on God and was in the darkest and lowest circumstance, he was so overwhelmed with the presence of God that Jonah was confident he could get through his darkest time. So much so, that he started to declare how his circumstance changed before it even did!
Furthermore he states, "When my soul fainted upon me (crushing me), I earnestly and seriously remembered The Lord; and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple." I believe so many can relate to the feeling of their soul weighing down on them. A place where you have come to the end of yourself. But when Jonah prayed to God, he states how his prayer over his life went into God's holy temple. Meaning, God took the weight of his soul crushing him in exchange for God's true spirit filling him. Jonah's heart was now filled with a peaceful presence that was eternal rather than temporary.
This leads me to the part of my blog post that will surely be the toughest to write. But, it relates so well to how the enemy will try to corrupt your circumstances to accomplish his ultimate goal, to keep you as far away from the presence of The Lord as he can. Because the enemy knows the power you find when you exchange the world for the true spirit of God.
A year ago, my father was given a medical diagnosis that shifted his circumstances. What was my definition of the world earlier? Changing. I am sharing a glimpse of this very private experience because I believe the only way to have an impact is to be vulnerable. If you know me, you know I am an only child and there are no words to express the love I have for my parents. So you can imagine my surprise and confusion when my father told me the news, he was completely calm.
When the doctor gave him the news, I imagine my father found himself in the belly of a great fish. He had felt his soul crushing him. But like Jonah, My father chose to not look at the dark circumstances around him but to look above. Despite the enemy's effort to corrupt my healthy father, he felt the power in the presence of God. My father came to know God at his core. His soul felt the weight of the world lifted from him in exchange for God's constant true spirit. My father looks above and has this exchange with God every morning, even though his health has not changed.
Read the words of John 17:6 slowly, "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you]
I see this scripture manifested in my father's spirit when he jokingly says, "Don't worry your mother isn't getting rid of me that easy." He laughs every time because his days are not full of distress and frustration. He has filled himself with perfect peace and confidence. These are the qualities of God at his core that only he can fill your heart with. And only because of God, my father is certain his health will change and he will look to nothing but the goodness of God until then.
So many are not familiar with God's true spirit and that is why you feel instabilities within yourself. Everyday is a battle to feel loved and secure. Your mood is based on your circumstances. Your heart carries pain from the past or present. You are looking to the world; a changing and losing game. Look above. You may not see God, but you will most certainly feel and come to know Him. He's ready for the exchange. He wants to take the weight of the world from your heart and fill it with his true spirit of love and security…constantly. `
1 Peter 1:8
"Without having seen Him, you love Him; you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious joy."
"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."
"But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness."