Yes I can! – Laying the foundation
Welcome to our new series 'Yes I Can!'
Life is full of challenges and disappointments. If we are not careful, they can kill our dreams, steal our hopes and aspirations, and we can end up believing that we will never be able to find joy or love or success. But it doesn't have to be that way. Our encouragement comes from the Lord, who says, "Yes, you can!" We have a God who can make things that look impossible, possible. Philippians 4:13 NKJV states: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
When Paul wrote those words, he was speaking about his ability to endure hardship and trouble, but the principle of finding our ability to overcome screams loudly from this passage. Before we continue to even explore all that is possible in God, let's lay a foundation about who He is and His character of love.
You may know in your mind that God loves you, but has it captured your heart? If truth be told, most of us, in our hearts, are suspicious about God's love. And the number one thing that we struggle with, which challenges our ability to receive from God all that He has for us, is our ability to accept that He loves us beyond measure. We can't imagine or understand that the God of the universe has positive thoughts towards us moment by moment every day. We struggle with understanding the enduring, infinite love of a Heavenly Father.
The result is that we limit ourselves because we fail to see how big and loving our God is. More important, we fail to link our successes to Him and His love for us. The catch 22 is that all that God wants to do and can do in our lives is based on that premise.
So, we end up attempting to define God's love through our human experience. But, what has life taught us about love? Let's look at two negative things that we have learnt:
Love defined by conditions
Our human relationships have conditioned us to measure love by 'ifs', 'maybes', and 'becauses'. "I'll love you if you do this".
Most of us struggle with even imagining a love without some sort of condition, and we project this insecurity onto God. Yet God wants us not only to know that such a love exists, but to really believe it and receive it, because if we can't believe it, we can't receive it. Conditional love leads to insecurity. God says, 'I want to restore and bless you'. We respond, 'Why would you want to do that for me?' God says, 'Because I love you'. We respond 'What? Why? I am ashamed of some of the things I do, so you can't love me'.
Love defined by wounds
Wounds of the heart colour the way we see love, define love and experience love. There are two ways that we can become wounded in our heart.
- Not receiving love when we needed it - these wounds come from the absence of good things happening in our lives. Those times when we needed demonstrated or expressed love and did not receive it.
- Being wounded by things done to us - which are the obvious outward things that happen to us. Examples include insults, outright or subtle rejection, demeaning or devaluing words and disappointments.
Proverbs 18:14 NIV says, "The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?" But, God knew from beforehand that there would be people, circumstances and actions in our lives that would discourage and try to break us. In His divine love He established a way for us to be able to rise above them to a place where, in Him, we can say, 'YES, I CAN'. God is fundamentally and essentially LOVE and we will address this next week as we continue to lay the foundations of why we are able to say YES, I CAN.
I close today by asking again: You may know in your mind that God loves you, but has it captured your heart? Has it permeated your very being? Do you sense, feel, taste and hear His love for you? Has it so overwhelmed you that you can't help but overflow with His love? When you grasp it, God can do so much in your life.