Jesus longs to be your true love. You are beautiful and precious in His sight. His passion for you never depends on your passion for Him. You don’t have to change to be loved, but His love will change you.
He loved you before you loved Him. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
He loved you so much that He died to save you from your sin. “…To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Revelation 1:5).
Study doctrines as you will, but it is the love of Christ on the Cross that is the pillar of your faith. “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
I spent several years teaching and preaching in three state prisons located in Southern California. It was my great honor and privilege to minister to these precious saints behind the walls. I was serving several days each week and learning so much about how to be used of God.
Friends, stop thinking you are not good enough to be used of God. He is not looking for those who are able, but those who are willing. “Then [Jesus] said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few’” (Matthew 9:37). If you don’t serve today, then start tomorrow.
But a word of warning, in your serving, never let the serving of the Lord become greater than your relationship to the Lord. There are many who serve Him more than they love Him, and in so doing, hurt the Lord Jesus in their serving. I want you to know, He wants your love more than your money or your service. I learned this in my faith journey, in that my serving Him became greater than my loving Him.
One Sunday I was preaching at a Spanish service speaking through an interpreter. The message was about having a deep and abiding love for God. As I spoke the message, I was intent on pressing forward into the spirit of the men. Too many preachers preach to the minds of men. You can possibly change a mind for a season, but if you touch the spirit you are effecting eternity. You must prepare in the Spirit to preach in the Spirit.
In the message, I was talking about the seven Spirits of the Lord, “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:2). This is a rich verse that opens the treasuries of heaven to a saint, that they would flow in this sevenfold perfect richness of the Holy Spirit.
To give a word picture for this verse I spoke of the Menorah, which is the lampstand ordained by God to be in the Tabernacle. This lampstand has seven lamps that represent the seven Spirits of the Lord. The Tabernacle and its contents are rich with symbolic significance for God’s plans throughout the ages.
The morning of this message I was led to add a verse to the end of the message. It came from a daily devotion I had written that very morning:
Jesus is jealous to be your one true love. He wants your whole heart, not just your actions, your words or your tears. He will not be satisfied by what you do, He wants you. Jesus said, “I know your works [doing many great things for Me] Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent [turn back to Me] and do the first works…” (Revelation 2:2-5).
This was my “right hook” of the message, the crescendo to drive all the points deep into their spirit. To break down the idea that the Lord is so impressed with your works, that He would overlook you leaving Him as your true love.
But at this very moment everything got turned around in an instant. I read the verse from Revelations from above out loud, but then read the whole verse to myself and it jumped out at me and hit me straight in the heart. Silently to myself at the podium I read, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and ***remove your lampstand*** from its place—unless you repent” (Revelation 2:4-5).
It was as if the Lord Jesus was standing in the center aisle of that prison chapel. And He was glaring at me with His penetrating eyes of truth, and He Himself was giving me the “right hook” of His chastisement. He Himself was driving the point deep into my spirit.
I felt right then, that He was going to remove the lampstand from me, the flowing of the seven Spirits of the Lord from my life, even if the flow is but a trickle, unless I repented right then and there. I had gone there that day to give a message, but had instead received one loud and clear.
Friends, never think you are somebody so special that you do not need a rebuke, and only then will you be on safe grounds with the Lord. Be willing to be wrong that He can make you right. The trajectory of my ministry changed at that very moment. That day was a turning point in a greater love and devotion unto the Lord Jesus.
Nobody in that service had any idea of what just happened to me. But in that service my spirit was crushed. And in the crushing, I repented, and I was set right with the Lord. And He has allowed me to keep the lampstand.
I had another precious word of knowledge that day of who would be saved. When I did the altar call the very man I was shown came up and received the Lord that day. Friends, our obedience and love to the Lord impact those around us. Learn to love Him in everything that He will be with you through it all.
Three months later the Lord kept me up all night, and after more than a year of impressing on me what He wanted me to do, He had me resign from the prison ministry. This broke my heart. But I want you to know, that if you love the Lord with all your heart, He will always carry you. Knowing His plan is not as important as being obedient to Him in it.
I love how the Lord Jesus made it so simple, when He was asked for the great commandment, “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” (Matthew 22:37).
If you would just love the Lord, I want you to know, that is enough.
May the Lord bless you,