I have spent the majority of my life equipping people to grow in their relationship with God and to pursue their purpose in life. Over the years, one of the most predominant struggles people carry is being able to experience and live in the power of God’s love on a day to day basis. If you dig deep with most people, even long standing believers, there is a deep struggle to connect with Father God and experience that deep love.
So the question is, do you struggle to live in God’s love? I didn’t ask if you know how to love on someone, pray for someone or show God’s love to a person. Do you know how to experience God’s love in your own life?
I’ve work with scores of people who help others experience God’s love, but can’t receive it for themselves. This is a plague that needs to be addressed with a high priority.
Learning to Receive the Love of God
There are mainly two things that I’m very passionate about as far as delivering messages, as far as helping people and equipping people. Number one is to give spiritual insights oftentimes in a way that people don’t look at and see things, and to help them develop discernment, to develop self-awareness and understanding, awakening to subjects and areas that maybe they were in denial about earlier. These can often be great opportunities for God to open the eyes of our understanding.
Spiritual Insight with Practical Tools
The second thing that I like to do I also like to give very practical tips, tools, things that they can begin applying. I think that many time when we gather or we’re listening to teachings, there’s heavy insight and we’re like, “Whoa! That was so impressive and that really touched my life.” But we struggle in the application of it. Now what? How do I go out and begin to apply this?
I want to take an episode here today and share with you on a very foundational subject that is always, always, every day of our lives, something that we need to be investing in. I’ve spent the majority of my life helping and equipping people, teaching them to overcome obstacles in their life, helping them to break off limitations, allowing healing to begin to come into their life for them to experience freedom and the transformation that God has for them. Over the years, one of the most predominant struggles that people face and they often don’t realize it, they often don’t realize how big this issue is in their life, they tend to skirt over it, move past it, avoid it, is the subject of connecting to God’s love for you every single day of your life.
The Need for Love
We understand looking for love in relationships. We want to love and be loved. In our walk with God, we tend to walk passed. What does it mean to really experience his love on an ongoing basis? I think many people deep down are discouraged. They don’t feel connected to his love. Many other people spend their whole life just ignoring the subject altogether because they’ve not been trained, mentored in, nurtured in the power of the love of God in their lives.
I think this is a very serious subject. It’s a very serious issue that needs to be healed in our generations. We’re trying to make a difference. We’re trying to go out. We’re trying to help people. We’re trying to be successful but we’re ignoring what it means to truly be loved. I want to ask you a question today. Do you know how to experience the love that God has for you? Do you know how to experience it on an ongoing basis? I’m not asking you do you know how to pray for someone else, love someone else, or do something loving for someone else. I’m asking you, do you know how to receive the love that God has for you as his child?
Love Others But Can’t Receive Love for Yourself
I’ve worked with scores and scores of people over the years. Decades of work. I’ve actually spent more than half of my life at this stage just helping people experiencing God. One of the biggest trends I notice that is causing people to break down in their life is they have a capacity to help other people. They have a capacity to love people. They have a capacity to do loving things for other people. But they don’t know how to truly receive love for themselves. They don’t know how to love themselves, they don’t know how to receive love from God, and there’s even an awkwardness in really truly being able to receive love from people.
There are times in life where people want to celebrate you. They want to love on you. There’s an awkwardness in being able to receive that or when it comes to being alone. Here’s one of the ways you can know that you’re uncomfortable with receiving the love of God. If you sit down in solitude, no agenda, nothing on the table to try to to get accomplished or do, you’re just simply being, you’re just simply in a state of nothingness. Are you comfortable in that position of being able to experience, meditate on and really just bask in the love that God has for you? Is that emptiness frightening? Is it something that when you’re in that state, you just got to find something to do, get busy, your mind wanders, you get distracted, because there’s an inability, there’s a block and a hindrance in being able to receive the love of God.
The Inability to Receive God’s Love
I help pastors, leaders, businessmen, people who are running larger organizations. They do great things for people. They do things that are so loving and yet, at the end of the day, there’s a breakdown in their life because they’ve not been able to truly experience the love that God has for them.
I want to bring this to the table in the agenda of what’s going on in society. It’s that I want to ring the bell and sound the alarm that it is time for us to stop doing and ignoring being, to stop just trying to accomplish and learn what it means to simply be loved. In today’s episode, I want to talk about receiving the love of God and learning to receive this.
The Neglect of Love in the Heart
My heart is heavy over what’s going on in the church today, what’s going on in people’s lives that we are neglecting the life of the heart and we’re neglecting what it means to simply be loved in relationship. We’re just staying busy, we’re just going, going, going, moving on, moving forward, and we’re ignoring this issue that our hearts are broken, our hearts are heavy, our hearts are in need of a deeper experience with the love of God because once that compass is set in your life, and you begin to grow and grow and grow in it, it literally changes the game in your life. It is the number one game-changer because love is … it is everything.
The Love of God is the Answer
We’re so shocked when we see breakdowns in people’s lives. Families fall apart, or people fall in moral failings or whatever we call it. We’re so shocked by it and the reason is because we’ve ignored the cultivation of what it means to be loved and live in love. I found the majority of people’s problems fall into a love deficit in their life in some area. Love is the answer, love is the solution, love is what we’re crying for, love is what we’re needing. It is what is causing a big, gaping, vacuum of the enemy to come in and steal, kill, and destroy the life of God in relationships. Yet, we’re so shocked when we see people doing things that are really coming out of a need to be loved, a need to be heard, broken areas that have then created avenues of insanity.
Serving But Not Having Love
I remember even years ago when Mother Teresa passed, everyone was shocked. When we think of giving of yourself and sacrificing and loving, we equate Mother Teresa with that. Yet, they found some of her journal entries as she wrote of a struggle in relationship with God, which is great, we all have it. But sometimes we think certain people don’t have those struggles, right? Just the battling and the sorting through that she went through of trying to discover that connection, intimacy with God and being loved, and it reminds me.
In 1st Corinthians 13, Paul said this statement, he said, “If I give my body to be burned and have not loved, what does it profit?” I’m sitting there thinking, “How could somebody give their body to be burned and hot have love passion in their life? How could somebody? Saying “I’m willing to be burned at the stake” is a pretty heavy display of sacrificial love.
I think one of the things here is that you can even get to that point of giving everything but there still isn’t a receptivity of love for yourself from God. I think sometimes people do great acts and great things in hoping those acts will finally show a sense of worth to God that “See? I love you and I’m willing to do whatever it takes”, but yet, there’s no sense of being able to receive the love of God.
Must Learn to Receive His Love
When it comes to walking in love relationship with God, it’s very difficult for you to love God until you first receive his love. I’ll tell you why. The Bible says this, “We love him because he first loved us.” What that means is that means God started this whole thing off. He started this whole relationship dynamic by sending his love.
First of all, he sends his love by creating us, fearfully and wonderfully-made with amazing traits, with amazing attributes, with amazing potential. Then, he creates this opportunity by sending his son to die as an ultimate display to the world forever of the great love that he has for us, inviting us to become his children.
Make the Transition into God’s Love
The problem is, is that many of you, when you came into relationship with God, you came into relationship with him with a basis of, “I’m worthless, I’m a wretch, I’m this worthless sinner and I need help.” There’s a great humility in that. There’s a great humility in posture of God I need you, I’m spiritually bankrupt, and without you, I’m nothing. We never made the exchange that when he came in, now there’s … we recognize I had a worth in my life. Love has a power to come in to say you have worth and you have value.
Many times, as we interact in the life of the church, we’re like, “I’m a sinner saved by grace”, and we never made that transition into going, “I have worth and I have value.” I’ll push it even further. Do you know that you have worth and value from the love of God even before you received him>? Before you said yes to him? God demonstrated his love in that while we were sinners. Christ died for us. That means that you had a worth even before you accepted.
Even people right now who mock God, say he doesn’t exist, want nothing to do with him, that God still has a love that is pulsating from heaven to their life. Even though they won’t receive it, he’s still sending his love.
Positioning Yourself to Receive
In order to experience the love of God, you’ve got to position yourself in a posture of learning to receive. Modern culture has kept us from that because we are performance-based. Our love exchange with each other is so conditional. We like to say it’s unconditional. we like to even say we love our children unconditionally. There are conditions that come in, and we put our walls up, we put our … al the things up, and the agreements that we come into that block the power of love being able to be really sent in to the pores of our heart to seep in to the deep areas so that you can rest in and know that you’re loved.
The greatest is love. Without love, we really shouldn’t be even delving into many of the areas that we’re going into because those things will be diluted unless love is in. For example, the Bible says, speak the truth in love. Many people say, “Well yeah! I speak the truth in love”, and what we often do is it gives us permission to take a sledgehammer to people and then we go, “I said it in love.” It’s like, “No, you didn’t. You said what you wanted to say but you didn’t carry the deep compassionate heart of love for the person in relationship, because when that’s really set, truth has power to really do that work that it was designed to do in a person’s life.”
They may not receive it, and I get all that. Learning to receive the love of God is, in my conviction, one of the missed subjects of modern society. We know how to do a lot of things and accomplish a lot of things and look like we’re successful, but we’re very relationally negative in a deficit, because we haven’t stopped to invest in the life of our heart and learn what it means to invest in the love relationship that were, quite frankly, we’re uncomfortable with.
I have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. I ministered to thousands of people over the years. They come to me and one of the key markers is, I don’t know how to experience the love of God. Shouldn’t that be one of the most important subjects we talk about in church classes, church gatherings? Isn’t that some of the number one things we should talk about in our family, in our home? What does it mean to be loved, to receive love, to interact with love? God is love. He doesn’t just have it. He is it. He is the very essence of love.
What I want to do is I want to give you some things to understand, some things that I’ve applied in my own life. The things that I’ve applied and those that I’ve helped, and those I coached and groups I consult with and help in this area of the love of God.
Establishing the Relationship
The first things that we have to do when it comes to love relationship with God, learning to experience love, is we have to set the dynamic. We have to establish the relationship. The relationship must be based on a father-child relationship, meaning that the basis of relationship is a father to a son, father to a daughter. That’s the premise.
When you interact with God, do you have that basis? God, you are my Father. Here lies the problem because we need to establish a proper reference, a proper reference in place of interacting with him. Because roles, reference, identity is important in establishing the relationship, how you interact with God. What I find is, this is the modern plague of Christianity, we feel comfortable, our immediate impulse is to talk to Jesus. Jesus said, “I’m the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”
Avoiding the Father
What I find is there’s a depth of intimacy with the God they had people are missing because they cry out to Jesus but they don’t use the access Jesus gave us to now go to the Father because we’re afraid of the Father, we’re afraid of what father, abba, papa, papi, daddy, dad, what those terms mean, and we don’t feel safe.
In order for us to feel safe in loving relationship with God, we have to feel safe in who he is in his identity. He’s a Father. This, right now, is the first area that we have to begin to restore because most of us, the reference of father or reference of Dad, reference of papa is skewed. It is distorted. It’s wounded. It’s painful. It’s awkward. It’s empty. That’s the area that God needs to begin to renew because not only is he father, he is a good father. Even Jesus, when he walked this planet.
Someone said, “Hey, good teacher!” He said, “Wait a second. Why are you calling me good? There’s only one good and that is God.” He was speaking of the Father. People will say, “Well, how do I begin to learn the goodness of who God is as a loving Father. The best place to start is to watch, read and observe the life of Christ. Jesus Christ came so that we would understand how the father thinks.
All throughout the Old Testament, you see glimpses of the Father. In fact, in my pastoral days, I taught people how to see the Father, how to see Jesus, the Word, how to see the Holy Spirit from beginning to end of the scriptures, because in the Old Testament, you don’t see a lot of the Father. In the New Testament, Jesus comes to say, “Okay, I need to help you to understand who the Father is.”
What the people didn’t understand is in the Old Testament, when they were interacting with God, they thought they’re interacting with Father. What they’re really interacting with Jehovah. They were interacting with God the word that’s why Jesus said, “When Abraham said, I am”, he says, “That’s me guys. I am the I am. You’re interacting with me and now, the word has become flesh and I’m now dwelling and interacting with you.” They took stones and they wanted to throw it at him. Why? Because they said, “We weren’t talking to you. Abraham is our father. God is our Father.” He said, “No, if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father because I’m here to help you to understand who the Father is.” They didn’t make the transition and today, even Christianity is struggling to make that transition, to take the life of Christ, the fullness of who he is and to know the Father.
Seeing the Example of Jesus
When you watch Jesus, and you read him in the Gospels, you see how he interacts, you see how he talks, you get a burning passion and sense of how God the Father thinks. That becomes the foundation of relationship.
If you’re going to grow as a child, you’re going to have to know what it means to interact with the Father. When you interact with the Father, it can’t always be based on an agenda. If you’re always coming to God agenda-based, “we got to do this, I need wisdom for this, help me in this”, which is great. But if you don’t learn how to just interact with God, hear from God, talk to God on the basis of enjoyment, then, you’re going to interact with God as a slave rather than as a son. This is a big transition that we have to make, is moving out of a slavery mindset with God and moving into the sun-ship basis with God.
What is the slavery? Slavery is primary. Slavery is primary activation and mindset and interaction is performance. Performance, being perfect, trying to keep people pleased, am I keeping God pleased, they’re all counterfeit mechanisms that keep you from being accepting, accepted and being able to rest in the love that God has for you.
Taking on Sonship
Not only do you have to learn who God is as Father. You have to learn what does it mean to be a son. Put that on the tapestry of everything in your life. In your devotions, in your meditation, what I like to do in helping people very practically is, what is your day look like to live as a perfectly loved, accepted valued son or daughter. When I say son, I also mean daughter, as a perfectly-loved, accepted, valued son who is loved by your Father and who is excited to be in your life, has your back and is going to empower every step of faith that you take. He believes in who you are because he made you for a purpose, therefore, his faith is cheering you on that I know you have what it takes so therefore, you don’t have to be a victim.
Many of us, we talk to God not only as slaves but we talk to God as victims. “Oh God, I don’t know what to do. Nothing’s working. Nothing’s happening. Where are you? What are you doing? Why have you left me? What’s going on?” The slavery-victim language, and God’s like, “I’m not in that frequency. I’m a Father who believes in you. You’re my perfectly-loved child. I accept you right now, I believe in you. I’m not condemning you, I’m not putting guilt on you, I’m not putting shame on you, I’ve called you out of darkness, I’m raising you up to conquer today. God’s love.
When somebody loves you, one of the things that they do is they believe in you. God believes in you today. I can’t believe in myself. We get all religious is what we do. It’s a bunch of phony baloney. Yes, it’s God in us. We’re not relying on ourselves, I get it. But we use these phony baloney religious cliches to not step up in the overcome a position to say “God is with me”.
People say, “Whoa! Apart from Him, we can do nothing.” I’m never apart from him. He’s always with me so why do I have to struggle? How many people do I talk to and interact with? They’re like, “Well, you know, if God doesn’t show up today.” Why do you live in a “if God doesn’t show up” mentality? He’s always with you.
Confronting the Blocks to God’s Love Being Received
This leads us into the next place which is understanding that we have to now deal with the blocks and the interferences that come our way. One of the things I tell people is I tell them, “It’s not God, God’s not the problem. It’s not you. You’re not the problem. It’s something that’s in the way and this is where the enemy likes to steal, kill, and destroy.”
It’s mindsets and ways of thinking to keep you feeling separated from God, to keep you feeling all those feelings that you have. I can’t feel God, he’s not here, he’s not with me, I’m far from him, all those things are lies that get perpetuated that mess with your belief system, and as you believe, so are you. If you believe you feel separated from God and you believe that’s just true, then you’ll always live in that.
Is that based on the word of God? Is that based on what God says about you? Is that based on his love for you? I think, first, what we need to do is we need to admit our struggle. “hey, I’m struggling”, and not hide it. I think we need to be honest about this feeling of separation because I don’t care how shiny your performance looks. We sit down and we dig into the nitty gritty. We’ll find the areas that are broken because we’re all broken to some degree.
Getting Honest About Our Struggles to Receive His Love
I like to help people say let’s cut past the bull, let’s cut past the areas where we are fabricating, where we are trying to show something that we’re not, and let’s get real here and let’s acknowledge that experience your love of God for you and your life is a struggle. As we do that, don’t beat yourself up over this. Don’t beat yourself up and say, “Oh my goodness! I can’t believe. You know, I’m a pastor and I’m struggling in the love of God.” No, no, no. Don’t do the guilt condemnation thing. Don’t go there because I’m going to tell you this. Everyone around you is struggling to some degree because that’s the war right now.
The war is over keeping people from the goodness, fullness of the love of God, and that he is good. That’s the struggle. That’s the wrestling that’s going on in the cosmos right now, as you recognize and admit what’s the wound that needs to be addressed. The two main wounds I always talk about are the Father wound and the mother wound because those areas are the formation, good, bad and ugly that they did the best that they could, but those become the lenses by which we perceive God and areas that need to be healed. No matter how perfect your Earthly father was, there are areas and lenses that God needs to heal. That how … what was your relationship like with your Earthly father?
Some people say, “Well, my father died when I was a teenager”. That absence, that abandonment, even though that wasn’t his choice. Some people say, “well my father was never in my life”, or some say, “I was adopted, I never knew my father.” Many people say, “My father put a performance shackle on my neck and I have been spending my whole life trying to get that off”. Being honest and admitting areas and then, because the more that we’re honest, what we do now is we position ourselves to ask God to heal our broken hearts. Ask him today. Say, “Father, I want to know you and your goodness. I want to know you as my dad. I want to know you as my papa. I want to know you in that sense. I want to be comfortable calling you dad. I want to be comfortable interacting with you and your love. I can’t, and I admit that. I admit to my friends, I admit that to people around me that are safe people, and I invite you to come and heal my broken heart.”
Ask God to Heal Your Heart
Ask him. Sometimes we forget. As you ask him to heal your broken heart, ask him to heal your broken perspectives. “God, would you help me?” Here’s a great way that we can do this. What are the area of hurt in your life? What are the areas of dysfunction that manifest? What are the things that you demand from people that get you stirred up? Maybe it’s that you, when you talk, you don’t feel like people listen to you and you get upset because when you pray to God, you’re not sure he listens to you, and because as a child growing up, there was a struggle and not feeling that people in your family in your home were listening to you. These are often very simple things.
Do you feel abandoned and so you don’t get close to people because you feel like they’re going to abandon you? Do you not open up, because you feel like they’re going to reject you? Whatever area of pain and woundedness that processes in life with people, you get very “judgy” with people. You get judgmental and you get harsh on other people because that’s how you see yourself and that’s how you formed and we’re formed in your relationship with God.
Don’t make it rocket science, just recognize. Become more self-aware of things that you point on other people. Well, I’m sick of that person because they’re this. Wait a second. What’s going on in me? When it comes to all relationship conflict and issues, I always encourage people, look at yourself first. Look at the plank in your own eye, and instead of wandering around the mountain because what will happen is, you will stay in those treads until one day you say, “God, I need this place healed”, because what you’ll need to do is break agreements with those areas that you have transposed unto your life, yourself and your relationship with God.
What Would a Day Look Like With His Love?
Even as you’re processing this out, I like to do this, what would a day look like today? Everything that I’m doing today, if I’m loved and I’m totally loved by God, what would that do to my perspective? I encourage people to act in faith knowing he loves you even before the feelings come because sometimes we need to set the rudder with our words, with our focus, even with our physiology of how we interact with life from a perspective of love. I often find that our heart and feelings and emotions begin to follow what our focus is. As you go in, press in for that. Press in hunger but you need to also learn to rest. This is not a thing that you have to fight and strive for. This is a thing you have to learn to receive, but there is a battle. There’s both.
There’s the resting part and then there’s the fighting part. I also encourage you, one of the things that’s been helpful for me is, have people that you interact with where you can share your struggles. The word says, “Confess your trespasses, one to another, that you may be healed.” Get around people that you can share this with, that can help you break agreements, that can help you unwind some of the areas that I struggle with you. I find, this is the last thing I’ll share here.
I find, one of the biggest things that I do to experience the love of God is to love myself. That’s why I wrote the book, “God Loves Me and I Love Myself“, that I believe is a key critical component to the narrative that we need to break through today. When I love myself, I truly say yes to the love that God has for me in his delight for me. That’s where I invite you today. Get a copy of “God Loves Me and I Love Myself”. But you can even right now stop what you’re doing and out loud with your mouth say, “God, I invite you to come and heal my broken heart. You love me and I say yes to your love for me. I choose to love myself and I choose to love others with the love that I carry in my own heart today.”
Where are you at in that place? What do you need to do? Are you at the place where you need to reframe father-son, father-daughter relationship? Are you at the place where you need to just admit it and you’ve not admitted it? You can help lots of other people but you can’t help yourself and God’s going, “I need to heal this or we’re not going to go any further, not because you’re unworthy but because I want you to be whole.”
Exposing Rejection Based Thinking
One of the mindsets that you need to confront, that you blame on God, “God, where are you? Where are you? What’s going on?” You blame other people or you have these certain statements that you make are patterned that you fall into that need to be confronted to remove. I wrote a book called, “The Rejection Mindset”. Rejection is the number one mindset that causes a sense of separation. If you ever feel separated from God, rejection is speaking to you to tell you lies to get you to come into agreement with it.
Take a moment and pray:
Father, I ask you in the name of Jesus that you would come and help us to receive the dynamic power of your love that cast out fear, that cast out rejection, that removes the hindrances. I’m asking you in the stillness of the moment where the person’s at that you’d minister to their heart and let them experience your love right now, experience the goodness of who you are so they can learn to be a receiver of that love. God, everything we give out comes out of what we received. I choose to receive that love in my heart. I choose to receive that love from you to say yes to it.