About four years ago, I sat in my small women’s group and received a personal prophetic word. (For any skeptics out there, let me assure you it’s not weird or frightening with clouds twirling above your head or anything! New Testament prophecy is all about building up, encouraging and consoling people with your words…check out 1 Corinthians 14:3!)
The lovely lady who spoke to me was describing a gift she perceived I had and, with great care and gentleness, she said that that gift needed to be covered in love…I needed to basically get a Masters degree in love so that God could most fully work through my life and transform others.
And…by the way…the beautiful woman speaking to me was our very own Jan Greenwood. (Thanks again, Jan!)
Jan knows quite a lot about living a life rooted in love, but I also very much relate to her initial frustration in hearing about living a life of love and the fruit of the Spirit instead of placing that focus on power. With power, we could do really BIG things, right?
I love how Jan described living a life that is full of the fruit of the Spirit: “It creates an atmosphere where there is potential for God to move in power.”
Ah! Not MY power, but HIS! His power to move and become more in an atmosphere that is surrendered to Him…one that puts more emphasis on the fruit rather than the power.
“If I focus more on God’s power than on the fruit of the Spirit, I end up traveling in circles, missing the access ramp to the destination I’ve been dreaming about. But when I let go of my need to be the deliverer of power, I become a highway of love upon which God’s presence and power can move.” -Women at War
Let’s take a look at a few questions from the end of chapter 9. We want to hear your thoughts! Your voice matters and we’d love you to join the conversation!
1) Define “love” in your own terms.
2) 1 John 4:16 says, “God is love”. How does that statement make you feel?
3) Read your earlier definition of “love” and compare it to the passage from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. How do the two match up?
I encourage you to take some time thinking through the other questions at the end of this chapter as well. See what God has to show you about what He wants to do in YOUR life!
For over five years I have had the amazing privilege of being a part of two small groups of women. Despite my homebody tendencies and somewhat introverted nature, I have found a safe haven of fun, accountability and genuine friendship with some of the most godly women I know. And in those times where we’re on a break for the holidays or summer, I find life gets so much more difficult. Yes, I have two more days per week that I don’t have to pack lunches and herd everyone out of the house by a particular time. But the sense of routine, and even more so, the time for me to step out of our home and pour into others, as well as be poured into, gives my daily life such a boost, it’s hard to exaggerate its impact! My kids, too, love the opportunity to see their friends, learn something new and play themselves into weariness.
I’ve felt so terrible about neglecting to write lately, especially with so much on my mind and being desperate to share and interact (especially with some adults!) Now that my groups are back, I have that time to write and step out of the darkness of isolation I’ve found myself in these past few weeks.
Paul wrote in Ephesians “…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (4:15-16)
Growing up into Christ, becoming more like Him, acting like Him and loving like Him is something to be done IN community, not in isolation! Be insulated…not isolated!
Coming together with purposefulness (commitment)…to speak the truth in love (accountability)…to act in our individual gifts as a blessing to others (service)…this is the path of maturity for believers in the body of Christ. The Church is not a building or a meeting time. It is people who are passionately following Jesus Christ. It’s the people, not the place!
So, from a woman, a wife, a mama and a writer…Thank You to you pastors, staff and leaders who give of yourselves to bless me and so, so many with this safe place to be all about the people! This writer is blessed to have the time to think in peace and express my heart on paper. This mama is blessed with other moms who uplift me and the knowledge that my kiddos are safe and learning more about God. This wife is blessed to have other wives pray for my marriage and encourage me in every up and down. This woman is blessed to have the chance to express myself in the way God has designed me, with the opportunity to share that with other women.
It was scary for me at first to step out and meet new people. But it has made such a difference in my life, brought light into darkness in such beautiful ways! It’s worth the planning and purposefulness…It’s worth the time and effort it takes to dive into new friendships…It’s worth even those occasional hurts in dealing with other imperfect humans. I challenge you to take that step if you haven’t already into the insulation of godly friends who will love you and speak truth into your life!