nothing to gain, everything to lose

Wow, January is weird. Anyone else?

The craziness of the holidays is over. Here in Maryland, January is cold and quiet. And currently, it’s REALLY cold. Our life is slower than normal in this month. Less commitments, emptier schedules. I guess this is why January is such a good time to re-evaluate and reflect.

Are you feeling a little weird, too? A little, like, where am I at? Where am I supposed to be? What’s next?

There is something to be said for the busier seasons for me. I’m a little more focused. Maybe a little more tired, too. But I’m working toward a goal, or intentionally pouring into others, and often working toward something that God has said.

Back in September, I attended a conference at The Belonging Co in Nashville. Without any exaggeration, it was life changing for me. Not just because of the environment or the worship or what I experienced, but because of the very specific encounter I had with God. You’ll most likely read about it in a blog soon. I came into the conference praying for very specific things. I was expecting confirmation. One way or the other was fine with me. Any answer, really. Have you ever been there? You’re believing in God for something big. You need an answer. Yes or no. Take that job or stay put. A clear yes or no if this relationship is “the one.”

It was kind of like that. And instead of answers that I thought I wanted, Jesus gave me what I really needed.

Presence.

Not simply His presence with me, but teaching me to truly be present with Him. He gave me to words to focus on:

Adoration and Consecration.

Eesh. They sound big and a little churchy, right?

Any time I find myself frustrated or stuck in prayer, the Lord brings me back to these two words.

What does it mean to adore God?

I have two young kids. They now 8 and 6, so they are not completely dependent on me like they were when they were toddlers. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need things from me. Most days, I tell my husband Tyler that I’m going to start a tally of how many times I hear the word “Mom”. It’s a lot. Like, within five minutes it’s a lot. Because they have a question. Or want a snack. Or a drink. Or the other one is bugging them. It is constant. 

And I answer their questions (most of the time) because I love them. I know they need food and water and they have so many questions about the world and it’s my role to provide most of these things for them. 

But in the very rare moments, they come to me for one thing. A hug. The little note you saw that simply said, “I love you.” Without needing anything at all.

And God is saying, this is what I am longing for from you. 

Listen to me.

God is holy, worthy, righteous, and good. How often do we enter into His holy presence and barrage Him with what we need? We skip right past who He is and what He deserves. When was the last time that you met with God simply to love Him? We are dying so much for approval, affirmation and direction, that we often forget that God isn’t just after what’s good for us: He’s after us. A relationship. We have nothing to gain here. No one that we have to strive to be. We can’t even get it right or wrong. We don’t need anything from Him. We know that we already have it all, and we pour out our love back to Him. This is more than merely being still. This is more than us casting our burdens down at His feet.

This is loving Him back. Adoring Him. the Bible says it this way, “…Love the Lord God with all your heart, all your passion, all your energy and your every thought.” [Luke 10:27 TPT) I think maybe too often, we’re loving Him maybe just in one of these areas. In our mind, yeah, we love Him. But with our passion? Our heart? Our energy?

When we come to God simply to love and adore Him, we have nothing to gain. Just to love Him. Yes, His love for us is so much greater. And He will absolutely pour His love out because it is who He is. But if we truly approach Him with an accurate perspective, we don’t even need anything from Him. 

Because really, He’s already given us everything.

Adoration. Nothing to gain.

Maybe you’ve felt a little stuck. A little unsure of where to move next. A little frustrated that God seems so quiet or far away.

If you have the time now, take a moment to try this. You can speak out loud or write it down. Whatever it looks like, practice coming to Jesus with nothing to gain, prove, or earn. Tell Him what you love about Him. Thank Him. Adore Him.

I can wait.

There is more to this, though. God is wrapped up in so much. He loves us deeply, and at the same time, He is holy. He is righteous and just and He is love. You cannot separate any of these attributes. Since that is the case, we’ve been called to consecration. This simply means dedicating yourself to God, recognizing that we’ve been made in His image. Pushing aside anything that does not line up with who He is and who He’s called you to be. Deciding to believe that what God says about you is true: you are set apart, holy and righteous because of Jesus.

When we consecrate ourselves, we are setting aside anything that shouldn’t be brought into the presence of God. Selfish ambition, bitterness, shame, fear, pride. If these sins are not laid down, we are carrying them in with us and the truth is, we can’t love God wholly or fully if these things are blocking our way.

Consecration. Everything to lose.

This kind of space with Jesus can get a little uncomfy. 

We don’t know what this is supposed to actually look like. To truly live in freedom and love God so purely. It is a practice that must be cultivated. Maybe a little too often, we can hide behind worship music or our devotional books or jobs or callings. And we avoid time with just us and Jesus, absolutely nothing in the way.

Consecration is complete surrender. Viewed through the lens of God’s all-encompassing love, the truth is that everything that we would lose means nothing in God’s kingdom anyway. If He is for us, we already have all that we need. We have every spiritual blessing without having to do anything at all.

What kind of love is this? It’s the only true Love.

Love that only asks for what you are able to give, and that which you let go of will only benefit you. Love that loves you more than you could ever return.

He is more worthy of our returned love.

Today, maybe tomorrow and the next day, too. Let’s choose to set aside everything that does not align with His holiness, goodness and love, and love Him back: even just a fraction of how much He loves us.

We have come to an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love He has for us. God is love! Those who are living in love are living in God, and God lives through them.”

1 John 4:16 TPT

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