Read His Words Before Ours!
Have you ever written someone off?
Whether in my mind or through my actions, I must admit I have!
I have viewed people as unworthy of investing in a relationship….
I’ve decided they were “too far gone”.
Or their outward appearance repelled me.
Or their beliefs/struggles made me uncomfortable.
Maybe you’ve witnessed a religious organization, or even your church excluding some….
People with tattoos.
Those who smoke, or are heavily pierced.
People with different sexual orientations.
Transparently, I’ve written off someone from each group listed above.
God has shifted my heart towards people, but those God has most laid on my heart recently have been the homosexuals. To help me see His heart, He gave me a visual as I prayed over this and studied His Word.
For this picture, there’s a tree in the desert, barely holding onto life, and a stream of rushing water keeping the tree alive. The tree represents people in hard, difficult places in their lives. The desert represents the wilderness seasons in our lives. And the stream is believers that have living water to offer in that person’s wilderness season.
One Scripture the Lord used to teach my heart was John 7:38,
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,
‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”
Our hearts run with the overflow of Jesus’ love inside of us, pouring out to others in our lives. This verse has challenged me to be ready, no matter what, to willingly allow the overflow of my heart minister to others by the Spirit’s power. It has also softened my heart toward others, regardless of who they are or what they look like.
You never know what wilderness another person is walking through,
or how close they are to giving up.
Pour out His love like life-giving streams!
Another Scripture the Spirit used to teach me was Isaiah 43, specifically, verses 19-20, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people.”
Isaiah is speaking about God’s heart for Israel to be shining witnesses of Him, His glory, and His work to the world. He is capable of amazing things, even in the midst of the wilderness seasons in our lives, including springing forth rivers in the deserts to sustain and encourage us. By trusting His heart, studying His Words in Scripture, and engaging in biblical community, He will bring peace and His power will flow through us.
Zacchaeus’ story paints a beautiful picture of Jesus’ loving, relational pursuit of us.
Jesus was simply passing through Jericho on His way to somewhere else when He intentionally stopped to engage Zacchaeus. One tax collector, despised and hated, wealthy beyond belief, but living in his own desert of loneliness and purposelessness, desperately needed a stream of hope and love more than even he realized.
Zacchaeus was “trying to see who Jesus was”. (Luke 19:3)
Jesus called out to Zacchaeus and, like a stream of refreshing water, climbed into his loneliness with him by bringing winsome friendship. As a result, Zacchaeus’ life was forever changed and dramatically made new. Jesus came to bring new life, to be a friend to sinners, and enter into dry, desert places to bring revival.
Jesus intentionally sought out those whom religion and society had written off.
He chose the outcasts.
He built relationships with the missional purpose of saving them for eternity and giving them purpose.
If we are to be like Him, and we are all called to be like Him,
then we should choose to enter into relationships with people
that may make us uncomfortable.
We are commissioned to intentionally engage in order to be a river of life for them in wilderness seasons, holding out the life-changing gospel that they too might be rescued.
In my own life, this has been a challenge to walk out.
I have many people in my life that are living homosexual and promiscuous lifestyles and you might too. I have asked God to help me build relationships that honor Him and bring dramatic life change.
I have intentionally built relationships with these people in my life. They have been seeking and searching and unfortunately, the people claiming the name of Christ in their lives have been very unloving toward them. But through our relationship, they have seen that not all believers are judgmental, that some are willing to enter into the uncomfortable conversations to understand and love and walk alongside in friendship.
I can see their hearts soften toward the things of the Lord. It is not my job to change them, but it is my job to love them regardless. They know that I don’t agree with their lifestyle, but they also know I love them for them.
I pray that through our relationship, they would see what God’s love is like and discover it’s Him they are most searching for.
Sisters, I pray we all choose to intentionally be streams of living water to those around us. Not to save them or change them, only Jesus can do that, rather to give them a drink of what Jesus’ love tastes like.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!