Dan and I just returned from a powerful conference, Greater Things, and we were blown away. All the speakers were of high caliber and exhibited such humility and “Messiah-likeness.” And the worship was electrifying. The presence of God was palpable, and Yeshua was exalted above all. It is hard to put into words. How can one describe the Grand Canyon?
On Friday night as I was crying out for a deeper revelation and experience of the love of God my heart exploded with new understanding. One of the main speakers, Francis Chan, gave a powerful message on the love of God. He gave an illustration that when we think of the most intelligent person alive, it is a no-brainer to attribute to God an even greater intelligence that is “beyond beyond”—incomprehensible. The same goes for when we imagine the most powerful person in the world and compare him to the awesome power and majesty of God. However, when we think of the most loving person we know we get hung up. How can God be more loving towards us than our friend, or spouse, or parent? Then Francis went on to explain how we can only comprehend the love of God in the context of His community of believers. Only together with them are we able to comprehend the depth, and width, and breadth of the love of God that is in Yeshua. Our hearts have to be strengthened in order to grasp his great love for us.
So many of us have a hard time receiving God’s love because we consider ourselves unworthy. We have a tendency to focus too much on how far we fall short. I thought of how in a marriage it sometimes takes a while for each other to be confident in the other’s love and often requires proof of the other’s love. Understanding the teaching of the five love languages often unlocks the spouse’s ability to give and receive love from the other. For example, one of my main love languages was serving, and Dan’s was words of affirmation.
It was not until Dan got this revelation that he understood that I felt most loved when he served me by taking care of the children or doing the dishes. I think that sometimes we need to comprehend that God ministers to us in all of the five love languages (serving, giving, affirmation, quality time, and touch), and what we need to do is to identify how he conveys his love to us. One of the biggest of God’s love languages is giving. “For God so loved the world that he GAVE…” Then the light bulb went on. God loves us so much that he gave us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip the body to do the work of ministry (serving, loving, encouraging, etc., and he also GAVE gifts (faith, prophecy, healing, words of knowledge, etc.) to reveal his great love. The gifts of the Spirit are for the building up of the body, for mutual edification. God supernaturally meets the needs of his people in the context of community. He heals, delivers, empowers, helps, and encourages us by expressing His great love through others.
I hope you can grasp this. It is only through a functioning body of believers ministering God’s love that we are able to gain understanding of His great love that is incomprehensible. Together we grow in unity and into the fullness of the Messiah. As God’s Spirit is poured out this will become more and more the reality in which we live. Those who isolate themselves from a local body are cutting themselves off from the nourishment that can only come from living in a community of believers in a context of eldership.
Scripture says that if we receive a prophet we receive a prophet’s reward. If we receive the members of His body, we receive the benefits of community life—God’s love expressed through each member. As we grasp this truth we will be able to receive His love in an even greater measure. God gives us gifts, people, to show us His great love!