Rachel was loved by her husband. We can also be loved. God loves us. Your spouse loves you. Your children love you.
Do you love yourself? Sometimes we need to love ourselves. There are times when our own self image is out of balance.
Paul said in Romans chapter twelve not to have too a high opinion of ourselves, but the reverse is equally as true.
We need to love ourselves, but it has to be a balanced love.
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Romans 12:3
The standards by which we measure ourselves is the standard of Jesus, so we should compare ourselves against Him.
One of the most powerful ways we can attain this level is found in the five ascension gift ministries that are still valid and more necessary than ever now Paul spoke of in Ephesians 4:11-16 (emphasis mine).
...these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching.
We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Rest assured that you are not alone in this. We are all part of a great big wonderful family and we all have much more prayer support and other support—more than you can imagine.
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:16-21
Much of the revelation Paul gave us majors on our one-ness with Christ. We are bone of His bone and made as one flesh with Him. He lives with us and within us. We are part of the vine and our very life force, the “divine sap” of the vine flows through our lives provided we maintain our connection with Him. He is the root—our very source and we are His branches.
Arguably, most Christians do not fully understand who we are and what we have in Him. Most of us do not comprehend the depth of God’s love for us. We know little of the intensity and jealous possessive love God has for us. Only 2 or 3 times in my 50 years with Him, have I experienced a demonstration of what I just said. On one of those occasions, I had been going through a very difficult time and was given less than no support from the denomination I once ministered in. They blacklist anyone who dares ask questions and cast them aside like so much dung. When my father was dying, I asked for prayer support only to receive absolute silence, not even a condolence card afterwards. I planted many churches and other groups and was never invited to attend the opening ceremony of any one of them. The reason was that I did not bow and scrape to the authoritarian and dictatorial rule they had and discovered many lies and hidden agendas within the core leadership that still exist today. I was not being rebellious. There is more I could touch on but that paints the picture and after I left that denomination, I discovered how dominating and controlling they are. They and others like them have a reputation for it.
I only share that to illustrate that anyone can come under such a controlling spirit—and it is often a spirit like Jezebel and we need to discern what is happening. This may shock some, but witchcraft exists in the church. Check it out. If you are asked something like, “Whose covering are you under?” be careful. It could be better worded as, “Who is controlling you?” I am not suggesting that we all become rebels and unaccountable as “lone rangers” in the church can be deadly. People can be doing things alone without any relationships and get into real trouble. Jesus sent the disciples out two-by-two. Iron sharpens iron. A three-fold cord is not easily broken. Look. You can be called by God into a valid ministry and probably function alone, but please relate to someone who has a proven track record. I do. We run ideas past each other, comfort each other, advise each other. Other ministers around the world relate to me in one way or another like that.
There is safety in having what the bible calls a multitude of counselors. See Proverbs 11:14; 15:22 and 24:6.
We can run ideas past each other and have such a fellowship that the anointing oil can drip off us as David said-
How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!
For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe.
Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the LORD has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting. Psalm 133:1-3
Gettting back to my story, provided everyone jumped when the leader told them to, everything went well, but the things David spoke of in that Psalm did not exist and the whole city saw it. When I left that organization, I was accused of all kinds of things and rumors started circulating. Gossipers had a field day and it got so serious, I sought legal aid and was considering taking legal action until the Lord came into my house one night and started talking! He told me to drop it and allow Him to act and He did. Most of those ringleaders are gone! It was at a time when I was totally alone and I do mean alone. I spent 5 years in complete isolation and seeking God. Those 5 years were very lonely indeed, but I was not alone! The Lord started to visit and I do mean visit!
It was here that He told me to stop studying for my doctorate (at that time) and asked me if I wanted Him to teach me.
Now, before you think I am a loony tune, I suggest that you study up on the pioneers and fathers of our faith. They all went through similar things. It seems to be one way God prepares significant ministries. Check it out.
I shared all that to lead to this. One evening, the Lord visited me and started talking about people like John the Baptist and it was from there, I formed this present ministry with the motto of Preparing the way. I had been having a real pity party and He had to nip that in the bud. He spoke about the prophets of old and the fathers of our faith, just as recorded in Hebrews 11. I did not share all that chapter, but if you read it, you will see that many of them went through hell on earth to qualify and be listed in that hall of fame.
He said, “Welcome aboard son. They did it to me. They did it to John. They did it to the prophets and they will do it to you.” He was right! One thing that He revealed in those encounters was the depth and intensity of the love of God. We glibly talk about it of course, but when you see His eyes blazing like fire as He spoke as if through clenched teeth saying that no one touches you...no one touches Mine...no one touches the apple of His eye, there was a very intense jealousy factor there. He corrected me a little over a poor attitude I was starting to adopt and then it seemed as if He wanted a hug! It was like He invited me to come up and sit on Daddy’s lap! That was almost 30 years ago and it is still as fresh now as it was then.
I only shared that to point out two things. You may feel like a Leah as I said in that earlier study, but she came through, finishing up as a blessed woman. You can also.