This is what living looks like,
this is what freedom feels like,
this is what heaven sounds like;
we praise You, we praise You. – Matt Redman
I believe this bridge from Matt Redman’s song, “We Praise You,” embodies the entirety of our lives when we walk in the Reality of the Father’s love. There is such profound freedom that comes when we express the love He has given us to the world around us.
Our world is in bondage, bondage to their own notions, bondage to their own negative opinions of themselves, and bondage to the beliefs and ideals of the world around them. However, our calling is to embody and express absolute freedom as sons and daughters, which is primarily described in the Law of liberty.
What is this Law of Liberty? (Again, I’m glad you ask such great questions. Lol)
The Law of Liberty is found in the fellowship of the burning heart (see part 2, where I talk about the eternal fellowship of Father God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit and the undying love they have for one another). Inside this Law, Father God’s love liberates us on the inside to feel and express love to other people. When we experience the Law of Liberty, it means we continually walk in freedom from the spirit of condemnation, rejection, lust, spiritual dullness, and boredom. It means we daily choose not to compromise to the things of the world, but in turn, live with an exhilarated heart by encountering Father God’s heart.
The Law of Liberty is our calling and our assignment as we experience the Reality of the Father’s love!
4. Our love for Ourselves.
“Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22:37-39 MSG
In the remainder of this post, I want to cover the remaining two cells found in the Reality of the Father’s Love; the first of which is our love for ourselves.
As we experience deeper and deeper levels of Father God’s love, we will begin to love ourselves in the grace of God. Loving oneself in the grace of God means seeing ourselves, our new identity, destiny, and complete worth through the lens of Father God’s empowering love for us. We will never love other people more than we love ourselves through the grace that God gives us.
As you have read above, Jesus brings a deep, controversial, and challenging directive to all believers in Matthew 22 and Luke 14. He calls us to both love ourselves and to hate our lives. What does it mean to love yourself and hate your life? Is it even possible to love yourself and hate your life? And how can something so odd, mind-boggling, and direct as loving yourself and hating your life be carried out?
We must love who we are in Christ (new creations, sons and daughters of a good Father, worthy, righteous, and holy) as well as we must hate our lives (who we are outside of Christ and what we do outside of His will). Our assignment as children of God is to receive everything His Word says about us and our new identity in Christ, our worth to Him, and the activities we do in God’s will.
To experience the complete Reality of the Father’s love means to be jealous of all that He has called us to be for His sake and His sake alone. It also means not to fall prey to false humility but to magnify Father God as we love ourselves in agreement with His love for us and completely honor His “investment” in us.
I will be honest with you and say that I did not always agree with Father God’s “investment” in me. However, as I begin to grow in this area, I realized that His eyes were always on me and that I always had a center stage when it came to my Father’s love and affection. This caused me to live out of the understanding that I do not have to strive to get people's eyes to recognize my accomplishments or ministry endeavors. Nor do I have to get the time and attention of the most powerful or popular people because I already have the time and attention of the most glorious Man in the world!
I want to share the same truth with you--Father God loves you and wants you to love yourself, the way He loves you, by enjoying and delighting in you as His son and daughter!
So practically speaking, how do we love ourselves?
1. We love ourselves by casing aside self-hatred. Self-hatred results in a deep sense of rejection that damages our ability to love and receive love. Father God desires to fully liberate our heart from self-hatred so that we do not wish we were someone else but are genuinely thankful for being who God made us to be.
2. We love ourselves by not despising our appearance, gifting, and ministry assignment regardless of how small it is. We must be thankful for who we are in our Father and the unchangeable aspects of our appearance, abilities, personality, and life circumstances—family, parents, nationality.
3. We love ourselves by entering into the feelings that Father God has for us. This may look like repenting for longing to have another person’s calling, gifting, family background, and appearance. It is okay to imitate the spiritual dedication of godly people without wanting their calling and life circumstances.
5. Our Love for Others
The final aspect or cell found within the Reality of the Father’s Love is our love for other people. This love must come from the overflow of Father God’s very own love within us.
“This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love.” John 15:12 MSG
I firmly believe that our love for other people is simply an expression of the fellowship of the burning heart within us. When we love other people, we are merely stepping into the invitation to experience how Father God feels about other people. This will ultimately change the way we see people and how we respond to them.
Practically speaking, we love others by displaying godly love toward them even when they mistreat us because Father God loves them as He loves us. Our delight must be in those around us, just He delights in us.
Furthermore, our love for others must extend beyond loving only the people who enjoy the same things we enjoy. As spiritually strong sons and daughters, we must pursue the weaker ones. We must not only love the “cool” people—who are popular and powerful and can enhance our status, but we must love everyone with the love we have received from Father God.
Remaining in the Reality of the Father’s Love,