Two songs off two albums I recently discovered neatly wrap up the lesson God is trying to teach me right now.
- From David Crowder Band: Illuminate
- How Great
- Revolutionary Love
- From The Passion of the Christ: Original Songs Inspired by the Film
- I See Love
- To Relearn Love
You see a common theme in three of the songs, and the chorus of "How Great" (How great your love for us / how great our love for you…) ties it in nicely with the rest.
So, the lesson I’m learning (maybe I’m not actually learning it yet, but I’m at least aware of my need to learn it…) is how much God truly loves me. I’m discovering that I’m clueless on the topic and it’s been a big hindrance to me showing love to others.
This, of course, is the message delivered to me at lunch on Friday. During my discussion with Randy Shafer, a recent hire at Westwinds, he and I were talking through JLS–what it’s meant to me and the rest of the guys and where God might be taking us in the future.
Through the course of the discussion, I think Randy began seeing through my shell and discovered some heart surgery I needed done. I’m not sure what tipped him off, other than God’s prompting.
It all started when he asked me why JLS was so important to me and why I continuously wrestle with how to keep it together. He wasn’t trying to convince me otherwise–he was simply trying to dig deeper into my core. "What’s it about your group of friends that makes your relationships so meaningful to you?" he asked. "Try to say it in a word or two."
I’m not sure if I surprised him with my inability to pinpoint it or not. I can usually communicate with words fairly well. He claimed he knew what he felt was the answer, but after time continued to pass he suggested he was really looking forward to what I would come up with.
After a literal minute or two, I spat out "Because we care about each other"–totally breaking his one- or two-word limit.
He nodded his head, apparently knowing all along. And then he took it to a new, entirely obvious and rule-abiding level by saying: "It’s love, Joel."
We talked some more and the pre-eminence of love became increasingly apparent to me. Love has been laying on my heart a lot lately. I think I’m getting a grasp on how it needs to abound in my thoughts and actions–how it is needs to rule my life.
But then Randy turned the tables on me, completely taking me off-guard by the insight. With a few more keen questions and strategic discussion-guiding, he arrived at this: “Joel, do you understand how much Christ loves you?”
At that point, I must have shown the worst poker face since the creation of playing cards. Without me saying a word, he knew he had struck a chord. And even when the ensuing discussion strayed from the topic, he made sure to steer it back and nail it home before lunch was over.
I’ve known God has wanted me to concentrate on getting to know him more intimately for quite a while. But I tend to associate "knowing him" with theological head knowledge, not spiritual heart-knowledge. And even with Secrets of the Vine making the case that jumping from producing fruit to producing more fruit requires “abiding in the vine” (spending more time getting to know God than doing God’s work), I still didn’t arrive at the conclusion that I needed to realize God’s love for me on a new level.
It’s now painfully obvious to me.
The good news is, as Randy excitedly expressed to me, once I do realize it, my life will transform like it never has before.