Hello, readers! If you’re new here, we’re thrilled to welcome you! If this is a return visit, then you’ll likely recall our format: one new word each month; four writers, each taking a turn that month to reveal what the Lord has put on their heart regarding that word. For me, it’s been so exciting to see God reinforce that He speaks to each one of us uniquely. The Good Word authors have prayed over these words, but we haven’t and don’t reveal to each other the details about our approach, ideas or verses. And yet, our posts don’t repeat content. They simply demonstrate the depth of each word and allow us to share our own life experiences and personal faith to illustrate the value of that word. I hope and pray that it also demonstrates the vastness of our God, His ability and praise-worthiness! That’s our ultimate goal.
As we enter this new month, we do so with a focus on a new word: RECEIVE. There was a consensus among our writers that this was an important word to write about. We have seen that receiving can be hard for women. Perhaps it’s because we’re often natural nurturers; made to think of others and to put their needs ahead of our own. It’s what makes many of us instinctive mothers and caretakers. Generally speaking, women are wired to be givers. Receiving, then, might feel a bit more uncomfortable. Heck, most of us even struggle with receiving compliments. (We are masters at deflecting! “Oh this old shirt?” or “Oh, you’re too kind. I’m really not…”)
But Jesus asks us first to believe…
Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29)
And then, to receive….the abundance He has for us.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)
“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5)
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Our Lord is an extravagant gift-giver. The list above could go on and on…
It’s important that we allow ourselves to receive from Him. It’s what He intends and wants for us. His plan is not just that we have life; walking through it in mediocrity, just getting by. No! He wants us to have the best life; one that is full! (John 10:10)
And, here’s the best part…if we follow Him, clinging to Him and His ways, He generously provides. He does the hard work: guiding us (Proverbs 3:4-5), protecting and strengthening us (2 Thessalonians 3:3), advocating for us (1 John 2:1), empowering us (Philippians 4:13), redeeming us (1 Peter 1:18-19) and forgiving us (1 John 1:9) – over and over – when we fall short. Our part is easy by comparison. It’s simply remaining loyal to and prioritizing Him in our lives. If we do that, He relieves our burdens, lightens our loads and supplies hope and joy.
I can think of a million times while growing up that I refused help. My pride, ego and false assumptions allowed me to push help away, and I suffered consequences as a result. (Think of a toddler – “NO, I’ll do it by myself!”) In my adult life, I can recall bringing baggage with me into relationships. When my husband began pursuing me, I remember pushing him away — partly because I didn’t feel worthy, partly because I was so afraid he would leave, as men before him had done (including my father.) Luckily for me, he was valiant and persistent in his pursuit. Over and over, he tried convincing me that he just wanted to love me well and share life with me. He only wanted to add to my life; not take anything away. In a state of fear, I even broke up with him once, because I just couldn’t believe that a relationship wouldn’t take something from me; strip joy from me or leave me with less than what I was beforehand. It was so hard for me to believe him and receive what he wanted to give me.
Let me just say that I’m glad he persisted. I’m glad he insisted that we seek counseling before marriage, and I’m glad I learned, finally, that it’s worth receiving love. It’s the foundation of faith, marriage and family. It’s the basis of every decision we make. It binds us together in times of trouble, and it gives us vision for what’s possible. Love multiplies joy and divides sorrow, and it’s the at the root of everything good. My husband has shown me this over the last two decades, and his very (human) best is still only a fraction of what Jesus can offer.
Colossians 3:12 (ESV) refers to believers of Christ as “chosen ones, holy and beloved.” Isn’t that amazing? Our God, Creator of all the universe and everything in it has chosen us with all our flaws and imperfections, made us holy and righteous, and loved us despite us and our heavy loads of baggage. We are His beloved. Such a term of endearment, beloved. Such a mark of intimacy and commitment, beloved. Such a longing in our hearts to be just that, beloved.
Beloved. BE-LOVED. See that? Be loved. We must allow ourselves to be loved by Him. Simply, we must receive. When we do, we invite so much more than we can even imagine.
Love is just the beginning.
And it’s the greatest love we will ever know. For today and all of eternity. We only need to believe and receive. We only need to open our hearts.
And love will flow in…with a wake of Goodness behind it.