As we grow in dependence upon God, knowing our weakness and yet receiving His strength, our love and gratitude unto God grow and expand.

Refusing Partiality

by Dana Candler
2 months ago Christian Living

This is an excerpt from Dana Candler’s book Entirety: Love Gives All.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15

Perhaps one of the greatest surprises and perplexities as I have journeyed with the Lord—seeking to love Him with all that I am, heart, soul, mind, and strength—is how quickly I lose the strength of my devotion. I find myself in need of constant realignment with the very things that burned within me just a few days prior. It truly requires desperation to love God with everything.

The enemies of love are many, and Satan’s greatest strike is at the simplicity of devotion that we began the journey with (2 Corinthians 11:3). Yet this is not a cause for lost hope. For as strong as the enemy and fierce the foes of wholeheartedness before God, ten thousand times greater is His own jealousy, His own power to protect and overcome every opponent, if only I continually respond to His leading and His love.

Jesus is deeply acquainted with my weakness, my propensity to lose my focus, and my inability to sustain the fire of my own heart, and yet none of these limitations are troublesome to Him. His confidence to bring me into the perfection of love is in His own strength and not mine. He is not looking for a love devoid of all weakness but a love that adamantly cleaves to His own divine might over and over again. This is how love wins over its enemies—first, by God’s own relentless jealousy and power; and second, by my continuous, full response to Him.

God has given us many pictures in creation to depict the spiritual principle that love must be persistently cultivated if it is to excel. One of the most repeated pictures is that of a garden, symbolizing our inner life in God (Song of Solomon 4:12Mark 4:3–20). To struggle with weeds is not wickedness, but letting them grow unchecked is. The only way to have a weed-free garden is by actually pulling the weeds day after day. This involves considerable labor, but the rewards of enjoying unhindered love and fruitfulness far outweigh the effort.

The Vow Amidst Weakness

As I have found this continual need to reconnect with my vision and regularly stir myself to return to the “first works” of my first love, I have often felt great disillusionment as to how I could lose my way so quickly (Revelation 2:5). Yet in this disillusionment, the Lord has revealed again and again that what is a surprise to me is not a surprise to Him. He knows that we cannot fulfill it without His power and perfect leadership. Yet He does not despise it but receives it as real love for Him.

Our vows to the Lord are something given and something offered over and over, every few days, realigning our hearts, resisting dullness, and re-signing up once more. This is actually how it looks to move forward in love. Who would have thought that love would look so weak? Yet God knew it all along. He is not looking for perfect track records but for a continual receiving of His heart and His strength day by day as we progress along our way in love.

This process of growing in love is weak the whole way, in the sense that those most mature are those most dependent upon the Lord. In this life, we never graduate from our weakness. And yet, in another sense, we get stronger and stronger because our love for God and our gratitude for His kindness to us grow increasingly.

As we grow in dependence upon God, knowing our weakness and yet receiving His strength, our love and gratitude unto God grow and expand. As our experience of His love amidst our weakness increases, we become ruined for any lesser thing and increasingly willing to forsake all things that keep us in any way hindered from knowing and experiencing His heart. And this is the progression of how God perfects love in us. He first “ruins” us by His love and then, in the midst of that ruined state, He invites us to yield ourselves to Him in every way.

God the Jealous Husband

God is a jealous lover. He wants all of us in every measure, desiring to overcome within us every small area of compromise, sin, and darkness. When we say yes to Him, He says yes to our willing heart and begins the great takeover of every intricate part of us. He begins the gradual subduing of every part of us, yet with an incessant dedication to never violate our free will, refusing to move forward in this conquering at any level unless we are fully and completely willing and wanting His holy advancement in our lives.

We see this aspect of the heart of God greatly portrayed in the Song of Solomon journey, when Jesus comes to the young Bride as one leaping upon the mountains, powerfully conquering all the opponents of love (Song of Solomon 2:8–10). With zeal and abandon, He invites her to arise to the mountains with Him, to leave behind the fears and small compromises that subtly hinder and destroy her love.

Up until this point in the Song, Jesus’s main objective in leading the Bride forward in love is to convince her of His unyielding and unrelenting affection for her. In absolute joy, the Bride has responded to His love, saying of Him that His love is far superior to any lesser pleasures in all the created order (Song of Solomon 1:2–2:4). Still in spiritual infancy, she has no idea the Lord is about to come and disrupt her spiritual haven out of His fierce commitment to bring her into spiritual maturity and ultimately true partnership with Himself.

From Sincerity to Entirety

This scene in the Song of Solomon storyline portrays a great crossroads on the expedition of loving God. It is the point on love’s journey where sincerity must meet severity and be converted into entirety. This is where the Lord brings each one of us as we move forward with Him in holy devotion. He wills to gradually and progressively convert our initial sincerity into an eventual entirety, overcoming every enemy that keeps us bound and subduing every compromise and fear that holds us back.

Jesus wants all of us and not just a part. He is jealous that we would not remain in the place of immaturity (though our hearts are sincere) but move into the fullness of love, where our love is entire. A husband that truly loves his wife could never say to her, “I have reached the point where my love for you stops. I’ll love you this much, but not more.” Love is not love if it remains stagnant—it must keep conquering until it has won altogether.

The Wound of Love

In order to give God our everything, surrendering to Him in every area from small to great, we need to be wounded with what saints in history called the “incurable wound.” We need our hearts to be moved in a deeply personal way by the person of Christ, filled with undying passion. It is this passion—this delightful and incurable wound—that will contribute most to the great conversion of our souls.

Rather than looking for a way of escape from His incessant invitation, when my heart has undergone the wounding of love, I become desperate to find another bridge to burn, another compromise to flee, another fear to forsake, so that Jesus might enjoy even more of His inheritance in me, and so that I might live and taste even more freely of that glorious realm of being wholly His. It is this wounding of love—imposed upon my heart by the one who is love—that will ultimately make possible so great a surrender.

At the end of the story, love will triumph over all. The love of perfection will remain, while all that is in part will be done away (1 Corinthians 13:8–10). What began from eternity past in trinitarian love, in that far-reaching realm that we can only form so faint of a conception, will culminate in a triumphant takeover, a winning victory as God’s relentless love is returned from His people with an unrelenting, abandoned response.

How can you experience more of God’s great love?

God created us with an innate desire to be wholehearted—to love in a way that He Himself loves, entirely and without reservation. In Entirety: Love Gives All, Dana Candler focuses on the nature of love to give all, both as it burns in God’s heart and as it arises from ours. Discover how to love God with full abandonment in the present and not just in the future. Learn more >>

Dana Candler

position

  • Speaker and Author

Dana Candler lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, Matt, and their four children. She and Matt serve on the leadership team of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City. Dana is also an instructor at International House of Prayer University, a full-time Bible school. She is the author of Deep Unto Deep: The Journey of the Immesurable Love of Christ, Entirety: Love Gives All, and Mourning for the Bridegroom.

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