by the Rev. Melanie Dees Campbell
Why were you created? Why was I? We were created to know, love and serve God and it is a fantastic realization to know why we live. Our purpose, no matter what station or stage we find ourselves in life, is not just to receive God's love, but to show our Lord how much we love in return.
To love as God loves is an ongoing process of relationship, giving him ourselves entirely, communing by the Holy Spirit, studying the Holy Scriptures, worshipping him and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Forgiving others, loving them as God loves them actually perfects us. Interceding for others, who may be thorns in our flesh, can be a blessing in disguise. Sincerely praying for others, the way we would want to be prayed for, is loving God in action.
The reciprocal relationship of love with our Lord is a developmental journey on this narrow path we call life, proven to him by how we love. Sometimes our life of loving as God loves is exciting and exuberant, other times gut wrenching and difficult.
It reminds me of when I backpacked. Trails could be smooth with breathtaking views but then could twist and turn and suddenly you could stumble on rough terrain caused by a rock slide or a trail washout from heavy rain. Resting, you could be surprised by a snake slithering out from the fallen tree trunk where you sat. You could observe a wild animal watching you. It could be beautiful, exhausting, exciting, and educational but inspiring as it furthered a deeper communion with the Lord, Adonai.
Once upon the trail, it was my own two feet, putting one foot in front of the other that would enable me to finish; no one could do it for me yet I was never alone. I hiked with the Lord but also had an earthly intercessor. My husband would encourage me, exhort me and sometimes cry and laugh with me -- think of "Lucy I'm home" in the wilderness -- but I had to do the walk. Later when I went out without my husband I knew he would be prayerfully interceding at the base camp. Backpacking and trail blazing is best experienced with the Lord because you make better decisions. Like life, you discover the course is best set when walking and talking with God but true success is always aided by an intercessor who knows God's unconditional love.
Prayers of intercessory faith are a gift of love you can offer to God. You may not always see the results but God does. The Lord hears our prayers and answers them for the souls of others. It is wonderful to discover the developmental growth within our own hearts, knowing that there is less of self and more of him because God is love. 1 John 4:8 "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love".
The Shema -- hear in Hebrew-- of Deut. 6:5 "... love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength" is what Yeshua/Jesus taught as the greatest commandment and then he taught the second commandment is like it. "You shall love your neighbor as you do yourself" (Matt. 22:39).
Loving others as ourselves through intercessory prayer, draws us closer to experiencing the intimacy of knowing God, providing more spiritual opportunities, so that the love for our Lord within us continually grows and glorifies him.
I pray in the love of the Lord for those he puts on my life's trail because I desire to mature in having more of Jesus/Yeshua and less of me. It is my hope that you too pray for those in your life; be they the thorns or the roses.
Shalom and blessings