Right about halfway through the semester, I hit a low point where I just did not have the strength to go on. In the midst of struggling both inwardly and outwardly, I started to feel that I was never going to make it through this Christian journey. Such a feeling worsened as the days went by, and at such a low state, the enemy was quick to attack me with this thought:
“Do you really love God? How can you still say that you love God when there is not a single bit of love in you? How can you call yourself a Christian if you don’t even love God?”
On one hand, I knew this was an accusation from the enemy, but on the other hand, I was defenseless to this attack. I saw that I was short of love and that I kept failing, but I was stuck here. I did not know how to bring the Lord into my situation.
Frustrated, I went out for a walk and opened myself to the Lord, just as I was. I told the Lord, “Lord, I’m stuck. I don’t know what to do, and I have no strength to go on. I see that I have no love in myself, but I don’t quite see You as the One who is love. You need to reveal Yourself to me. Be so real to me in this situation.” I didn’t realize how frustrated and desperate I was feeling until I started crying out to Him. Of course, nothing immediately changed in my being or in my environment, but I felt that as I was pouring out to the Lord, I was letting go of all that I was “trying” to do, even to love Him.
A couple days later, the Lord gave me the answer to my searching while I was listening to a message. The message was about loving the Lord with our first love (what great timing) in the context of Revelation 2:4, and halfway through, a verse spoke directly into my being. It was 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.” When this verse was spoken, all the confusion and frustration within me just dissipated. Up until this point, I was basically demanding the Lord to tell me what He wanted me to do, and the answer was, “We love because He first loved us.” It was as though He was telling me, “Allow Me to love you. You can only love when I love you first. Stop trying to love, just let Me love you. Just keep opening to Me. I am love.” All this time, the Lord simply wanted me to let Him love me first. Every day, He was waiting for me to open and be infused with His love. With this love, I could love Him and those around me.
The lover in Song of Songs 1:4 said, “Draw me; we will run after you.” We run because He first draws us. We love because He first loves us. On our part, we simply need to open and let the Lord love us. God has poured out His love into our hearts (Rom. 5:5), and it is this very love of God that constrains us to live to Him (2 Cor. 5:14). Our Christian life is a life of being constrained by the Lord’s love!
That day, I was subdued, drawn, and freed by the Lord’s love all over again. My confused and frustrated prayers were simply turned into, “Lord, draw me. You need to draw me so that I can run after You. I only love because You loved me first. Because You love me, I love You. Thank You that there is no other way and there is no need to try. I simply open to let You love me. You are the source of my love. You are the love with which I love You and Your household.”
Whenever we feel defeated because we do not love the Lord, I hope we will remember that we love because He first loved us. We also overcome the enemy’s accusing us for our lack of love by letting Him love us; Romans 8:34 says, “In all these things we more than conquer through Him who loved us.” To love the Lord and to conquer the enemy, we just need to allow the Lord to love us, and be drawn by the Lord to love Him.
We can even declare this to the enemy as the word of our testimony (Rev. 12:11), “You’re right that I have no love in myself. But God who is love has poured out His love into my heart. I love because He first loves me. I run this Christian race not by my own effort but because He draws me.” Satan will always point fingers at us, but we can redirect him and also ourselves back to the Lord. The more we look at Him and tell Him, “Lord Jesus, I love You,” the more we are drawn by Him to love Him more.
By Charlotte Yang