“Looking for love in all the wrong places”….words from a country song that was a hit back in 1981 that came to my mind today.
I read a passage from Luke that jumped off the page and made me think about that old blast from the past. I know I’ve read the verses below many, many times before; but for some reason, today it was like I was reading these words for the very first time:
Jesus was once asked by the Jewish religious leaders, “When will God’s kingdom come?”
Jesus responded, “God’s kingdom does not come simply by obeying principles or waiting for signs.The kingdom is not discovered in one place or another, for God’s kingdom realm is already expanding within some of you.”
Luke 17:20-21 (TPT)
God’s kingdom expanding inside of us. Seriously?!!
It doesn’t come by obeying principles or looking for signs and wonders everywhere around us. It exists because of Jesus, and it dwells right there inside of us. Inside of you. Inside of me.
As a creative, I love being inspired by the beauty of nature or the wonder of a story. I look for inspiration in little, everyday things. I hope to be moved by sunsets, mountains, things of grandeur. And usually I look for all of my inspiration to come from things outside myself.
But this verse makes me realize that very often I look for inspiration and hope and love in all the wrong places.
The thought that God’s kingdom is alive and well and expanding right inside of me is somehow extremely beautiful, yet also intimidating. It’s awesome, but hard to understand at the same time.
Here’s the deal: I don’t feel very special most of the time. Maybe you can relate? More often than I’d like to admit, I don’t feel good enough. I feel like I’ve let God down yet again. I get buried in shame and regret and what-if’s. I feel suffocated by the sense that I’ll never quite get it right.
And here’s the truth, I never WILL get it right. I’m human. And so are you.
And that’s the entire reason Jesus came to earth to die for our sins. None of us will ever get it completely right.
So we look for acceptance, love and a sense of belonging in the world outside of us. We look for it as we seek approval from others and attempt to gain God’s love by our “good works.”
But just like that old song says, we are “looking for love in all the wrong places.”
What if we could tap into the kingdom realm that lives inside our souls right here, right now! No matter what’s happening around us, we have His goodness right there inside of us.
Oh, the freedom!
We have to tell our hearts over and over again that it’s not something we win by good works, but something that is freely given by God’s grace. It’s not something we deserve because we’re so special. It’s simply alive inside of us because of who God is.
And who is God? Pure, complete and infinite LOVE.
I need this truth right now, to be honest. My ministry is still trying to pick up steam after the shutdown, and I feel uneasy about my schedule. We had some great events recently, but I felt a little rusty. I didn’t feel like I did my absolute best. Throw in some wrong notes on my guitar, some awkward transitions, and it’s a recipe for instant feelings of inadequacy. I’m just being real.
But instead of looking outside of myself for acceptance and approval, God’s Word is asking me once again to be still and simply see what’s already planted firmly inside me.
How about you, my friend? Are you looking for love in all the wrong places?
Remember, the love of God is right there inside you!
Hugs and love,