“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
It’s about that time of year again. The month where we celebrate love and all the chocolatey goodness it entails. Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite days to celebrate. I so enjoy getting to spoil my friends and loved ones with love and encouragement and most of all, words of affirmation (where ya at type twos?!!). I believe there is such beauty in having a day dedicated to the ones you love, when you get to spoil them and love on them just because. But on the other hand, so many individuals spend this month being sad, depressed and drowning in self pity. This makes me so sad. Also around this time, I have heard the encouragement to “just follow your heart, and all good things will come to you in time.” I don’t know about you all, but the majority of the time I have tried to follow my heart, good things didn’t fall into my lap.
In fact, those were the times that I felt most defeated by the devil.
God has been teaching me a lot recently (over the past year or so) but I think the main thing he is teaching me is this: deny deny deny DENY your flesh, walk in the spirit and just watch me do my thing.
I know that God made me special and unique, and I also know he made me very, VERY emotional. In my flesh, I am one of THE most emotional people I know (and sometimes that makes me very hard to deal with).
I think when “deny your flesh” is said, most people think about sexual immorality. Which is definitely fleshly and definitely needs to be denied. However, God has been showing me so many things aside from sexual immorality that I need to deny. Things like allowing my mind to wonder, thinking about the future too much, reacting to situations the way I want to, saying things when I want to say them, wanting to take the lead (when I know I’ve been called to sit back and relax… THE WORST), speaking the way I want to speak to people that I am unhappy with, etc.
Galatians 5:16 says “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” The flesh lusts so much more than the significant other. It lusts control, pride, selfishness, justice, love defined by the world, fitting in… the list goes on and ON. This verse has helped me to hold reigns on my heart and walk in the spirit and literally daily… hourly, deny my flesh.
In my singleness, I learned to deny my flesh and not go searching for love just anywhere I could find it. I knew God called me to set higher standards than that for the one I am meant to be with. And he calls every christian to set high standards and to wait for someone whom you are equally yoked with. It’s hard because your heart wants what it wants. But I promise, being obedient to the call of patience is totally worth it, and the right one will come along someday if that is God’s plan for your life. And if not, who says you can’t thrive single???
I encourage you today, and the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, don’t allow your heart to let your feelings weave deeply into your soul. Whether you are lonely, or just getting through a break up, or sad or depressed, seek the Lord’s gifts of peace, joy, and love. Deny the way your heart wants to think and feel and tell yourself that you are deeply loved and significant to the only one who’s opinion truly matters.
Like the wonderful Sean Curran says, “Why should my heart grow weary? Don’t be so downcast O my soul, Lord, You are in every moment. You are my greatest miracle.”
Last thing and then I am finished…
The Lord often calls us to do things outside of our comfort zone, which in turn causes us to deny our fleshly desire to say no.
At the beginning of last semester, my former sunday school teacher, Zach Taylor, was asking me for updates about my life and after I had finished sharing with him he said a sentence I will never forget: “Just be where you’re supposed to be and God will do the rest.” What he meant by that is, if you are in the center of God’s will for your life and seeking a relationship with him above all else, all blessings will be added to you. You won’t have to go searching for “the one,” you won’t have to search for contentment, you won’t have to search for joy. Jesus is all of those things, and he is ultimately all you will ever need. The more we rest in him and the promises of his word, the more our heart’s desires will align with the desires he has for us. Just let him be the miracle worker.
From this moment on, I have asked God about every decision I have made. And I started experiencing fruits of the spirit like I had never experienced them before. All because I decided to listen to those wiser than I, and the call of the Lord, and make a simple decision to be obedient.
Obedience begins with denying your flesh.
Be obedient today. Deny the feelings of insecurity, doubt, loneliness, anger, fear. Those are not from the Lord. What is from the Lord?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.Galations 5:22-25
Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you all feel deeply loved and valued by our Savior, Jesus Christ, because he has counted you worthy to die for.