Terms such as ‘living in community’ and ‘family’ usually scare me. The reason? I’ve been scarred by people in the past. Many of us struggle with receiving love. There is probably not a single adult in this world who hasn’t been hurt by other people during his or her lifetime. In this teaching, my heart was transformed by stories and illustrations that Leslie Crandall used to demonstrate the power of living in community. When we know how loved we are by Father God, and let His love overflow in us, it is possible for us to flourish in our relationships with other people.
Credits: Teaching by Leslie Crandall, BSSM First Year 2015/2016
‘RECEIVING LOVE’: BSSM LECTURE NOTES
Almost all people have been scarred by other people who have hurt them. It is difficult to walk on this earth and never step on a thorn. We need to learn to walk in love in the midst of being scarred.
1 John 4: 7-19
“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.
My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.”
If we don’t fully realize how much He loves us – and connect with this mature love – then it is difficult to love others. Ask this important question: “God, how much am I allowing You to love me?” You won’t be able to see God’s value for community unless you receive God’s perfect love that drives out fear.
YOUR PAST CAN’T TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE
One of Leslie’s spiritual sons came to her and her husband 10 years ago and admitted that he struggled with porn. God showed her this picture: a jug of water and a glass. The glass was filled with mud at the bottom. She threw the water into the glass and then it was a big mess. Then she kept filling up the glass with more and more water until it overflowed. She continued doing so. In the end, it was crystal clear and all the mud was washed away. The jug filled with water represents God’s love that He pours into our hearts. The glass with the mud at the bottom represents our hearts.
Sometimes you come to a place such as BSSM and all of a sudden feel a lot of things bubbling to the surface and you feel like a big mess. When the love of God flows through you, there will often be things that come to the surface that you didn’t even know were hindering you from experiencing His perfect love. However, it is better to deal with these issues, because the things at the bottom of your ‘glass’ will eventually become manifest. And if you can do so in a culture of love, even better.
God isn’t intimidated by your mess. He is more interested in what is pouring into you than what is coming out. Just let His love flow through you until you are ‘clean’.
It is very important to share the love that God has put into your heart. Your destiny is not in the hands of people. You need to know that your destiny is in the wisdom of heaven. Who HE says you are is EVERYTHING. When you know who you are in God, you become a great contributor to the community around you.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
LIVING IN COMMUNITY
Leslie started to get anxiety attacks while she was studying at ministry school. She couldn’t figure out why because she followed Jesus in every way. The only time these anxiety attacks lifted was when people around her prayed for her. Living in community is powerful, and to feel love, we need to show people who we really are. All of this needs to happen in a safe place.
You always have an option to show people the ‘real you’ or the ‘plastic you’. The ‘plastic you’ always has everything in order and it is perfect. But when people are giving you love or compliments while you only show them the ‘plastic you’, their love will bounce off because plastic can’t absorb anything. You need to show people the ‘real you’ because this can truly receive and absorb love and be transformed.
If you begin to see the beauty of Jesus in people, it is easy to fall in love with them. Living in community is not about making it all about you – it is about loving the people around you.
The power of community creates personal breakthrough. This is because there is so much freedom in love. Shame hides. Do you want to empower freedom or hidden things and shame?
Trust that as you put yourself out there, love will meet you. You need to link up with people who you know you can trust and become a person who is trustworthy.
If you begin to recognize and be aware of who God is, you will experience Jesus that way.
Love heals. We all know that truth, but we starve ourselves from it.
Ask yourself: “Father, what have I been hiding from you?”