The man we were praying for was young, maybe early 20’s. Through experiences with this young man over the past day I knew that he was searching. His heart was crying out for something more, something greater than he currently knew.
I had prayed for him the night before and knew that God touched his heart in some way but there was nothing dramatic that happened which is totally fine but I did feel like God wanted to do more.
So he had come forward again and while we were listening for the leading of the Lord my wife spoke up and said, “Uncross your arms.”
I noticed then that the young man had his arms tightly crossed over his chest and remembered that the night before he also stood with his arms crossed. As he uncrossed his arms I heard the Lord tell me to have him raise his hands and say, “I receive it.”
So I told the young man what I’d heard and he lifted his hands. As soon as he said the words, “I receive it,” his knees started to shake and a moment later we were struggling to keep him from crashing against the wall and chairs that were a little too close as the power of God fell on him in such a way that he couldn’t stand.
I think that there are probably a lot of things we could learn from this but one sticks out in my mind at this point. That is: What we really believe is not evidenced by what we say but by what we do, how we live. Action is a statement of belief.
What I feel like the Lord revealed about this awesome young man was that his heart and desire for more of God was and is precious. That the problem wasn’t in the young mans desire to love. It didn’t have anything to do with his love for God. It was obvious that the man loved God and desired to know Him more. The problem was entirely in the young mans ability to believe that God truly loves him back.
I’m not sure he even realized he had crossed his arms but what he was essentially saying was, “I’m doing my best to know you but I’m not worthy of your love back so I’m not going to make myself vulnerable. I’m not going to open myself up to you because I don’t believe you’ll like what you see.”
This is a current of belief that flows through so many of us. It was in me for many years. We need to see it for what it is; a lie! It’s a little strange to think that believing a lie has the power to keep us from the intimacy God wants with us but it does. To the extent God has given us free will He will not violate it. If we don’t want to open ourselves up to Him He won’t force us.
But as soon as we are ready to expose the lies that have become our reality, tear them down and risk opening ourselves up to His loving hands, He is ready to pour so much of Himself on us that we’ll wonder how in the world we could’ve ever been afraid in the first place.
He loves us. He REALLY does. We need to stop coming to Him with our arms crossed and open our hearts which will open our arms to be embraced, cherished and adored by Him.
Jesse and Kara Birkey
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