Take a moment. Envision your depiction of an invasion. Maybe that’s an invasion of privacy. Maybe it’s an invasion of space, or maybe an invasion of trust. Invasion is intrusive and disturbing. It’s uncalled for and more than likely unforeseen. This is an image that a lot of people, even some fellow Christians, like to paint of our God. They often illustrate Him as a behavior modifier or a dictator. These depictions are far from the truth, and far from what God wants you to think of Him. God is not solely seeking obedience, behavior modification, or sacrifice. Those are all great and essential factors when it comes to God’s kingdom heirs. However, they are simply byproducts of accepting a meaningful and genuine invitation. This is an invitation of Perfect, Unconditional, and Radical Love.
All too often we get caught up in the do, do, and do more. We get caught up in purpose, calling and serving. God is all for our submission to the things He asks of us in His word, but what are good deeds without a transformed heart? True transformation of the heart cannot come without acceptance of an invitation to encounter Perfect Love. Perfect Love is God. Perfect Love is knowing God. Because God is Love (1 John 4:8). So many people that I have talked to tell me that their biggest reason for not going to church or not wanting to become a Christian is because they aren’t ready to submit to a “boring” life of God’s “rules,” or that they are not willing to “give up” their lifestyle just yet. They describe Christianity as though they need to transform their identity before they can settle. They feel as though God would not be pleased with their lifestyle decisions or their daily habits, but God is already aware of all these things and still sends an invitation of submission to His love.
I love the way my favorite author, David G. Benner, puts it in his book Surrender to Love: “If He (God) simply wanted compliance, He could have created a race of automatons. But desiring communion with beings enough like Him to make intimacy possible, He created humans.” God’s end goal is not invasion or dictation. He wants more than change of habits and more than obedience. God desires intimacy and desire for relationship with Him above all things.
I remember staying up late on a work night several months ago. This particular night, my husband and I decided to sleep at my parents’ house, and we were all sitting by the fire talking life. Midnight struck, and I was growing sleepy. I knew my husband and I had to be up early for work, so I commenced my journey to bed. But before I could get off the couch, my dad said, “Don’t go to bed yet! We just got to the good talks!” A simple request that I denied sharply because I couldn’t sacrifice sleep. But out of good deed and guilt, I retreated to my seat in the conversation. However, my dad, then, proceeded with a statement that stung: “Well I don’t want you to stay up with us, if it’s not something you want to do.” A conviction that leads me back to our Heavenly Father. See, God doesn’t want us to do things because we feel that we HAVE to or are forced to. God simply wants us to LOVE him and surrender enough to Him that our intimacy results in obedience to his commandments and requests. He wants us to desire to obey him, not to begrudgingly do as He says because we feel that we have no other choice.
In the formula to result in relationship with God, surrender comes before obedience. Accepting the invitation of love comes before submission to good deeds and following commandments. God’s perfect love is not something to be afraid or hesitant of, for fear indicates punishment and, in fact, “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). Instead, God invites you into His embrace and refuses to invade your willingness. God gave us a free will that we would choose relationship with Him on our own rather than forcing us into His control.
My friends, for those of us who haven’t experienced Perfect Love, He awaits your acceptance of His invitation to position yourself for surrender. He doesn’t need us to change who we are before we come to Him, because when we truly encounter Him the obedience and submission not only becomes possible, it comes naturally as a byproduct of your intimacy. For those of us who are preoccupied with the “doing” part of Christianity, rather than the “loving” part, I encourage a soul check-in with the One who called you in the first place. Are we doing it begrudgingly, fists clenched, and nose up in the air with pride? Self-abandonment is the answer in this case. Give it all to Him, the one we aim to please, and let us remind ourselves of the first time we accepted the invitation from Perfect Love.
My name is Crystal Wojdyla (VOY-DEE-WAH). That’s a little difficult to say, so feel free to just say Wojo (WHOA-JOE)! I am a writer, fitness enthusiast, passionate speaker and dreamer always pointing to the name of Jesus.
Now, to be transparent, nothing in this world makes me happier than a book in hand and a cup of coffee that’s darker than night. I enjoy runs along Lake Michigan, traveling, and making people do burpees. Just kidding. I am, however, in the process of becoming an NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and love all things fitness.
I was born and raised in the city of Chicago; sometimes it’s beautiful, and other days it’s winter! But a Chicago gal, I shall always be. I am blessed to be married to a phenomenal, God-fearing man, who goes by the name of Anthony August. My home church is @peoplechurch in Chicago. We are always looking to connect Jesus to people and people to Jesus.
Above all, nothing screams Crystal more than my love for Jesus. Through all the challenges and changes I have encountered in this lifetime, I know one thing that remains consistent: my passion for articulating God’s heart to His people. I pray one day to speak globally and write countless books to show people the IMPOSSIBLE that God is capable of.
I’m a trailblazer because I speak boldly in my writing the truths that God has revealed to me in my relationship with Him, in hopes of guiding others into their own personal encounter with Him.
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