Vineyard Retreat

I went on a spiritual retreat with my church this weekend.  As I’ve only been a member of my church for about 1 1/2 years, it was so good just to get to know people at a deeper level.

Something I’ve kind of known before but God has brought again to my attention: John of the Cross had a progression of love: love for pleasure’s sake, love for love’s sake, and then love for God’s sake.  Often when we first experience the love of God being poured into our hearts, it is so good we respond to it like a drug.  We crave it.  We want the pleasure.  So what does the Lord do?  He retreats, allowing us to grow up.  It’s a little bit like weaning a nursing baby.  In his temporary retreat from allowing us to sit easily in His presence, He is, in fact, paying us a great compliment:  “you are ready for the next step in walking with me.”

I think many Christians hit this phase and the enemy comes in and says, “See, it was all just an emotional high.  It’s not real!”  Little do they know that after learning what God has for them, that there are new and higher experiences of God’s love and power that await them if they press in!  When a trial hits and you don’t feel the Lord’s presence, instead of responding, “I guess I’m missing God,” ask, “God, what are your purposes in this?” And press in to Him!  God is weaning you.  He is disciplining you.  He is teaching you to grow up so that one day, you can pour your life out to Him not because of what you get in return (though this will be good), but because your whole life’s calling is to please Him and worship Him, knowing that He is worth it.

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