Because experiencing your loyal love is better than life itself,
my lips will praise you. For this reason I will praise you while I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalm 63:3-4, NET) An artist called Derek Webb once said “great pop music writers - essentially what they’re doing is they’re just building great Trojan horses.” I’ve found in my conversations with God over the years that the Holy Spirit has taken those Trojan horses of pop music, film, and culture and has filled them with powerful, life-changing revelations of God’s love and grace. One of these Trojan horses has been a line from the film Moulin Rouge, which I watched at least fifty times as a young kid. In the course of the film everything is shaped by that old Nat King Cole song: “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” That’s been a statement that God has allowed to shape my life before I even began to know Jesus and it’s a statement that continues to remind me that God’s love is “better than life itself.” It’s that simple and beautiful - Jesus is better. I have known the love of God to be better than any human relationship, better than any comfort, any blessing, or anything that could ever be found on this earth. Jesus is better. In these days of lockdown and isolation, I have felt the tangible love of God in the Holy Spirit comforting me in my nights filled with weeping - the nights where I questioned whether I’m worthy of or able to be loved at all. In my crying out, God entered into another Trojan horse and reminded me of the words I’ve sung over and over again: “I Would Die 4 U,” and in that moment, I was reminded just how sweet it is to be loved by God and the joy to love the Lord in response. The Lord’s love meets me in the extraordinary encounters in the Holy Spirit speaking boldly and powerfully. But even more so, the Lord’s love has met me in the ordinary and mundane moments - in a song on the radio, in the embrace of a friend (which I long to feel again), in the taste of my morning coffee, and the silence of solitude alone with the Lord. I’m learning in this season of lockdowns and lack of control of every aspect of my life to be more attentive to the loving kindness of God in the mundane moments of my day. I’m still learning just how much better the love of Jesus is, and I think it’ll be the joy of my life to keep learning the breadth, length, height, and depth of the love of Christ that surpasses all things (Ephesians 3:18-19). Yours in spirit, Leslie Hall
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life and may have it abundantly." (John 10:10, NET)
How have you experienced Jesus' invitation to an abundant life? How have you experienced the love of God in both the mundane and extraordinary?
Are there areas of your life in which you are trusting in other things to bring abundant life that can only be found in Jesus? How could God be calling you to a deeper dependence on the Holy Spirit to lead you to the life you were created to live for God's glory? (Remember, there is no condemnation in Christ; we die to sin and experience new life by the same power that raised Christ.)