Step 1 —Look Upward

woman in a corn maze

In my last post, “It’s Time for You to Become the Woman God Created You to Be!” I shared a simple, yet profoundly important plan that can get you from where you are now—frustrated, lonely, insecure, and maybe feeling unloved— to where you really want to be spiritually, emotionally, and relationally in life.

We all want to be secure, fully known, completely loved, and empowered to be the very best version of ourselves we can be.

Every woman starts out on this journey unsure, weak, afraid, and in need of help.

Then, she meets a mentor who understands her plight and has been there and who can show her the way and give her a plan that can help her achieve success and avoid failure.

There is a specific path you will need to take if you want to become all you are meant to be.

The secret is Jesus. He is the One who can safely guide us on which way we should go. He has the plan. And not only that, He can give us the power we need to carry out His plan for us.

When women are whole in Christ, they are empowered by God to have divine relationship skills that greatly bless their marriages and other relationships.

There is a more detailed refresher of the 4-Step Peace Plan in the last post in case you didn’t get to see it, but here is the bare-bones version:

  1. Look upward.
  2. Look inward.
  3. Look outward.
  4. Look forward.

Most of us are used to looking at others, our circumstances, and ourselves. We are fixated on space and time. It’s kind of like we are mice in a maze. All we notice is what is horizontally in front of us at the moment. The walls, the openings, and the other mice right around us.

But what a different perspective we could have if we looked upward!

God is not inside of the maze of space and time like we are. He is not limited to each snapshot of a moment. He can see every day in the history of the earth as clearly as He can see today and He can see every future day equally all the time.

He is far above the noise and clamor of this world, but He knows everything that is going on. He can see the entire maze. He knows the beginning. He knows the dead ends. He knows the pitfalls and traps. He knows the enemy’s every thought, action, and strategy to thwart us. He also knows the way out. He did design life, time, and space, after all.

And He can see it from a much more strategic vantage point, which makes Him the perfect Guide for us.

We wear ourselves out running around the maze like crazy trying to figure it all out. But we keep getting frustrated and running into dead ends in our relationships and problems.

Why do we trust ourselves? None of us can see the whole picture!

Yet, if we would stop, be still, and look up, we would see Jesus, high and lifted up in the throne room of heaven reigning in majesty, glory, and authority over the entire universe. We would see myriads of angels praising Him continually. We would see a vast crowd of saints singing to Him and worshipping Him.

He is not a mouse like we are. But He knows our needs and He loves us and wants to provide well for us. He came and lived as a “mouse” on our behalf. He was fully man and fully God all at the same time. He lived in the same circumstances, the same maze. And yet, He made no wrong turns and He conquered the whole thing on our behalf, if only we will trust Him.

Now, He lives in all of His divine glory in the highest heavens with all authority.

Here is the picture we should have of Jesus as He is today—stop and focus completely on these words and imagine every detail in your mind’s eye:


Among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword.His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.  I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Rev. 1:13-18

Imagine that you were standing in front of Jesus and you saw Him like this and that you collapsed in awe and holy fear and reverence. Imagine that He put His hand on your shoulder and said these words directly to you that He spoke to John.

  • How important would His words be to you in that moment?
  • How significant would your problems on earth appear?
  • How difficult would it be to put your faith and trust in Him if you could experience His holiness so tangibly?
  • Would you have any doubt that His wisdom is greater than your own if you could see Him in all of His glory and understand who He is?

As we focus on Him and we see Him in His proper place then we also understand rightly our identity and who we are in Him. There is no room for pride here! No telling God what He better do. Only true humility and thankfulness.

We willingly, gratefully allow Him to be the rightful Good Shepherd of our souls.

We can also begin to see and hear His communication with us about the way we need to go each moment through His Word, through prayer, through circumstances, and through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, as we are sensitive to His voice.

We may not understand why He wants us to take a certain path at the time, but He is looking ahead to the end. He wants what is best for us in light of eternity and what is best for the kingdom. He, alone, is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. What an incredibly Good Father He is for us if we will simply look up in total faith and surrender.

We can trust Him completely.

What if you lived every moment with the knowledge of His presence in your mind and heart like this? What if you received all of Himself that He is offering to you and if you surrendered all of yourself to Him, keeping your gaze always on Him in your spirit?

I want you to get to experience Him, His love, His presence, and His provision more and more every day of your life. There is no greater Gift. There is no greater Love!

He is the Pearl of Greatest Price.

He is worth giving up all else for and sacrificing everything here on earth for so that we can have Him close to us now and forever!

HOW DO YOU LOOK UPWARD?

  1. See who He really is. Examine His character and attributes. Build your entire understanding of God from the truth of the Bible and reject any caricature you may have developed of him in your mind.
  2. Repent from everything that grieves His heart. Turn away from your wisdom, your sin, and anything/anyone else you put on the throne of your life to try to meet your deepest needs for security, identity, fulfillment, love, and empowerment.
  3. Yield completely to His Lordship in faith from this moment on for the rest of your life. Leave everything else behind in your heart and mind and follow Him wholeheartedly with love.
  4. Respond with a life of worship— joyful reverence, awe, love, praise, faith, thanksgiving, and holy fear.

Then— His heart will be filled with joy! He loves to have close fellowship with you! He gave up all of Himself for you. Now you give all of yourself to Him.

You will be blessed to abide in His presence, love, grace, mercy, glory, and beauty. Being close to Him is the best place to be in all existence.

When you look upward like this:

  • God changes your perspective to be more and more like His eternal perspective.
  • God transforms your mind to become more like Jesus.
  • God gives you a new heart, nature, and Spirit.
  • God opens your eyes to see your problems, your trials, other people, and yourself in divine ways.

Problems, trials, and painful things begin to look so tiny and small as you see how big, strong, and mighty He is.

Like the old hymn says,

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

When you look upward, as a child of God, you avoid so many toxic things.

When you keep your gaze on Jesus in worship, love, and surrender, you can’t be filled with fear, worry, anxiety, despair, depression, or frustration.

When you look upward:

  • His perfect love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18)
  • There is no need for worry, anxiety, or frustration when you know who God is and you know who you are in Jesus. (John 15:9)
  • There is no place for despair because you serve a sovereign Lord who has all power, all wisdom, and whose every motive toward you is love! (Phil. 4:6-7)
  • There is no room for discouragement because His promises to you are all true in Christ. (2 Cor. 1:20)
  • You know that there is no condemnation for you (Rom. 8:1).
  • You know that nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord! (Rom. 8:1, 38)
  • You know that He will use all of the problems and difficult things in life, as well as all of the good things, to conform you to the image of Christ and for your ultimate spiritual good and His ultimate glory. So you can’t lose. No matter what happens in this life, when you are in Jesus Christ, you win! (Rom. 8:28-29)

You can choose to have a saving relationship with Jesus today to begin finding life-changing spiritual healing and hope. 

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3

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What is the Lord speaking to you today about this topic?

Why do you think looking upward is a critical first step for a hero to take in her journey?

Do you have a word of encouragement for others?

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE:

I am taking an email break this week. 🙂 You are welcome to comment here. Thanks!

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(Adapted from a message the youth ministers at my church gave to the students)

God designed us as people to desire to be loved and to live in relationships with Himself and with other people. He designed us also to be sexual beings. That is a good thing. God’s design is good.

Sinful people can twist what God made for good into something very destructive.  But we are able to choose to build our lives on the truth of God’s Word and live in the center of His will, experiencing His best for us in every area of our lives.

God wants us – all of us – to experience ULTIMATE LOVE.

  • It is not wrong to want to be loved, that is a good desire
  • It is good to have relationships
  • Being a Christian is not about a long list of rules and “don’ts”
  • Having sexual desires is a good thing, and part of God’s design
  • God created us for His glory. That is our purpose – our highest purpose in life – to glorify Him – in every area of our lives.
  • God has a plan to fulfill our sexual desires in a way that brings glory to Him (Marriage)
  • The key is to build our lives on solid biblical truths and principles and Christ.

 

Ultimate love begins with God.

What is love?

God defines what love is. He IS Love.

This is the kind of love Jesus has for us (Jesus IS God). And this is the kind of love He calls us to have for one another. This is how Jesus wants us to love others and how He wants others to love us.

He wants us to be in right relationship with Him and with people – to have fellowship – to have spiritual and emotional connection and oneness with Him and other believers. Those are the two greatest commands Jesus gives us:

– He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”- to love God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds and with all our strength and to love others as we love ourselves.  Luke 10:27

  • Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:3
  • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13:4-8a
  • Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10
  • Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. I John 4:7-12
  • God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. I John 4:16-21

A cheap imitation of His love does not satisfy.

WORLDLY “LOVE”:

Sinful “love” is SELFISH and passive. It is all about gooey feelings that someone else causes to happen to us. It is willing to hurt other people and their relationships with God. Sinful “love” cares about what SELF wants and SELF gratification and doesn’t care if it hurts the other person.

GODLY LOVE:

Godly love is SELFLESS and active. It cares more about the spiritual/mental/emotional/physical welfare of the other person than it does about meeting its own selfish desires. It is not willing to tempt someone to drive a wedge of sin between himself/herself and God. It does not entice others into sin – dressing or acting provocatively or tempting into sexual sin or any kind of sin. It propels people towards Christ and holiness and spiritual wellness. And it focuses on pleasing Christ above all else.

BASIS OF DATING AND MARRIAGE:

It is only after we have a proper understanding of God and real love and the absolute truth of the Bible that we can begin to build a foundation upon which we can properly construct our values and ideals about dating/romantic relationship and marriage.

We need a close relationship with JESUS FIRST. That relationship HAS to be more important – by far – than any other relationship to us in the world. He is our greatest need and only he can give us the ultimate love, the perfect love, the God-sized love that we all need to feel loved, secure, accepted and to drive out all of our fear. It is only when we have our deepest God-shaped hole and need filled with Jesus, that we can begin to build all of our other relationships on solid ground and truth.

How does my relationship with Christ being first affect my dating/courting relationships?

1. My relationship with Christ affects when I start dating.

i.e.: When I am able to commit to marriage and am spiritually, mentally and emotionally ready to have a healthy, godly relationship.

2. My relationship with Christ affects who I want to date.

I want to abide in Christ and live for Him daily in obedience and in the power of His Spirit, living in total submission to Him as LORD – and I am going to only want to date someone who also wants to live in total submission to Christ as Lord.

3. My relationship with Christ affects why I want to date.

What are my motives?  Do I want to find out if this is someone I may want to marry? Am I willing to not tempt this person into sin? Do I care more about my walk with Christ and this person’s walk with Christ than about meeting my own selfish sexual desires? Do I just want the status of having a “boyfriend”? Do I just want an engagement ring, a wedding, a husband, a home, or children – but not really and truly care much about the man I am with? Do I just want to “feel loved” by a man – maybe more than I want to be close to Christ? Am I willing to do anything to feel loved by a man – including sin? Do I just want a man’s attention and affection? Or do I truly want to be a partner, a blessing, a godly woman and am I ready to prepare to be a godly wife according to the Bible’s instructions?

4. My relationship with Christ affects how I date.

I want to honor Christ in all that I do and bless the man I date and show godly love to him, and he will want to do the same for me. My highest desire is to bring the greatest glory to God through this relationship and every choice I make. I will be careful not to set myself up as a stumbling block to my brother but will seek to live a chaste, godly and holy life that pleases Jesus and blesses my man and others.

FOR WIVES (from Peacefulwife):

My relationship with Christ affects how I define marriage – by God’s Word (Ephesians 5:22-33, I Corinthians 11:3, Titus 2:3-5, Genesis 2 and 3)

My relationship with Christ affects how I act, think and behave towards my husband – seeking to please Jesus and bless my husband and live in the power of God’s Spirit every moment and overflow with God’s  joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Galatians 5:22-23