These three interrelated conquests comprise our existence here and our pursuit of them determines if and how we grow.
The upward journey involves learning to allow God to love us so that we can love Him. Love God (Matthew 22:37). In order to love God, we must learn to open up and receive His love in to our hearts. With that love we can love Him.
The inward journey involves learning to love ourselves as God loves us. Love others as you love yourself (Matthew 22:39). The more we open up and allow God to love us through and through, the more we learn to love ourselves as He does.
The outward journey involves allowing God’s overflow of love in us (that we have received by opening our hearts to Him) to spill out to others. Love one another (John 13:34, John 15:5). The more we allow God to love us and we ourselves in agreement with Him, the more we can love others as He does.
Pursuing regularly these three avenues in our times alone with God and with others allows us to walk progressively and naturally in agreement with God.
Everyone is different and grows at different rates depending on his or her temperament, history and circumstances. For me, the journey began upwardly through many years of seeking God to know Him intimately as He is, not as man portrays Him. As I grew to know Him as He is, He showed me myself as I am and not as man portrays me. And He taught me over and again to trust Him and receive His supernatural love in to my heart. The more I did, the more I was filled with it and able to deal with my issues and love others consistently while keeping my boundaries in place.
Initially, the balancing act was difficult for me to follow. Over the years, however, I have become comfortable in the balance and strive to keep it in spite of certain individuals who try to throw me off course. They are God’s trainers teaching me to become even more rooted in His lessons.
Which journeys have you taken? The upward, inward or outward? And how is God working in your life?
Do two walk together except they make an appointment and have agreed?
I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.
Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light–which are heavy?]
And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).
This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.
And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.
I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.
John 15:12, 17
This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you.
This is what I command you: that you love one another.
1 John 5:2
By this we come to know (recognize and understand) that we love the children of God: when we love God and obey His commands (orders, charges)–[when we keep His ordinances and are mindful of His precepts and His teaching].