Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's All About Love

Back to my question, "Is there a way to change that doesn't have to do with earning?"   I will start with one of my old journal entries:

S) We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God.  It was all given to us by God's own power, when we learned that he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)
O) God has already given me everything I need to please him.  When I learned he loves me, he accepts me, he wants me to share in His goodness--that understanding pleases Him, and everything that happens as a result of that faith is simply His power at work.
A) I don't need to make things happen.  God is in control.  I need to rest in the knowledge of His great love.  Why is that so hard?
P) Help me always to trust you Lord.  Not my own ability.

It is my firm belief that the church has gotten this all backward.  The church emphases effort...striving to please God with obedience and sacrifice.  This will produce one of two things:

1) guilt for not being able to measure up, or
2) pride in being such a better Christian than everyone else.

The thing that it does not produce, (which is the only thing that matters) is love.  Our love for God should only result from an understanding (with the heart...not the head) of His love for us--NOT a constant worry and striving about what we need to be doing in order to gain God's love and approval.  I ask in my application above, "Why is this so hard?", and I think the answer is, "because of the ego".  Our ego, (which I think is the same thing as the  "old Adam"...see "I'm Not Playing" post) is constantly wanting attention.  Our ego is in competition with everyone--the adoration and praise it seeks has to do with accomplishment. So, when we feel we aren't accomplishing what God wants us to do, we feel depressed, because our ego tells us what failures we are.  (or we become fixated on everyone else's short comings)

We need to learn how to "let go and let God", (ugh, I know...who doesn't hate that saying?) but this is a tremendously difficult thing to do.  How do we 'surrender' to (or feel safe with) a God that, when we take a look around, doesn't seem to have anything under control.  Isn't it our responsibility to be the 'hands and feet' of Jesus--and fix the world's sufferings?  The problem is, hands and feet can only function because of the mind.  If we are not connected to 'the mind of Christ', then we are only going to be making a bigger mess of things. (as much as we so wish we could have everyone around us applauding our great service for Christ)

It starts with love.  If your wondering if your connected with the mind of Christ, then ask yourself, "Do I believe I'm loved?"  I used to hate the saying, "You have to love yourself before you can love others", because it seemed selfish to me. (my Christian upbringing taught me that)  It's true though.  If you can't sit with the assurance you are loved right where you are, you need to let go of everything your doing and ask God to convince you. This is where your 'effort' should be--just spending some alone time with God to try to get to know Him in a real way. (I hate to even say "Him", because God is not male or female--but I can't really say "it" either. Maybe I'll make this the subject of my next post, because relating to God as a gender is a big deal I think, especially for women)

One more old journal entry on this subject:

S) I want you to know all about Christ's love, although it is too wonderful to be measured.  Then your lives will be filled with all that God is...His power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. (Eph. 3:19-21)
O) Knowing, understanding, accepting God's love into our lives is the key to change.  He is capable of doing far more than we dare ask--wow!  We can be filled with all that God is when we know His love!
A) I want to seek after Christ's love.  It's there--but so hard to grasp because of all my wrong thinking.
P) Lord, I don't want to settle for having a little of your love.  I want to be filled up--and experience far more than I can imagine of who you are.