Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Focus on Love

by Donna L. Watkins

With a month behind me since the new year began, I find myself still challenged with wanting to focus on one topic / attribute of God that I can truly grab better hold of before the end of this year.  I've had a challenge choosing only one, but then I'm so used to multi-tasking that it's always hard for me to choose one thing to focus on.  That seems to be "the nature in us" in the society we live in.

What would Jesus say is the most important thing to focus on?  How about LOVE?

© Donna L. Watkins - The Seed Within
"This sculpture is based on a macro look at a micro world.

If you look at even the smallest seedpod and slowly start peeling
it away, you discover within exists the complex structural world."
--  Frank Holder, the Artist - View Enlarged Image
Jesus emphasized how important love was in our lives.  To understand God's love and have that love flow through us to others.  To understand that we are one with Him. He in us and we in Him. The illustration of the vine and branches in John 15 helps us to understand the abiding that we need to do in Christ to receive all that is ours through Him. The more I fall in love with God, the deeper I find the well to be.

What a huge package!  And notice that the emphasis is on His love for us.  Not our love for Him.  Our human love is nothing compared to His agape love.  We use the word love for silly things compared to what it means when we're talking about God's kind of love for us.  We love ice cream, chocolate, our pets, sports, etc. God loves us enough to come to earth and die for us.  What a contrast!

Paul's prayer in Ephesians 3:16-19 has been my prayer often in the past months ..."that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."

This indicates it is a knowing of the heart since it surpasses knowledge which for me implies something we know in our mind.  Jesus often spoke of having eyes to see and ears to hear, but He was talking to people who had both externally, so He was speaking of seeing and hearing with our hearts.

If we knew this kind of love, we wouldn't have to "try" to be obedient.  We wouldn't have to "make ourselves" what we think we should be.  New year resolutions have many people making lists of their greatest weaknesses so they can "do better" this year on pleasing God.

Fact is, we already please God.  Our actions have nothing to do with how God loves us.  If that were so, He wouldn't have bothered with Adam and Eve after their betrayal with the serpent.  He certainly wouldn't be talking with Cain after he treacherously killed his brother, nor would he have given Cain a mark to protect him from being killed (Genesis 4:9-15).  That doesn't make sense to us if we believe we have to be holy to fellowship with God.

That kind of love seems unattainable and yet now and then I see a glimpse of it in human form as I pass through this world.  I know it's possible.  We can all think of Mother Teresa.  You could not do in human strength what she accomplished on this earth.  Only God's kind of love could flow as it did in her.  We all catch glimpses of this kind of love.  I suppose it's a reminder from God that it is possible if we choose to "seek God with all our heart."

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones." Proverbs 3:5-8

What a promise and reward for leaning into our Lord; for resisting the urge to go with what we think is the right thing rather than knowing the Word and always lining up our decisions with that Word.  It's not quality time that builds relationships, it's quantity and quality time.  Relationships take time and it's not different if we want to deepen our walk with our Lord.  Not to earn His favor, but to be who we were created to be.  A friend of God.

© Donna L. Watkins - Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
Maturing Into First Year Plumage - Brookgreen Gardens, SC
God made the entire universe and then created man to place in it so he would have a deep relationship with his loving Creator.  The God of the Universe wants to fellowship, walk and talk with us.  Sometimes I can't even focus in on anything because my mind cannot comprehend that kind of god or that kind of love.

And in that I believe is why we don't see happening all that the Bible says is ours in Christ.  Christ died to give us salvation and that word is a whole realm more than just a ticket to heaven when we die.  [Read:  What Part of You Rules Your Life?]

I seem to get caught up in the details of things such as healing.  It becomes a complicated process in my head and yet I've had the most healing when I was in my weakest state.  In the world we do better when we are strong and get things done ... but in the Kingdom those who are weak are the strongest.

I've been meditating on another prayer of Paul's:  "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3).

Simplicity of Christ?  The gifts of God through grace.  We are so works oriented we can't grasp the simplicity of such a gift and I believe in this we err because we do not seem to be able to reach out and accept it.  Such a huge and magnificent gift such as healing ... just by reaching out like a child to its father for food.

We accepted forgiveness of sins because we knew a God that created us could do that through our sorrow of things we had done ... but when we are not taught at the same time that by Jesus' stripes we were also healed ... our spiritual pathway gets encumbered by many things and the road to healing is more challenging.

And there I stand with a question mark on my face that is usually the end of some question relating to me doing something when there is nothing that I can add to what Christ has already done to make it so.

I pray for all of us who have been so independent all of our lives, those who are so capable and detailed and talented in the natural realm, that we would be able to comprehend the simplicity of Christ to be free of the corruption that the devil places upon us.  Amen and Amen!

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