Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Loved by God... Advent of Joy #17

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
1 John 3:1a-2

I could end this post right there.

The only way we will be able to love one another is to be able to grasp just a little bit of that lavish love. Over and over God tries to tell us in His word just how much He loves us.

Yet a lot of times, all we hear are the lies of this world. I know that I did. Un-lovable, worthless, dirty, unforgivable, shameful, inept, stupid, a failure… I thought all these things applied to me. I really did. I know, it seems crazy, it seems like there would be no reason to think these things.

Choices I made, or choices others made, ended up damaging me emotionally. Damaged to the point that no matter the amount of positive things said to me, I didn’t believe them. The enemy had footholds in my life, that quickly became strongholds.

I wasn’t able to grasp what it meant to be a child of God. Though the first year after I became a Christian was good, and I felt changed, those “feelings” didn’t last. Once in a while things would change, but it was largely because I was trying to work my way through difficulties. It would be different for a while, but the underlying strongholds of lies weren’t being addressed.

It took so long for me to get where I am.

I read the following passage at our wedding, and it bears repeating here.

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high an deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:14-19

That is my prayer. For all of us.

Our God loves us. To the point that it is completely unmeasurable. No matter how wide and long and high and deep you go, His love is always there. We can’t run from it, we can’t escape it.

We can pray to know and believe this love that surpasses knowledge. Because if we grasp even a corner of the blanket of His love, we will be completely changed. Once we have a corner, we will hunger for more, and we will pursue Him until we have a handful, until we have our arms full, until we are completely assured of His love.

He rooted us in love. We are planted in His love and our roots have grown deeply into the soil of His love. We can’t be uprooted from His love. It will never ever, ever, ever taken from us. His spirit is within us, and He will never leave us. We have the possibility of grasping that love, even if it seems impossible… because with God nothing is impossible.
Oh, how do I explain this any better? I feel like words are failing me right now.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
1 Peter 2:9-10

We are chosen by Him. We are His. His children. His people.

He would not have chosen us, were we not loved. He created us, He chose us, He loves us. We were thought of before we ever came to be. He chose us out of everyone, specifically because He knew us, and wanted us. He loves us, and lavishes that love on us every day… yes, even when we have a bad day (can you imagine how much worse it might have been had He not intervened in some way?!).

What more does He ask? He wants us to love Him back, freely, from our own will. He wants us to live lives worthy of the calling we have received. He wants us to honestly try to please Him (even if we fail miserably). He wants us to create exuberant commotion because of the things He has done in our lives.

He wants us to declare His praises, because He has brought us out of the darkness, out of oppression, out of the strongholds in our lives, and brought us into His Son, the Light of the World. We can now see. That’s how much He loves us.

He has given us light for our paths.

He wants us to share that light with others.

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