Sunday, June 19, 2016

Love Leads to the New Life - 3

The writer continues his discussion about the primary role of God's love in the transformation process with a "tree" metaphor. Tree health is directly proportional to the development of the root system. So, a human being's spiritual health is directly proportional to the development of his "root" system into the love of God.

If we are convinced that God loves us:
  • We can proceed without fear into new areas.
Growth always necessitates change. Change always means new ... new hearts, new thoughts patterns, new speech patterns, and new practices. Some people adapt to change better than others, but no one is comfortable. There is uncertainty about success, about the outcome. Positive? Negative?

Because God loves us, we can be certain any change leads to positive, life enhancing ways. It may go through difficulty. It may go through pain. But it will always lead back to our original design, and will yield joy, peace, and good for us, and those around us.
  • We can proceed without fear of fail
How many times does a child fall before he finally succeeds in walking? And how often do they fall after they begin the practice of walking?

No one will begin a new pattern of life smoothly. It will need to be repeated successfully many times before it "sticks." There will be numerous stumbles, lapses of memory, and partially successful attempts.

There are positive practices, like a consistent time of prayer, reading the Bible, and meditation. There are also changes from sin to righteousness. Those also involve a change of life patterns. Perhaps involving carefully crafted defense mechanisms, and obscure motivations that have been built up for years. God wants his children to abandon all such practices. It prevents the intimacy he desires in their relationship. It pollutes their design, hindering real joy and peace.

In situations like these, the person needs to change a practice. He also needs to change motivations, to break agreements he may not even be aware that he has made, and to develop spiritual discernment. Basically, he needs to renew his heart, which is neither a simple nor easy process.

People need God to direct this process. People needs God's patience in the painstakingly slow process. People need God's kindness with the process of revelation, correction, and the establishment of new practices. If God shined a dozen search lights on our lives, we would be able to see every pattern of sin and failure. We would also be so overwhelmed, we would crawl under a rock and never come out. So, God uses a laser pointer instead. And spends more time affirming our few faltering steps, encouraging us, and reminding us of his presence, regard, and support.

  • We will never be mystified, or confused, about what God wishes us to be.
He has declared his wishes and intentions for us. He has given us an identity. This identity is who we are in Christ, according to our design. God's heart is to actualize that identity in us. (Please refer to the Identity in Christ series for a hint of what this might look like.)
  • We will never lack in resources.
God's love means he is committed to us. He gives each of us 100% focused attention. He tailors each person's "curriculum" according to their personal, unique needs. He speaks into every circumstance -- good, bad, or indifferent -- providing revelation, appropriate resources, and his presence and support, so all circumstances promote the transformation of his children, and the expansion of his kingdom.

It is God's love that motivated Jesus to come and die. It is God's love that guarantees God's continued acceptance of us, and his continued pursuit of our relationship, and transformation. We may not pursue him. But he will pursue us.

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