“Wherever you are spiritually whatever you have been through emotionally, you are already wrapped in the Lord’s embrace. Held close by nail-scarred hands.”~ Liz Curtis Higgs~
I grew up in a fairly strict Mennonite home……The church we went to had many rules on dress and how to conduct ourselves and I always got the impression that God was someone who wanted very little to do with me, this very sinful creature He created, other than to harp on all my faults and critique my bad behavior. I grew up on a dairy farm and from a very young age I was taught to work hard, that working hard was the key to being approved of. My parents loved me (I love you MOM) but in almost every avenue of my life I was taught by my church and those around me, in some way, that what I DID effected how God and people saw me. It’s taken me years to come to a place where I see God as loving, always reaching out for me. That He WANTS to love me, just the way that I am. That I don’t have to DO something to earn that love, it just is. People often love us based on our performance, but God’s love is not based on anything other than the fact that HE LOVES US, no questions asked, no performance evaluations to be done to qualify!
Listen to this verse from 1 John 4:7-10(msg)
“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. “
This is also something I am learning to do, my love for people is not based and should not be based on their performance for me. If I claim that Jesus is my Lord & Savior I am called to be like God who gave us love. So many times I think especially Christians don’t get this concept, I know it is a work in progress for me because it’s hard to love people unconditionally, not to pick apart their faults and judge them based on their performance, especially our family…..do you notice that too? I am sooo hard on my family, Barry and the kids, my parents, my sister, my brother…… I really wish it was easier cause I am soooo strong willed but here are the next few verses in that same passage and this has really been challenging me to work harder on unconditional love.
“11-12 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
13-16 This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God. “
The quote for this week has been something that I am learning to cling to more and more every day. God DELIGHTS in me, wherever I am at emotionally, spiritually even physically.
For more on this quote, please visit Iris @ Sting my heart who is hosting “In other words” this week.