shaped by the love of God

Posted in faith
chelseaeubank.com

We are formed in our childhood. Really, in the early stages of any season. And then once we reach a point we are deciding for ourselves, and living with the impact of our decisions, we are continually re-formed. A place I’m being re-formed is allowing myself to simply be loved by God. To receive it. To come and ask Him to pour it in gallons into my soul.

It sounds a little too simple doesn’t it? As someone who can’t remember a time they didn’t know Jesus’ name or believe there was a Father in Heaven unlike any other person in their life… the practice of living loved seems a little elementary.

But maybe you can relate to this. Sometimes as the layers get peeled back, or the masks pile on, as we change and dream, as we collect perspectives and develop habits healthy and unhealthy, what’s basic can become mechanical. Operational, but not life-giving. Understandable, but not part of the marrow.

Love is what draws us to Him originally. Jesus became like us. He is the way, the conduit, of God’s great love today (Romans 5:5-8). It compels us in the present (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). We find strength by it for whatever is coming (1 John 4:15-16). What about when the love of God becomes words on a page and no longer an identity to walk in or a foundation to build from or the explanation behind the way we live?

This is where I find myself, being shaped again by the astounding reality of the love of God as my home, my energy, my roots, my calling, my joy, my gift to others.

Here’s the amazing thing: when God, by his love of benevolence, saves us and counts us righteous in Christ, and gives us the Holy Spirit, he begins a work of transformation that restores aspects of our personhood which are delightful to him, pleasing to him, which he genuinely likes about us. This is what God is doing in sanctification. via

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You are loved by God.

It’s not five words to skim over. It’s not a sentiment throughout the Bible that’s simply nice to read. It’s not to be compared to the love of a friend or family member. If being loved by another human is the size of a golf ball — let’s be generous — the size of a watermelon, the love of God is the entire universe. His love for us puts every other love to shame (in the most wonderful way), so why do I dumb it down to something that can earned, to something less satisfying than the love of the world or those around me, or to something I have the ability to deter?

The love of God is bedrock and beauty. It’s a lifeline and a safe house. It gives purpose and it comforts. It fuels endurance and it guards against destruction. It transforms lives and it gives direction. It’s a bright beam of light and a tender embrace. It cannot be earned. It’s an identity. Yours and mine. Constant. Untouchable. Unchanging. Unaltered by our inevitable failures, circumstances, and self-saturated tendencies.

He’s reminding me of the wonder and weight of being loved by the Trinity. Not because I’m useful to Him, or doing great work in His name. Not because I’m bearing a lot of fruit (John 15). Not because I’m practicing spiritual disciplines. Not because I feel like I’m doing okay on some random only-in-my-mind Christian Score Card. Not even because I’m loving others well.

But because it’s what He offers. Himself. All the time. No matter what.

May this be the rhythm of my life, regardless of the highs and lows, unhinged from my feelings or behavior, prompting joy and courage and contentment and compassion and worship and grace: fully known and completely loved. And living it so others glimpse and taste His love in mine.

Is there something of your relationship with God that has became stale or merely words on a page? How can you ask God to spark fresh zeal or understanding for you?

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us… God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 1 John 4:9-12, 16b NLT

More to meditate on: Romans 8:37-39, Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 2:4-5, 1 John 3:1,1 John 4:7-8, John 15:9-17, Romans 5:2-5,  Psalm 86:15, Zephaniah 3:17, Ephesians 5:1–2

stop looking at the dirt: how I’m like the rich young ruler

Posted in faith

Release the tight-fisted grip on your own image of yourself.

This is a sentence in my journal from the past week.

It was scribbled there after Holy Spirit gifted me with a Vegas neon sign flashing on a passage I’d read many times: Mark 10:21.

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Mark 10:21 ESV

Jesus knew the ‘rich young ruler’ would walk away from him disheartened and sorrowful by the thought of letting his ‘great possessions’ go.

Jesus knew the young man considered choosing to surrender what he had and follow Jesus seemed impossible.

Jesus knew this man, who had kept all the rules and considered himself alright, wanted more (verse 17), but in the moment wouldn’t say yes.

And yet, looking at him, He loved him.

Later on in this chapter, while the disciples were astonished with words coming from Jesus’ mouth, He makes this profound statement: ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.’

As I sat, Bible open, seeing this exchange in new light, I knew that I’ve faced this conversation with Jesus many times. It may not be about great wealth or possessions, but it is about other things I cushion myself with, I feel in control of, or bring some weak sense of satisfaction and joy.

In my own way, I approach Him and ask what must I do for more abundant life, for sweeter joy, for greater peace? I do my best to stay in between the lines the Bible draws, I strive to resist temptation and repent quickly of sin. I try to please you and honor you with my thoughts and actions. I know the ‘thou shalls’ and the ‘thou shalt nots.’ He responds with, ‘Yes, but one thing you lack, let go of these grace-ignoring scales of being loved and mattering to the world and Me, cultivate life in heaven, and follow Me and only Me.’

Following only Jesus means submission. Letting go of my way, my desire for control, my desire to be great, my want for approval. Following Jesus means practicing a willingness to submit to His lordship, not my queenship of my little kingdom. Some moments He reminds me of this call, and I say yes. Other moments, for a while I walk away staring at the dirt.

And yet, if I looked into His eyes, I would see love. He will always know the way I will choose. He knows my weaknesses before I know them. He knows my heart right now and He can see it 5 years from now. He knows how much I love Him and knows how much more I could love Him. He knows my desire for Him and He knows the moments I’ll choose lesser loves. He sees me completely, from now through eternity, and loves me entirely. Because nothing is impossible with God. And His conquering of the impossible begins and ends with Jesus.

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Reading and Listening | No. 16

Posted in creative

The Briefing – Albert Mohler

Confronted by Grace: Meditations of a Theologian – John Webster

“One thing we might do is to try day by day to grasp something which is the simplest and yet the hardest thing for any of us to grasp: that the gospel is true; that growth in the Christian life is simply growth in seeing that the gospel is true; that Jesus Christ is the preeminent reality of all things.”

Grace-Filled Limitations, Maggie Combs – Kindled Podcast

Lies Young Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free – Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Dannah Gresh

Reading through this with a young friend and it’s been great so far.

Humility with Hannah Anderson – Journeywomen

This is one I listen to every few months. It’s that good, and I need the deep reminder that often.

The Things of Earth – Joe Rigney

“Supreme love for God orients our affections and orders our desires and integrates our loves.”

What has inspired you lately?