shaped by the love of God

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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

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