Wednesday, August 25, 2010


How do you discern God's love for you?

How do you see God's love for you right at this moment? On what level of your being are you enjoying His love today?

Most of us attempt to discern and enjoy God's love through a careful and constant evaluation of our visible life circumstances. If the circumstances seem to add up to a plus we see this as proof we are being loved by God. When our circumstances add up to what we perceive as a minus, we wonder where God's love went and how we can get it back.

Did Jesus evaluate His Father's love in this way? If He did, so should we. If He didn't, then it is time to adjust how we measure God's daily love for us. Too much is at stake in our mental, emotional and volitional world to be looking for God's love in the wrong place. We need to know we are loved right now in order to love right now.

On many occasions I have heard people celebrating the love of God because their world adds up to a big plus. It is certainly fun to hear people recognize that blessings have entered their lives because all good things come from God. We should rejoice with them but should we join them in seeing their visible blessings as the proof of God's love?

I have also heard people weep with despair because their world is filled with negatives and they assume that negatives can only accumulate if God's best love steps away and lets the visible negatives accumulate. We should weep with them, but should we weep for them because they have obviously lost God's love?

This formula for seeing God's love seems to be - Good things accumulating equals God loves me very much. Bad things accumulating equals God is not loving me as much right now and it is probably my fault or He changed His mind about me.

Again, measure this formula against the life of Jesus or the life of the Apostles. Does this formula work as you measure their lives as the loved ones of God? Can you in any way make Jesus' visible life experience add up to more positives than negatives? Can you in any way make the Apostles' lives add up to more positives than negatives?

This accumulation formula is not useful because it measures God's love in the visible and the temporary. God's love is measured in the Spirit and that is where we need to go in order to measure God's love for us.

Leave the visible, accumulating measuring system completely alone for a moment. Whether you are in a plus or minus season right now, leave it alone. Now go into the very center of your being - your spirit - and ask the Spirit of Christ "Do you love me?" "Do you love me deeply?"

If you do not hear a "yes" it is likely that you have become addicted to the visible, accumulation equation of love and you need a spiritual renewal and a new equation. If you think you do need a renewal, ask God to open the eyes of your spirit so you can discern the things of the Spirit of Christ in you. Ask God to help you walk in the Spirit so you can see how much you are loved right now.

In Romans 5: 5 we see where God's love is meant to be discerned: "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Look for God's love in your spirit (heart) and you will not be disappointed. Look for it in the visible realm and you will find yourself lusting for the positives and afraid of the negatives. God's love never produces lust or fear. God's love faces whatever comes as it casts out fear and delivers love.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Other Options

Other Options

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." Matthew 5 38-39

Jesus' words about turning the other cheek are among the most famous and universally known words ever spoken. They are also among the most ignored.

I remember reading the Sermon on the mount shortly after becoming a follower of Jesus. I thought to myself "This is the part of His teachings I will never be able to follow!" My deep need for self protection and self vindication was one of my most cherished defense mechanisms. I was good at verbally guarding my personal space.

My mistake in my way of thinking was that I felt that I would be turning my cheek out of my own resources instead of doing this in and through Jesus. I thought turning the other cheek was about will power.

I am learning to turn the cheek by following a simply spiritual rule - I listen to Jesus in order to turn the other cheek. Jesus' will is the power.

Here is how it works. Imagine that you are being verbally offended by someone. It hurts. Before you begin to become defensive, turn you mind back to Jesus' presence in you and ask Jesus "Should I defend myself? Should I hit back?" The answer will come clearly and quickly because every believer has the mind of Christ.

For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. I Corin. 2:16

We really do have the mind of Christ. Will we use His mind or ours when the slap comes?

If I use my mind, I seldom if ever can stop my natural urge to protect my space and demand respect. If I use His mind, I turn the other cheek and all kinds of other options for love immediately appear. A slap seems to produce only one option - hit back. A turn empowered by Jesus opens up love's options.

Get in the habit of asking Jesus in tough moments and all kinds of new options for love will appear in your life.

"The Golden Rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience." Oswald Chambers