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Lessons from God

March 2, 2012

I have come to realize over my thirty plus years as a follower of Jesus that through a variety of means God had been teaching me lessons in the previous thirty years.  I simply didn’t realize at the time that it was Him who was the teacher.  He continues with my education, lately seemingly moving me into an accelerated program.  I won’t comment on how well I am doing.

I will, however, share a few of the lessons He has put before me.  I welcome your comments, for,  As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  (Proverbs 27:17 NIV)

 

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Power, no matter how well-intentioned, tends to cause suffering.  Love, being vulnerable, absorbs it.  In a point of convergence on a hill called Calvary, God renounced the one for the sake of the other.  Therefore, surrendering to the power of Him who lives within me, I must allow Him to resign power to embrace love through my life.  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9 NIV)  I must maintain courage when others would try to limit the love I would allow Him to show through me.

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I must let go of my expectations, as they are attempts to control people and events, and are largely disappointments waiting to happen.

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Sin is its own punishment, devouring from the inside. (I suspect there are some who will take umbrage with that statement.)

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I must not judge something good or bad on the basis of whether I like it or whether it causes me pain.  It is not what happens to me that most affects my life.  It is my reaction to events that determines how I feel and how I live.   If I trust in God’s love for me, little else matters all that much.

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As 1 Corinthians 13 makes evident, trust, love, forgiveness, faith are inextricably entwined.  As soon as I make any attempt to tease them apart my love becomes conditional.  The moment I allow the thought of whether someone deserves my trust, my love, or my forgiveness to enter my mind, I move away from the heart of Jesus.  Unconditional love is by its very nature risky to the extreme.  I must have the faith to trust in the unconditional love that Jesus demonstrated to me, even though it cost Him His life.  Love always costs, but not loving always costs more.

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I cannot live by my own faith; I must therefore live by the faith that God gives me.   I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.   (Galatians 2:20 KJV)  I am not as a rule a big fan of the King James, but in this verse I see a subtle difference that for me changes the meaning, more accurately fitting my understanding of faith.  Rather than “the faith in the Son of God” as most translations render it, the KJV reads, “the faith of the Son of God.”  It is Jesus who is the author and perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12:2), and it is His faith that sustains me, not my own.

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God doesn’t deal in humiliation, guilt or condemnation.   Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  (Romans 8:1-2  NIV)

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For me, to be a follower of Jesus is to actively work for social justice.  The Bible records in Luke 4 that combining readings from Isaiah 61 and 58, He announced His ministry of social justice.  Much of what is written in the Prophets is about social justice.  God clearly has a heart for social justice.  But from Jesus I learn that, whatever activism I get involved in, it must not drive out love and humility, or otherwise I betray the kingdom of heaven.

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What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”  He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”   (Luke 10:26-28 NIV)

The radical inclusivity of agape love transcends all boundaries.  If I am to take Jesus seriously, I am called to transcend every barrier that separates me from every other human being, to live not from the judgments of my mind, but within the empathic heart where the illusory nature of boundaries is dissolved.  Hard stuff.

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I realize this is an awful lot to chew on.  But it is my hope that some of you might reflect on some small part of these thoughts and will take the time to share their thoughts with me.  God speaks to me in many ways, and one of my favourite is through the other believers who are closest to my heart.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Geri permalink
    March 2, 2012 8:28 pm

    Good comments but harsh lessons.
    One of the things I have learned from those lessons that I have learned is “to be still”. Once I am stll and confident that I am open to what is coming to me, I
    am no longer trying to control the direction and the direction comes to me.

    I hope that makes sense.

    (((Take care and be still )) and may God give you strength for what is to come for you.

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