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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Grateful and Grace-Full

One with God - something only accomplished by the blood of Jesus and the evidence of the Spirit of God within us.  We know we are one with God because we have been given his Spirit.  This should give us a sense of peace - to know we are "one with God" - meaning we are no longer separated by the deep chasm of sin which made it impossible for us to enjoy his presence.  It is also good to realize it is God who "stays one" with us - not the other way around. Sometimes I think we get this a little turned around - thinking it is all up to us to love Jesus more, do more that he would find pleasure in such as good works, and the tendency we have to "do", "do", "do" in order to gain acceptance.  The truth is - we are already accepted - and remain in God's presence because of the work of Jesus and the Spirit of God who indwells us.  There is one thing God requires of us - to keep on loving others - to model his love which indwells us.

God has given us his Spirit. That is how we know that we are one with him, just as he is one with us. God sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. We saw his Son and are now telling others about him. God stays one with everyone who openly says that Jesus is the Son of God. That’s how we stay one with God and are sure that God loves us. God is love. If we keep on loving others, we will stay one in our hearts with God, and he will stay one with us. If we truly love others and live as Christ did in this world, we won’t be worried about the day of judgment. A real love for others will chase those worries away. The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid. It shows that we have not really learned to love. (I John 4:13-18 CEV)

I speak frequently of modeled actions - because they make a connection which is missing when all we have is the words we hear and no ability to connect those words to the outcome.  For example, if you say you can make a kite fly, but you never launch it into the sky, unwinding the string little by little until it is floating aloft, I will never believe the kite can fly.  I will see a beautiful creation - colorful and creative - but I won't know the beauty of why it was created in the first place.  We were created to love God - and in turn to share that love with others. No wonder God speaks so frequently about us maintaining a focus on loving others - thinking about others first, not taking or even coveting what belongs to another, and living in harmony with each other.  It may seem like God gives us a lot of instructions about others - but in essence he is giving us instructions about how it is we become the thing of beauty we were created to become!

When we love others - modeling the love we received from God himself - we are like the kite which settles into the updrafts and wind flow high above the earth. We begin to reveal the purpose for which we were created.  We become one with the one who created us and we soar to new levels of joy and fulfillment. The thing God wants us to see is this ability to rise above the worries of this world - the things which would attempt to weigh us down and keep us anchored to the "thought" of being his creation, to the reality of living as his creation. If we have worries in this life, it isn't because God isn't capable or desirous of carrying those worries.  It may be we simply haven't allowed God to set us into flight in his love!  We are created to chase the worries away - not to become mired in them.  We are created to "love them away" - by loving others we see those worries we carry begin to vanish.

You might not think loving another is going to make a difference - especially when you are deep in your own set of worries and cares.  Yet, if we re-read this passage again, we see God's clear instruction is to love one another - driving those worries away.  It is impossible to think and care for another AND to hold onto the worries we carry.  Our hands and hearts cannot be filled with both! Maybe this is why God tells us to love - to push our worries away.  Yes, the passage speaks to the fear of judgment - of not being accepted by God, drawn near to his presence.  Yet, in the simplest of terms, God never asks us to focus on what it is WE do to draw into his presence - he actually does the drawing. We just enjoy the flight!  In being drawn near, he asks us to take what it is we feel and sense within his presence and model that back to others.  Not so we might be "made right" by our actions, but so our actions might draw others out of their worries and into his presence!

If we allow God to take us to the heights for which we created, we will find we cannot mull around in our worries any longer.  When we are finally free of these worries, we find it is with a grateful and grace-full heart we love others as he has loved us.  Just sayin!