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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Experiencing through immersion

We have experienced and we have entrusted our lives to the love of God in us. God is love. Anyone who lives faithfully in love also lives faithfully in God, and God lives in him.  (I John 4:16 VOICE)

Experiencing goes part and parcel with entrusting.  It is impossible to truly "experience" anything without having also participated in it. We can watch all kinds of reality survivalist shows, but are we the ones hunting our meals, looking for potable water sources, or trying to figure out how to stay dry and warm at night?  Nope. We are taking it all in, maybe learning a little bit about ways to find edible food sources in the wild, and even how to make a steam water still to get potable water, but we still haven't entrusted our lives to the process of surviving in the wild!  If you suddenly were to find yourself cut off from civilization because you were the lone survivor of a plane crash in the remote wooded forest somewhere, then maybe you'd begin to experience it first hand - but now you are entrusting your life to those who were doing all that teaching to you when you were watching those shows.  You just moved from merely taking in knowledge into the place of having to put it into practical application.


This is probably where we fall short the most in our Christian walk. We somehow think merely being exposed to the love of God will make us "all better", but we forget the important part of entrusting those various hurts and hang-ups we have into his care and oversight.  His love is there within us, working at the core of our being, but until that love begins to affect how it is we respond to those hurts and hang-ups, it is merely like watching the TV show about survival.  We get the concepts, even see how it all works together, and store away "ideas", but we don't actually begin to really see the impact of that love until it begins to be used to help us overcome those hurts and hang-ups. We have to faithfully turn toward that love, allowing it to guide us into consistently right action designed to move us beyond those things if we are ever to see change evident in our lives.


A few things we cannot ever forget:  

1) God lives faithfully in us - he doesn't come and go, but remains within - even when our hurts or hang-ups seem to be the center of our attention.  
2) God isn't as concerned about our "exposure" to his love as he is about our "experiencing" his love - while one might lead to the other, it is entirely possible we get a great deal of exposure and a little less experience than we might realize.  
3) Hurts and hang-ups are not overcome by some magical will-power within us, but rather the presence of God's love and the willingness to allow that love to begin to affect how we see, feel, and experience things in this life. 
4) We aren't entrusting our lives to some 12-step program, but a living, breathing, ever-present God. We might place more emphasis on the "steps" we take toward our full deliverance from our hurts or hang-ups, but wherever God is, there is the power to overcome these things. It isn't the steps - it is the one we are immersing our lives in that makes all the difference.
5) Nothing just seen or heard is fully experienced - we need to be immersed fully in it to experience it. Think of music for a moment. When we hear a nice melody, it might catch our ear, but when our toes start tapping and we find ourselves swaying a little to that beat, then all of a sudden the chorus begins to well up within us, we are taking that "hearing" to a totally different level.  We are beginning to move from hearing into experiencing the full influence of that music. God's love can be seen - we can hear about it - we can observe certain actions of love.  But...as soon as that love begins to break through calloused places of our heart, tugging on doors we have kept tightly closed for way too long, and drawing us into rich places of lavish love and languishing in his healing pools, we begin to experience love's impact - we are immersed.  Just sayin!