Thursday, November 15, 2018

Love, Walk, Keep

Hardly a week goes by without mom's gentle plea to just 'be young again' - so she'd have energy for the task at hand, or feel like she can regain some skill long since laid aside due to memory or fatigue. With each new day comes the renewal of energy stores, but what reserve we have left at the end of the day is not always the same, is it? Some of us go through life so quickly we rarely even notice that we have had two choices placed in front of us - Life and Death, Good and Evil. How have we handled these today? For those of us placing our head on the pillow at the end of the day, we'd say we embraced Life, but how about Good or Evil? What did our choices reflect today? This is a tough question - one that demands unlimited honesty if we are to truly understand our choices.

Look at what I've done for you today: I've placed in front of you Life and Good - Death and Evil. And I command you today: Love God, your God. Walk in his ways. Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by God, your God, in the land you are about to enter and possess. (Deuteronomy 30:15-16)

Every new day brings the dawn of new choices - no two days are exactly alike in what will come across our paths. We may believe our lives are "boring" and without any real sense of "difference" from day-to-day, but indeed, there are new choices each day. We are faced with choices of life and good or death and evil. Pretty heavy stuff, if you ask me. The evidence is all around us - in what we choose to listen to, allow our eyes to take in, or attend our minds to consider. Each entertained thought, internalized perception of sight, or message heard is an opportunity to bring forth from within those things that will produce life and goodness. Conversely, they also can produce death to our spirit, dryness to our soul, and confusion in our mind - each influencing us to actions that are neither good nor life-giving - we call this evil. So, understanding how we make choices that produce the outcomes that are life-giving and the evidence of goodness within us is essential to learning how to walk a steady path that will keep us from death and evil.

Love God, your God - to really love something or someone, it helps if the object of our love is OURS. When the object of our affection is someone else's, we call the attitude of "loving" that object LUST. God never asks us to "lust" after him. Instead, he places a distinct difference between desiring something we cannot have and enjoying something we are invited to participate in personally. To love God, we first make him our God - we must have personal relationship with him. Then we learn to enjoy the graces of that relationship by frequent and intimate contact with him. Intimacy with God involves transparency of heart, mind and soul - allowing him to touch the very fibers of our being with his refreshing, renewing, and regenerating touch.

Walk in his ways - when we are really in a "love relationship" with another, we don't demand our own way, but are content, and often quite fulfilled, in enjoying the things they enjoy. So it is in our walk with God - we make a committed choice to learn to enjoy what it is he enjoys - those things that will produce life and goodness. Notice that this requirement is for us to take action - "walk" is an action word. We cannot be passive and be "walking". Therefore, to be involved in this love relationship with God, we need to be active in our pursuit of him. 
 
Keep his regulations, rules, and commands - this is really where the rubber meets the road. It is one thing to "fall in love" - it is quite another to "live together in love". When some hear the word "submit", there is an immediate cringing away and self-preserving fear that emerges. Yet, in a love relationship, we often find that one leads, and the other follows in heartfelt devotion and trust. It is not a hard thing when one trusts the other - there is no fear that the other will lead them astray or leave them abandoned. God's plan is that we will neither cringe under his leadership, nor pull away in self-preserving mistrust. His desire is that we learn to live "together" in love.

In turn, we will be blessed. Nothing is more blessed than a true love relationship, complete with its intimate exchange of things hidden from the view of others. We often "say" that we want to live exuberant lives, but do we really? Are we seeking God as our own? Are we still demanding our own way? Are we learning what it takes to live together in relationship with God? If not, then I daresay we are looking for our "exuberance" in ways and places where we will be disappointed with the outcomes. In fact, we might just find that the end result of our searching in those places will lead us into decisions that produce death to our spirit, confusion to minds, and senseless waste of energy in our soul. Love is a learning experience - we don't just "fall in love". There is nothing passive about loving another - it requires our investment. There is nothing more fulfilling than being loved, though. There is nothing more rewarding than returning that love! Love God - YOUR God. Just sayin!