Skip to main content

Experience, then understand

Understanding and experiencing are related, but they can also come separately into one's life. We can experience something long before we understand it. The baby who touches something hot and then realizes it leaves a nasty sting may not understand how the heat came to be, or that it can be used for good, he just knows to stay away from it because it causes pain. The one who understands how 1,500 pieces of picture coated cardboard can all make a huge mural may not know how to fit those many pieces all together! When one actually understands AND experiences something, it is vastly different and there is a different appreciation for whatever it is they both understand and experience.

This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. 

To understand God's love, we actually need to begin by experiencing it. It is kind of hard to understand it without first having tasted it, felt it, and basked in it a while. The love of God is often felt or experienced in the lives of those he purposefully allows to grace our pathway. There are key individuals 'purposefully placed' into our lives in order for us to begin to experience the different aspects of his love - something we eventually will come to understand through the experience. The more we experience of his love, the more we want to understand it, but trust me on this one...it is harder to understand than it is to experience!

Why is that so true for us? I think it could just be how very different his love is from the very 'natural' types of love we experience within relationships here on this earth. Our 'natural' form of love is very 'conditional' - it honestly has some strings attached no matter how we slice or dice it. There is a give and take kind of rhythm to our natural love. We give a little, hoping to take a little, and the cycle continues. Give, give, and give again without ever taking anything in return and you will likely find yourself a little exasperated in the relationship. Why? We actually crave or need something "out of" the relationship - there is a desired 'exchange'.

God's love isn't all that different, though. He desires something 'out of' the relationship - our dedication, commitment, and worship. Yet, he pursues even long before we get to the point of understanding this is important within the relationship. We don't understand how much these things are needed to help the relationship grow deeper, but we are drawn to it because of how his love reaches into the places of our heart not reached by any other thing or person. We don't understand how he draws us, or even how he touches those places of our heart, but we know for certain that we are experiencing a form of love we don't find elsewhere.

Get to know a little of God's love by experiencing it. He doesn't expect you to understand it right off the bat - he just invites you to experience it. In the experience, there will come a desire to understand it - to fully appreciate it and bask in it fully. The place of understanding comes in the experiencing. Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…