Permanent isn't casual


God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. (I John 4:17-18)

Have you ever found yourself complaining about something that is not permanent in your life just because it gives you a little extra pressure or work or resistance? I think we forget where OUR permanency really is - IN God and therefore, IN a life of LOVE. Truth is, we all have a tendency to have a "semi-permanent" commitment in this Christian walk simply because we cannot seem to settle into what God has declared to be our place of "permanency". Since God lives IN us and we live IN him, we don't "pick up roots" every so often and just wander off into some region of life where the grass looks a little greener! We settle in and honker down in this life. That may mean some winter storms, but it also means some pretty beautiful springtime growth and summer maturity! If we are constantly picking up roots and moving to where life always seems to be a little easier to endure, we miss the "tension" of the "winter season" in our lives. This "tension" almost forces growth - we don't get to the point of desire without a little "tension" being created.

Semi-permanent doesn't really produce the same things as permanent does. I could get a semi-permanent hair color added to my hair to cover over some of my grey strands, but the fact is, the more I wash my hair, the less "permanent" that "added color" really looks! Why? It doesn't change what is at the root. When something is "permanent" it changes what is at the root - you cannot really change grey hair - it will always be gray right down to the root! For us to really see love become the way we live and breathe, we need to take up "permanent residence" in Christ's love - in relationship with him - deep, intimate connection. In other words, we let the roots sink in and we see what "permanent roots" will produce. It soon becomes evident that he puts "in order" the things otherwise "out of order" in our lives. The idea of someone or something "having the run of the house" suggests there is a comfortableness in their presence. When I go into a friend's house, I ask before I look in cabinets to find the water glasses. The second or third time, I may just let them know I am thirsty, and they will direct me to "help myself" since I know where the glasses are stored. In time, the more I visit my friend's house, the more comfortable I get finding things, but this is still not my "permanent residence", so I am still not given the "run of the house" like I am in my own home. The more comfortable we make Jesus in "our bodily home", the more he begins to "have the run of the house". He has the freedom to go where he wants, do what needs to be done, and then enjoy time with the one who is with him "in residence" - us!

Once we allow God permanency in our lives, his love begins to affect us deeper than if we only casually "visit with" him on occasion. Love is free to have its way IN us, so it is free to flow OUT of us. If we find it difficult to "put down roots" in Christ, we probably just haven't experienced his love as deeply as he desires. When we begin to experience his love, especially if we haven't known much love in our lives, we might find it a little difficult to allow anyone to be this "close" to the "real" us. This type of intimacy is a little intimidating at first, but trust me, it is worth the exploration! In determining where, and with whom it is we will commit everything to, we begin to actually feel our roots being affected. As long as we are just casual in our relationship with him, our roots will never have a chance to be challenged by the tension of life. No tension - no growth. You want to see change in your life, set down roots deep into his love. Then allow his love to begin to affect you at the deepest points. Nothing will ever be the same once we determine to "root deeply" in his love. Just sayin!

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