I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. – Ephesians 1:17
It happened more than 40 years ago. I was at university, sitting on a bench on campus talking to God. I wanted more, wanted to understand God’s love. I prayed, “Lord, let me see people the way you do.” In a moment a friend, Evelyn, walked by. We didn’t exchange a word, but my heart began to break as I saw how much God loved her. I began to weep with the weight of God’s love for her. It was more than I could bear, more than I could imagine. It was too much and I prayed, “Lord, stop, I can’t take any more.”
I think of that moment often. It was a life changing moment for me to see others the way God sees them. His love for us is more than we can understand, more than we can bear, it’s wonderfully overwhelming. I could only see a small glimpse into his love and it broke me, it changed me. I think of that park bench and Evelyn often and remember the sense of God’s love for her and for others as they walked by.
But only recently did I get the full meaning of that moment more than 40 years ago (yes, I’m slow). During this time of sabbatical it suddenly struck me that God loves me the same way he loves Evelyn! I don’t know why I never put those pieces together, but I didn’t. I suddenly realized a message meant for me more than 40 years ago finally got through- God loves me!
Yes, yes…I know all about that from the bible. I know God loves me, but to really know it, to really understand how he feels about me, the emotion of it…even if it’s just a glimpse….has changed my walk with him. It’s a shame that it took 40 years for me to “get it”.
There’s no way to describe the depth of this love of the Father, this overwhelming love he has for us. There’s no words for it other than what we can see in the cross. The cross tells us all we can bear about the love of God. God loves us so much that he gave the eternal son to redeem us, to make us his children. This love isn’t just actions, but it’s rich with emotions. It’s a love with a depth we could never fully understand. It’s a love that is overwhelmingly wonderful.
God loves you, he loves me, he loves Evelyn more than you could possibly imagine. It’s this love that has made it possible for us to be his children. A love wonderfully beyond words. A love so grand that the cross is only a glimpse of how glorious it is. A love that would overwhelm you…..a love for you that is more than you could bear or even imagine.
God loves you.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
Several times recently I have heard the comment, usually made to justify changing churches, “I just wasn’t being fed.” Considering the fact that I have said this in the past myself, my reaction to hearing it lately is interesting to me.“I just wasn’t being fed.” By that do you mean that there was no [spiritual] food made available? Or was the portion set before you too meager to satisfy? Was it there, and you merely did not “eat?”When I was an infant, I of course depended on my mother to feed me. As I grew, increasingly I fed myself but my mother still specified and provided the food that I ate. As time went on, I could choose more and more what I ate, but largely it was still provided by someone else. Finally, in maturity, I’m largely responsible for feeding myself, even though there is almost always someone else involved in the provision of food.
One might initially be drawn to a local church because of a hunger to know the Lord; by feeding on the Word, one can learn who God is, who man
really is, what God has accomplished to reconcile man to Himself, etc. As a [spiritual] infant, a person does not know what or how to eat, and the church, through the preached word, Bible classes, etc. can feed such a person until that person begins to learn to feed directly on the Word. From passages of Scripture such as Hebrews 5:12-14, we see that there is an expectation for the Christian to grow to maturity, but not every one does, and as Theodore Epp said,
It is a shame for a person to have been a Christian for years but not to have advanced beyond the knowledge of his salvation.
That aside, is occupying a seat and listening to sermons the reason ultimately for church attendance? The passage in Hebrews, as well as many others, points at our maturing to love one another as Christ commanded and to serve one another as Christ demonstrated. This is not at all to diminish the value or importance of the preached word, but the church is a family where we each have a responsibility to one another, and “eating” once a week will obviously not sustain us in our love and service to each other, much less to a needy world. We must daily see to our spiritual sustenance by making our mind available to God’s Word. Viewed in this way, “I just wasn’t being fed” seems a pretty selfish cop-out.
Last weekend, my wife and I were visiting the town where I grew up. As we drove by the church where I went as a child, we noticed the sign out front which carried this stinging rebuke:
Christians often expect the world to respect the book which they neglect.
I have to admit that I’m a very simple person. I don’t think about grand thoughts of glory or have amazing insights into life and eternity. I am just a very simple guy who is trying to follow God and walk with him. I honestly find that most people are just like me, trying to find their way.
This morning, as I read Micah 6, I once more come to these simple instructions,
“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
In my simple language I would instruct someone else with these directions, do what’s right, be nice and respond rightly to God. It’s not all that hard. Life comes down to some very simple instructions. That helps a guy like me.
Jesus repeated these instructions and framed it in an even clearer way. He said “Love God and love each other.” That’s Micah 6 in its simplest form. Basically scripture tells us to focus on eternal things- God and people. Those are the things, the relationships that will be eternal. Everything else will burn up, rust, rot or be thrown away.
So today, I hope to focus on the eternal things- God and people. I hope to respond to them as Micah describes, do what’s right, be nice and walk humbly with God. I’m so glad this is simple. It helps to know how easy this really is. The secret is this- it’s not about me, it’s about God first and others second. It’s a life focused outward, focused not on the frantic scramble for security and stuff, but on people and God.
Simple instructions…..for a simple race, do what’s right, be nice and walk humbly with God.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.