“Experiencing God’s love in Jesus Christ means experiencing that one has been unreservedly accepted, approved, infinitely loved, that one can and should accept one’s self and one’s neighbor.” – Walter Kasper
In our lifestyles, we are often asked to be all things to all people. We are called on to give more and be returned less for our giving. The human capital of life, effort, drive, verve, excellence, perspective, and intuitive action seem to be thought of very poorly in opposition to the pursuits of money, power and security. Along with some of these ideas of precedence in our culture today, is a justification of success and contentment stockpiled in the bank or in the accumulated possessions instead of the modes of satisfaction in contribution, distinction in graciousness and mercy, brilliance in integrity and quality or singular intransience in truth. As we are spread, like butter on bread, we tend to lose who we are to a myriad of demands, appointments, pleasures and accomplishments. When confronted with the satisfactions in mergers and acquisitions, projects completed, dissertations approved, new purchases, pampered pleasures, contracts signed, brand name exclusivity (or worse if we experience the dissatisfaction in failure in these areas); we easily become tangled in the web of defining our lives, ourselves, our character and our purpose inside of pursuits which will ultimately leave us unsatisfied and feeling empty. When the world demands more and you have already given all you have, where is the reservoir to continue giving? When we’ve overtaxed our patience, the relationships of family and friends, our hopes for peace and fulfillment, and our ability to hold it together anymore – when we throw our hands in the air about our chaotic lives and never-ending actions required for approval and security; we still find that we have a Father in heaven who graciously cradles us to his chest and restores our understanding of how much we are the delight of his heart. The value of the Father’s love and care for people are so great that he crucified his Son to provide their ability to know Him intimately and securely.
The Lord God of the Sabbath, the Lord of rest, calls you to come and take a load off in his presence and provision. As we come to know the unfailing love and acceptance of the Father, we come to reinterpret ourselves, our world and our perceptions in the light of our true character and self – which reflect the truth in his character and his sovereignty. Understanding yourself as an object of his delight is imperative for survival. Wherever you have been; He loves you. Whatever you think to too much for the Almighty; He is able. However you stand in this moment; He is calling you to come to his arms of love and acceptance. To deeply know your unshakable value in the Father’s eyes and heart is a well of living water to draw from. When we are asked to be all things to all people, it is very hard to have a reservoir of excellence without experiencing schizophrenia of self. Quite literally, we need to know the depths of his love in order to keep our sanity; that when we are spread too thin by the demands in our day, the depths we access are contained in our communion with Him in his love and acceptance. When we come to rely on his love for our sustenance and definition of ourselves, a deep longing to return to his presence and commune with him fills our hearts, amidst our harried lives. As Fil Anderson puts it, “Love always calls for communication and a longing to share life with the one who is the object of our affection.” Simply termed, “love begets love.” We find a longing for the peaceful restoration of our constitution; we find the unreserved, infinite love of the Father in his presence – which calls the children of God to the arms of the Father, holding them close enough to hear his heartbeat. When we are close and quiet, listening to the heart of the Father, we hear what He says about us and what He says to us. “You are my delightful child, whom I love to be close to, who I long for you to know how special you are to me.” We hear his words whispered to our heart, restoring our soul, “Come unto me in your tired, weary, busy life. I will give you my grace and peace.” We know the value of ourselves and others in the heart of the Father. The human capital of the character and talents which he has bestowed on us is re-centered in Him in these moments. We know the calm transcendence in the depths of our being in his character and his significance. In our struggle amidst situations that ask more and give less, we can be transformed by a God who infinitely gives and opens his arms for us to know Him. And love begets love. Knowing Him returns the depths of significance which far outweighs the shallow, temporal benefits of any job, recreation, achievement, status, promotion, winning or acquisition. This is because of the burdens of the results are his. As Keith Green says, “He’ll take care of the rest.” Our need is to accept and be changed by the love He has. We need only recognize the gift of forgiveness and adoption into his family. There is nothing in our actions which govern the gifts of his love and inspiration of our character, which He bestows on us according to his mercy. It is wholly dependent upon Him and his gracious, sovereign desire to be joined with his creation.
And He is faithful to those He loves. Love begets love. You are not required to be all things to Him. You are called to be your true self – a self which he created and loves and sustains. Know Him and you will know your true heart. Experience a love that will transform your life and your perspective. As Paul exhorts us in Romans 12: By the grace of God, take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going to work and walking around life – and give it to God. Embracing what God does for you as the best thing for you and the best response to Him. Don’t become identified by your culture to the degree that you are indistinguishable to the struggling, grumbling, pleasure seeking, gossiping, and temporal satiating public; rather focus yourself on God and you will be changed from the inside out. You will be able to recognize his desires and have understanding in how to respond to Him and to those in need. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down, God brings out the best of you, and develops wisdom and love in the depths of your heart.
He is faithful. He loves you and has given his Son that you may experience the accepting embrace of the Father and know the gift of resting in Him. Allow Him to transform you body, mind and soul.