Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Living the Call Day 10 - Amazing Grace

Author: Katie

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see." Was blind...but now...I see!!!

Mark 12: 30-31

29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'There is no commandment greater than these."

For the last week I have been writing about God's call for us to love Him. I was wondering if I would ever be able to move on to the next part...loving others. As I was focusing my heart and mind on loving God first and writing about what that means (which is a book in itself), I found myself being reminded of the past. I'm talking the way past, like elementary school past.

I confess that I struggle with self-esteem issues. This comes from a history of being the know the person who sits at the table in the cafeteria with all the other "rejected classmates"...the "un" popular table. We all sat together because nobody else wanted to sit with us...not because we wanted to sit with each other. So, there we were all developing friendships with people we really didn't desire friendships with because we wanted to be friends with those who didn't want us to be friends with them! How stupid is this?

I truly believe this is where the draw to abusive people childhood. It is the unquenchable desire to belong, to fit, to be loved, and known by others. We want to be somebody God has not called us to be. We want to be popular and well known by others. Often we make terrible mistakes in order to get the status in life we so desperately desire. Often we are willing to sell our very souls..only to our own demise. This comes from the innate desire God has placed in us to be known and loved by Him. But we are so misguided by our sinful nature and deceived by an enemy we unknowingly embrace as our friend when our true friend for life is the one we often reject..the only One who has all the love we seek and knows how to love perfectly.

One would think this self-destructing desire to be in the "in" crowd would stop after becoming a Christian. Accepting Christ saves our souls but often we trade off a healthy relationship with God and others in order to achieve status in Christian "groups" (often referred to as cliques). We desire to be friends with the "popular" Christians and to feel accepted by the "in" crowd of believers. (Ah yes...the enemy is alive and well in the church..and bent on keeping the lost out and the saved blind). After all, there isn't a human being on planet earth who can say that they enjoy rejection. We all have a desire to be accepted and loved by somebody. It is in us because the root of this desire is a need for perfect love from the Father. Yet, even in the church...even as Christians...we just keep "looking for love in all the wrong places". (Okay..I know..corny...just sayin'.)

Unfortunately, this "love" we seek is distorted and we are confused. Look at all the books written about love. One that I have read recently is, "The Five Love Languages". I have discovered that my main love language is quality time. I do not feel loved when those I love are not willing to give me quality time. I also feel like others feel loved when I give them quality time. But for some, giving and receiving gifts defines love. Sadly, since that is not my love language...too often, others who do not see quality time as love, will not understand that I am loving them. They instead may feel suffocated and want to get away from me. Then I no longer feel loved.

It's almost as if love is defined by how "I" see it. The problem I have with this is that the only part about love that has to do with me is whether or not I am doing it and doing it right. Love is not about what I get. It's about what I give...what I do. Why do so many people seek so many places to find the meaning of love. So many authors have gotten rich of of people's need to understand love.

Truthfully, there is no need for any other book to be written because God wrote the only book we need that very clearly defines love. God taught us love because He lived it. He sent His One and Only to demonstrate pure and perfect love. It is all about self-sacrifice. It's all about sacrificing your desires and your time and your comfort and your money to give to another. It's about being willing to give up your very life to answer the call of God.

So, here are a few definitions of love for those who may be seeking to understand. Love is not something you say or feel. It is something you do. Love may make you feel good and want to tell somebody about it...but if you are doing it...the words "I love you" will never need to fall from your lips for another to know that you do. In addition, you know you love and know you are loved even when it may not feel so good.
1 Corinthians 13

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I write these words from the fingers of one who has not been loving God, others, or myself. I have been impatient, unkind, envious, self-exalting (therefore not exalting God). I have been angry, keeping perfect records of all wrongs ever done to me, I have delighted in deceiving myself, therefore blinding myself from Truth. I started to lose hope, put up walls, created an inability to trust (based my trust on people instead of God), but I will not accept defeat! I will persevere with Christ in me, the Hope of Glory...perfect love.

To continue with my story...

I have spent the last week looking over my life, rekindling the pain of rejection. I have been wondering what is wrong with me that people are repelled by me? Why do I have so much trouble making and maintaining healthy friendships? I have focused on rejection by my parents, my friends, the much. I could write a book on rejection and it would probably be a best seller!!!! I began to feel hopeless and pathetic. This led to a domino effect that led me to unforgiving those I have forgiven, taking back what I have let go of, resurrecting a past that was dead and buried, and a gigantic pity party...the guest of honor..who else? ME!

This is why I have not been posting over the last few days (aside from being very busy). I knew my heart wasn't in the right place. I had to get it right and have spent the last couple days crying out for God to deliver me from my enemies...only to discover yet again who my worst enemy is...satan? No...he is no threat to me. God has made that clear. My worst enemy is myself. I deceive myself right out of loving God by not loving my enemy...not loving others more than I love myself. The funny part about that is, I'm really not loving me either when I am so selfish. I'm hurting my relationship with God and others..and as a result..I am hurting myself more than anyone.

My former pastor once said something to me that I really had a hard time grasping...but now I understand. We must be careful not to give satan more credit than he deserves. Sometimes we need trials to open our eyes to who we really are. Much of the time our trials are consequences of our own actions. And often, God sends trials our way to teach us. And even in the rare instance that our torment may be related to the evil one...he can only go as far as God will allow for His good purpose and glory...Therefore, for our ultimate good. (See Romans 8:28.)

So, now my loving, amazing, wonderful God and Lord of my life has spoken to me in the time I have given to Him today (I'm thinking His love language is the same as mine...quality time..he he). He clearly spoke through the devotions I read and His word. And He has brought into light that which was hidden in darkness. I praise Him for the darkness because His glory shines much brighter and clearer in the darkness. He has made clear that which I could not see. He has shown me the dirt and swept it away. Once again...He has made my heart clean. This, in the Christian realm is known as a filling of the Holy Spirit. I have been born again again! The old has passed away. I have been clothed in righteousness. He has made me new...again! Feels like the very first time!

"My chains are gone, I've been set free. My God, My Savior has ransomed me. And like a FLOOD...HIS MERCY REIGNS! UNENDING LOVE, Amazing grace."

Love God

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