Alpha Ministries, Inc
All of us are confronted with a multitude of choices to make daily. Many of them seem small and almost inconsequential while others seem overwhelming and life threatening. What makes life so complicated and hard is not just the choices we make but often it seems we really have no choice at all. Much of our confusion and frustration in life comes from the fact that we are not sure what choices we have, if we even have a choice, and exactly what choice we should make in any given situation. Welcome to the world of a control freak!
Seeking to control the people and circumstances in our life comes from a deep need to make ourselves secure in an insecure world. There is no guarantee that we will be unconditionally loved, accepted, and forgiven in this dog-eat-dog and often hostile world. In fact, chances are that we will be neglected, abandoned, or even abused. Likewise, unless we can control the people and circumstances in the chaos of this world it is impossible to find a real sense of importance, purpose, and competence. Wrong or bad choices seem naturally to lead to a meaningless and unsatisfying life.
Underlying all other choices we must make is the most important and basic choice. It is the choice the Bible urges us to make daily and describes it in a variety of terms. Jesus invites us to take his “yoke” upon us (Matthew 11: 28-30). Paul urges us to “present our bodies as living sacrifices unto God” (Romans 12: 1-2). James tells us to ask for wisdom from above (James 1: 5). Peter calls on us to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5: 6). All these directives (and many more) have one thing in common…surrender. We give up trying to make it happen and let God do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
In the AA program of recovery the 3rd step describes this kind of surrender as deciding to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. Making the choice to surrender all our decisions as well as our very lives to the control and care of God is the foundation and start of a new and satisfying lifestyle of grace in which God, through his indwelling Spirit, leads us, guides us into all truth, comforts us in our choices, reminds us who we are, and produces the very character of Christ in us. As Paul instructed the Philippians 2: 12-13, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have obeyed, not in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and do of his good pleasure. “
The fundamental choice we all must make each day is whether we want to let God control our lives. It is really a no-brainer since he is the sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe and loves us so much he gave his life for us. For me it boils down to one simple prayer each morning, “Lord please remind me of who you made me to be in your son and guide me in how you want me to love others around me today”. I really do not have any other choice that makes sense.
|Posted on 18 March, 2021 at 10:45|
God’s love is amazing! I’m not just amazed by the fact that God loves this dysfunctional world, but by the very nature of divine love itself. It’s no wonder that loving others the way God loves us is the highest calling we can ever know. To love another like that is the most amazing thing we will ever do, both for ourselves and those we love. Just think about the characteristics of this kind of love compared to our natural, human love.
God’s love is unconditional rather than conditional. God loves us when we don’t deserve it and haven’t met his standards. Human love is naturally conditional so that we love those who meet our conditions. Human love says, “I’ll love you if” while God’s love says, “I love you period”. Paul described it this way in Romans 5: 8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
God’s love is sacrificial rather than convenient. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son” (John 3:16). Human love is given only when it is convenient and cheap to do so. Divine love involves a total sacrifice of our own needs, feelings, rights, and expectations.
God’s love is initiating rather than passive. John explains that we love him because he first loved us. God’s love takes the first step, whereas human love is always guarded and will not run the risk of rejection. God’s love reaches out first, human love waits for proof of success.
God’s love is eternal not temporary. Divine love is consistent and never varies. Human love is temporary and changes according to circumstances or response. God loves us the same day after day no matter what is going on. He loves us as much today as he ever has or ever will.
Finally, God’s love is intelligent rather than romantic. God loves us enough to do what is best for us, not simply what will make us feel better. Human love is based on emotions and can often be “blind” to reality and confused about what is really needed. Divine love knows what is best and exactly how to supply the need.
These characteristics of divine love are truly amazing in themselves, but what really amazes me is to realize that God intends to use us to love others just like he does. Jesus’ “new command” to love others like he does is really a calling to be like God! Since God is love, and the greatest expression of that love is the person and work of Christ, when we love others with divine love, we are really just being Christ to them. Not only does God’s love benefit us personally, but it also transforms us to be Christ to others as well.
Receiving the unconditional, sacrificial, initiating, eternal, and intelligent love of God transforms us from the inside out to be able to love others in the same way. Transforming us from the self-centered ego maniacs we are naturally into being able to care about and love others is miraculous to say the least. This miracle of change occurs when we receive by faith the love of God and have our own personal needs satisfied in our relationship to him. When we know we are secure in his love and important in his plan for our lives we experience real hope. That joyful and confident expectation concerning our own future allows us the freedom to care about the welfare of others. We no longer have to worry about ourselves and our own needs, we are free to think about and care about the needs of those around us. We are free to love others with the amazing love of God.
Loving others like Christ is not only beneficial to them, but to us as well. Expressing God’s love is its own reward regardless of the response. When we are led by the Spirit to be Christ to others, we are living out our true identity. Being who God has made us to be by loving others reinforces our own sense of security and significance as persons. We are no longer dependent on a positive response from others to feel good about ourselves. We can be at peace knowing that we have done what God led us to do even in the face of a negative response. A favorable response is nice, but no longer necessary. We can genuinely love others without any strings attached.
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