Free to Love

“The great enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but the good which is not good enough.” Oswald Chambers

The greatest enemy of the church is not smoking, drinking, dancing, and swearing. It is hearts and minds imprisoned by the idea that we all must do more, be better, and please God. The heart bound by the “good which is not good enough”.

What if you could live a life focused on God instead of “doing better”?

John 3:16 is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible, and because of that it’s impact is often lost in the religious fog of Christian culture. Slow down for a moment and really think about it. Repeat it to yourself. “For God so loved the world”. So loved. So. Loved. The I AM so loved. The Infinite so loved. The God of Angel Armies so loved. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” Before you were born. Before you knew him. Before you believed. Now. This Moment. So loved.

What if the heart of God was filled with tenderness for you? What if he liked you?

Our lives and the church can be transformed by that kind of love. God did not keep his love to himself, but invited us to be a part of it. “So loved the world that he gave his only Son.” Not only to humbly experience everything we do as a man himself. Not only to die a terrible death as a sacrifice for all. Not only to rise victorious from the grave freeing us from a life lived in slavery to sin and the law. But He also came to invite us to be one in friendship and intimacy with Him as Jesus was by the mystery of “Christ in me” and my life “hidden in Christ”. The tender love of God, so powerful and wild has been shared freely with us. If we can truly believe we are so loved by God just as we are, and that through belief in Jesus we have been given new hearts and new natures just as he says, it is then we can be genuinely free. Free to live. Free to love. Free to invite others into that love.

What if your eyes were truly opened to what God sees? What if when you walked through Walmart or stood in line to check out, you saw the people around you as Jesus sees them? Imagine looking around as their outer shell fades away, and their “body of death” becomes transparent so that you see their true selves with the eyes of your Father. Tender eyes. Compassionate eyes. Eyes that keep no record of wrongs.  Eyes that so love. How might you relate differently to them? How might you relate differently to yourself?

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” God sent Jesus to save us from a life of trying. To save us from a life imprisoned and enslaved to sin and death. To save us from living a false life. He didn’t do all that just to save us from something, however. God sent his Son to offer us true Life, His life, abundant life, right now. To be lived today. A tender invitation to be in Him and he in us. An invitation to a life of intimate relationship, and out of that relationship we will bear the fruit of His love abundantly. His Kingdom is here. Now. In you and me.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me.” (John 15:4)  The branch does not try harder to do good and bear fruit. It simply abides in the branch and the life of the branch flows through it and the fruit grows. So keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and let his Life in you bear the fruit of reckless love to be enjoyed by all who eat of it.

vine

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