Saturday, May 28, 2016

Expanding or shrinking?

It is in treating others as God designed them to be treated (loved, respected, honored, cherished) that we also experience all we were created to be.

We can not fully experience our value/dignity unless we treat others with dignity/value. 

We are not just recipients of God's infinite and eternal love but designed to be the givers of it as well. It is who we are and how God made us. It is when we are most complete and aligned with our design, acting according to it. 

Giving/showing love does not save us (legally...only Christ does) but it does fulfill, complete and perfect us practically as his reconciled image bearers.

Every time we do something solely for ourselves (self gratification) it diminishes us and who God designed us to be (as both receivers and givers of love). It reduces us to even less of God's image bearer than we already are (we were designed to love others, never designed to be isolated and self focused/loved).

Every time we do something for another (God first and then fellow image bearers of God) it expands us, makes us more solid (to use a CS Lewis analogy) and helps mature us and restore us back more fully to who he designed us to be i.e. God like.

We are not God

Of course we are not God and can't give what we do not have (we may be godlike but we are still dependent creatures not the independent Creator. We are still not, nor ever will be God). However in Christ we have God himself in all the fullness of his love and therefore all we need to love as God loves; we are the objects of the fullness of God's love in Christ.

Eph 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

Why God sends us

God sending others to us (or us to them) in need of love is because he loves us i.e. He desires for us to experience his love more by having it flow through us to others. He desires to expand us into the person he originally designed us to be, for his glory and our joy.

Mar 12:28-31  And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" 

Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." 

Joh 13:34-35  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." 

Joh 15:9-12  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 

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Grace to you
Jim Deal