Monday, August 15, 2016

Changed by love...literally

God's love for us is the means of our transformation/sanctification/ spiritual formation.

Prior to eternity we experience his love *primarily by faith. In our present existence we are called to believe that he loves us no matter what we are going through. The primary proof of his love is the past work of Christ for us.  

*I say primarily by faith because God occasionally demonstrates his love through our experience and circumstances. But even these we benefit from by faith (do you know for sure a positive experience or circumstance is from the hand of God? Yes, but by faith i.e. it could be things went well by luck or happenstance. Of course we know for the true believer there is no such thing as luck or happenstance. But we know this by faith as well) and these are still secondary to the demonstration of his love for us in Christ's past work on our behalf. 

Once we go into eternity we experience his love firsthand by sight. As we continue to gaze upon him and take in his love we are transformed and our capacity for that love expands throughout eternity.

An illustration:

What is fascinating about shows like "American Idol" and "The Voice" is the transformation that occurs with the contestants as they continue to progress in the competition. As they do their view of themselves changes. Often after years of no recognition they are beat down and doubt they have anything worthwhile to offer. They must believe against all odds to continue. 

But as they progress on the show they are confirmed in their belief/confidence begin to have that belief reinforced that they really are capable after all and do have something valuable that others want. They begin to believe in their own value and talent. As they do you notice they become more relaxed, more confident and even more creative and productive (and if they recognize their gifts are from God, more humble). They begin to perform in ways they didn't know they were capable of. In short they actually look better and perform better. The full talent that they possess comes out more and more. 

This is a picture of the transformation that occurs with the child of God as they begin to realize God really does love and value them.

The big difference of course is our value is not based on our talents and efforts alone but ultimately on that of another i.e. on Christ's efforts on our behalf.

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Grace to you
Jim Deal