You in your mercy have led forth the people whom you have redeemed. – Exodus 15:13 (NKJV)
Live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. – Ephesians 5:2
I had a privilege last Sunday to visit with a young man who was in a crisis of faith. That’s pretty unusual to say of a pre-teen, but that is what I would call it. He was genuinely concerned and even distressed that he was not “feeling it” when it comes to church. He felt that coming to worship should feel good and be meaningful.
As I visited with him I encouraged him to recognize and celebrate his own bravery. It takes true courage to be so honest with one’s feelings. It’s easier to hide such improper feelings as a deadness toward God and his word. I told him again and again that he was a brave young man; that I was impressed.
We also spoke about his mother’s love. He was at the age that he believed his mother loved him; those deep and dark feelings that question a mother’s love had not yet crawled to the surface of his thinking. I shared with him that no one on earth loves him more than his mother with which he agreed. I also told him that her love was nothing compared to God’s love for him.
Our relationship with God is not based on putting on appearances. It’s not a matter of faking it until you make it. In fact, Jesus says the poor in spirit are the blessed ones. It is to those who recognize their deadness of heart that God’s love is unbelievably good news.
The call to live in Christ’s love is a call to embrace his love for us, to relate to God in love (from him and to him), and to embrace others with the love we have received from God.