Monday, May 9, 2011

Conformed to Transformed: Christ-minded on Love

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ~Romans 5:8 (NIV)

There is a lot of pain and hurt in this life, but, in Christ, that pain and hurt need not be our resting place.  Sometimes in the midst of pain, struggle and hurt, it is hard to keep sight of the fact that we are dearly loved by God.  So often, the struggles that touch our lives do not feel marked by love, and yet God showed us how deeply He loved us by sending His Son to die for us -- though we were sinners.  Holy God sent His Son into the pit of sin that we might be pulled out of its depths.

Just as this Holy God was willing to send His Son into the pit of sin that we might be saved, this same God is willing to allow struggle and pain that we might learn to rest in His Son and be renewed from within.  He does not delight in our affliction, but He does delight in our transformation.  "He will not keep back even the most painful chastisement if He can but thereby guide His beloved child to come home and abide in the beloved Son." (Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ).  Transformation is that significant, that important, that necessary and that freeing.  Do we believe in a Love that will go to any means to make us more like His Son?

No matter what touches my day, everything boils down to this: do I believe that God is a good Shepherd and Overseer of my soul?  Do I trust that He knows my needs better than I do and that He will do exactly what is needed?

It is so easy to look at our situation, to sit in our hurt, and believe what we feel instead of the truth of God's words.  Those flesh-minded thoughts taunt and taunt, but we must persevere and seek God's help to keep our mind stayed on Him.

Flesh-minded Thought:
My life is filled with struggle and pain, God must not truly love me.

Christ-minded Thought:
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you. ~Isaiah  54:10 (NIV)

Flesh-minded Thought:
This hurts too much to be of God; a loving God would never allow me to hurt like this.

Christ-minded Thought(s):
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. ~Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

True Christian joy is the heart's harmonious response to the Lord's song of love. ~A. W. Tozer

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love him because he first loved us. ~I John 4:18-19 (NIV)

Fear is a result of being subject to someone who rejoices in evil and does not desire our good. If we are living in such fear, then we do not understand the depth of God's love for us. A Love that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. A Love that does not make us bend to His will, but is permissive in allowing man free will. A Love that has good plans for His children and desires to bring them a hope and a future. ~CDS

Rest has overtaken my heart through understanding that God never leaves a single detail dangling.  I know that sometimes it seems that He is working in another time zone (I guess in a sense He is - He works outside of time), but there is a peace that comes in realizing that time has no hold on Him -- our deadlines mean nothing -- His work will always be done in the very best way at the perfect point of purpose without a single detail dangling!  The only thing that God ever waits on, in relation to our personal destinies, is us -- He is always waiting to give us more of Himself, to bring fulfillment to our lives -- we can take comfort in the truth that He waits on us; He longs for us: He will keep hoping, keep persevering, keep enduring...because that is what Love does. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

Praise the LORD, for he has shown me his unfailing love... (Psalm 31:21, NLT)