Because we’ve found that loving God is one thing, but it’s in our receiving His love that we’re truly changed.
And that difference is like the difference between going East or West, being in the life Jesus promised or trying to get the life.
As C. Baxter Kruger puts it, we’ve been looking into the wrong soul…ours. We’ve been trying relate to God while stuck in our own heads. What Kruger says about this is profound (emphasis added)…
“It’s not our inner feelings that are to guide our thoughts about God but His inner feelings…we fail to see that through Jesus what we’ve been given are His inner feelings, His inner knowing, His communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit.” (From audio recording, “The Light of the Cosmos“)
This is related to what I was talking about in “Let HIS perception of you guide your affections.” This was from a devotional by Graham Cooke.
The strange thing is, everyone who has received God’s grace for salvation has experienced the joy of receiving His love. But then we set out on this absurd us-focused journey of us trying to love Him, us trying to obey Him and us trying to please Him. It’s us committing ourselves to bullet points that promise us freedom but never quite deliver.
It’s really just us trying to be a new creation under an Old Covenant paradigm. So, while we got saved, we gradually wither away and lose our soul.
If you’re a rule-following, orderly and disciplined sort, this striving feeds your need to perform but like the elder brother in Luke 15, you won’t have the life that’s yours as a beloved son. If you’re the “go with the flow” undisciplined and a bit rebellious type, the frustration and boredom of this empty pursuit will eventually run you off the rails like the prodigal son. (My wife and I should know, she was the former and I was the latter!)
Why do we live under this illusion that abiding in His vast ocean of love is optional to living the life of freedom and fullness of joy promised by Jesus? That our Bible gymnastics and spiritual striving, or just trying to live a nice normal life like everybody else (except we go to church and do volunteer work), will eventually get us there and keep us there?
Then we lament when one day we find ourselves disappointed, frustrated, confused and feeling like a failure, but still trying to convince ourselves that this was meant to be the normal Christian life. Oh, we’re so very close yet so very far away!
Transformation is only found IN Him. It’s His life not ours that defines the Christian life. All His promises IN HIM are yes, and IN HIM amen (2 Cor.1:20). Get it? Not in our doing more for Him, studying about Him…but in being in Him. Which, ironically, we’ve already been placed there but we won’t perceive it or understand it until we’ve learned how to receive Him–not just on the day we were saved but in our everyday life.
And, as John said, receiving Him is receiving the same love from Jesus that the Father has for Him (John 15:9).
Or as Mike Bickle would put it, we’re learning how to be loved the same way God loves God. And that should be very happy thought!
Beloved, I know that your heart is sincere. You really love God and make every attempt to express your love for Him. But this is my question today…
“Have you learned how to receive His love?”
Are you guided by His perception, His affections, His inner feelings for you? Because learning to be in the Father’s embrace is the only place where you’ll find the transformation you’re longing for. Everything begins and ends there.
See your Heavenly Papa smiling over you today with open arms! He loves you so much. The only thing required from you is to jump in and receive His embrace.