Seeing As God Sees

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Have you grasped the fact that God loves you?

God loves you.

Completely. Totally. Unconditionally. Just like you are. Warts and all. Never going to stop. With the constancy of the sun’s rays streaming toward the earth, God loves you. You don’t have to do anything to deserve His love. In fact, you can’t do anything to make Him love you more. And you can’t do anything to cause Him to love you less. His love is beaming toward you personally. The Maker of the heavens knows your name. The Creator of the universe is a friend of yours. Not making this up. It’s a fact.

So what? What does that really mean and how does it change my life?

In the safety and security of knowing God loves me, I can be honest with myself about myself. I can unpack things I’d otherwise be ashamed of and ask God to take them away. Instead of ‘managing’ my sin (which never works) I can get behind my core tendencies and truly change how I think and act. I can let God change me with a scalpel, not an axe.

Let’s say a guy finds it easy to get angry with his wife… a lot. He fusses at her, makes fun of her in front of the kids, and sulks for hours…sometimes days. Christian tradition would say ‘Confess your sin to God, ask Him to forgive you, and ask for the discipline and self-control to avoid getting angry next time.’ That doesn’t “open the box” of himself…he just tries to keep the lid on and manage himself. He’ll rationalize  “it’s just human nature” or “just being a man.” This doesn’t work.

Suppose this same man comes to believe God truly loves him. Just the way he is. Anger and all. In the security of that love, he says, “God I’ve got this anger boiling inside me. Help me trace it to its source and take it away.” It may take some counseling, or being part of a small group of transparent guys. But being honest with himself about himself  is the beginning of transformation. When we own stuff about ourselves…when we admit, “It’s not just human nature, it’s my nature,” we’re approaching ourselves honestly and objectively. And the moment we bring our true selves to our Heavenly Father, He starts to work in us.

When I surrendered to Christ in the backyard of my house at age 33, I grasped God’s love for the first time. I saw that my life had been all about me, driven by my need “to matter.” When I realized that I already mattered to God, everything changed. As I gave Him unfettered access, He showed me things about myself that He’d built in. Good things. Things He didn’t want to change, just redirect. Other things in there, from my sin nature or from stuff I’d added along the way, well, they had to go. I used to write when I was angry. He kept and grew the writing, just replaced the anger with gratitude. I used to drink socially. He showed me that wasn’t a part of me He wanted to keep. So together, He and I walked away from it and I haven’t tasted alcohol in almost 30 years.

Receive God’s love for yourself. Then you’ll be free to examine yourself, building on the unique gifts and talents God placed in you and, with God’s help, removing the parts He wants out….parts that have no place in the life of a Christ-follower.

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