8.14.23 Deepening Our Ability to Love
Healing what stands between us and God is the way that we grow our ability to love Him and everyone else, including ourselves. When I first gave my life to Christ, I walked on air for a few days, then I came crashing down to earth with this thought: “Thou shalt not have any gods before me!” It took me three weeks to write down all those gods. Now I feel like this journey of following Jesus has been all about healing each of those gods. And I am sure that there are still some more in me which I have not even been made aware of yet.
Every step we take on this journey with Jesus brings us more and more understanding of who He is and what we are being asked to do. We learn how to lift all these gods up to the One True God for healing, and each healing brings us a bit closer to God Himself. It hasn’t been fun to face these gods in me, but I am grateful for all the highlighting He has done to bring them to my awareness, because, day-by-day I have drawn incrementally closer to the Lord of all life, and farther and farther away from what I learned from the world about who I am and how I am to live.
I was full of doubt and fear, having been shaped by my early childhood inability to follow my parents’ wishes. So, shame and guilt created all that doubt and fear. The church taught me that God was vengeful and couldn’t wait to punish me for everything I did that was sin. As an adult I had to leave the church and that image of God behind. About 10 years later, Jesus called me to a new life in Him, and I began a relationship with Him that was not based on that early church, but on His love and forgiveness for me and my ability to surrender to His desires for me.
The Lord has a plan for your healing and fulfillment that will truly enable you to love God, the whole Trinity, and every human being that He has created. Because He knows us so much better than we know ourselves, we need to follow His way of approaching our healing, as each person is an individual whose needs He is able to meet. As we grow in trust of Him and His ways with us, we also grow in our ability to love, to express the fullness of love as Paul described in Galatians 5:22-23 as the fruit of the Spirit: love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and humility. Included, but not stated is forgiveness for anyone we think hurt us, as well as forgiveness for ourselves and all that we have done. The fruit of the Spirit describe God’s way of loving, too, so that we benefit as do all the people that we express God’s love to.
To get to that point where we are no longer coming from our egocentricity, but from God’s way of loving is the greatest gift. We connect deeply with the people we meet. They experience our interest in them as love. There is a deep connection made that doesn’t get destroyed. Even if we are not perfect people, still we can express God’s kind of love to others and to ourselves. I am a trained spiritual director who used to love the sessions I held with others. Now the conversations I am having mostly over lunch with different people in my church and in the small groups that sustain me feel as deep in the Spirit as those spiritual direction sessions.
If we are following Jesus, we are continually growing in our ability to love, to forgive, to be present to anyone we meet. It is the true gift of the Spirit to be in community with everyone we meet. And that community is the One Church of Jesus Christ as named by Paul. We belong to that church as we have never belonged to any other organization. We belong because we are followers of Jesus Christ and because we bring His kind of love to everyone we meet. That is the true goal of following Jesus Christ.