Sorry it’s been so long since the last blog. Took a few days off to go to the mountains for a little R&R, and took a couple of weeks off blogging. Really didn’t mean for it to be that long–funny how that works, though, isn’t it?
Here’s some “Experiencing God” thoughts from Jim Groth:
As I reflect on Unit 3 some thoughts come to mind.
First, it seems to me that understanding God’s love is something we cannot do. It’s just impossible for us to understand something that is not naturally within us. But we can experience it. We cannot, unless supernaturally enabled, love like God. God’s kind of love is foreign to everything we hold to be viable for living life and protecting our self-interest.
The initial step in experiencing God’s love is to first trust Him in what Hehas done for us in Christ. Faith is the key to any kind of relating to God. This is a simple sentence and very profound, and it is enough said here because to go further would take an aside that’s way too long.
God’s love. The term seems to imply something God has. Further, it implies an attribute of His. But, although true to some extent taken alone these comments mischaracterize God’s love. The Bible says it better, “God is love.” This is more than just His nature, more than an attribute, and more than His will. It is a description of the core of His being. He cannot stop. It is who He is. We must fully understand that we cannot earn His love because He can do no other. It is free. He is perfect in love. His love encompasses and defines His perfection. When we think that God is perfect we mean He is driven by in a manner that requires Him to love. To do this is perfect, not to do this is imperfect. He always loves in every circumstance because of who He is– this is perfection. He also tells us we too must do the same. We must first love Him above everything else and then others as ourselves. If we can do this without ever not doing it we too have perfection. As we know, we have all failed.
This is why sin (unbelief) is so disastrous. It completely destroys this ability in us. The things we do wrong (sins) are mere symptoms of this problem. We have a problem now because God who is love cannot relate to beings who are not like that. The connection is broken. God has no option but to turn away from us, not because He wants to, but because He has to. His perfect love cannot tolerate less. To do so would require God be something other than what He is. This predicament is described as condemnation.
Fortunately, God, in his love, has become a man, Jesus, and takes the responsibility, guilt and shame for sin. This is the great example of love. He loved us in our broken condition to the point He becomes as us and fixes the problem by taking the blame himself. All we must do is trust that He has done this and start relating to Him, regardless of how it may seem.
Anyway, the core of the Gospel and our relationship to Hime is Hislove for us. Not ours for Him. He initiates love the love relationship with us through faith and maintains it.
I often take the words of 1 Corinthians 13, the great love chapter and substitute the word God for the word love.
God is patient and kind;
God does not envy or boast;
God is not arrogant or rude.
God does not insist on his own way;
God is not irritable or resentful;
God does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.