Somewhere in my late 20’s, early 30’s, I was sitting in a classroom and my instructor was talking about the biblical concept of love. I turned to my friend Sandy and said, “I have never loved like this; I have never been loved like this - and if I am wrong about that it means I cannot recognize love if it smacks me on the head.”
Turns out I was wrong. I had been loved just like the bible talks about but I had not realized it.
Up until this time I operated under the assumption that love was conditional and that some relationships are unconditional (some relationships we are just stuck with for one reason or another) - again, wrong on both counts. There are a million reasons for this but I won’t bore you with the details.
Here’s what emerged out of this existential crisis of faith. I found a passage of scripture that pretty much gave me hope for the future even as I was dismantling the assumptions and firmly held beliefs of my past. I am convinced that this biblical framework for seeing how God relates to me began a journey that continues to this day. This journey is one that helps me become more resilient.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
3 I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
Romans 12:1-3 The Message
What do you notice in these words? I’ll unpack my perspective tomorrow.