From flames to forgiveness-Part II

Outwardly I spread out kindness, grace, even good-deeds, believing my actions would convert the pain of betrayal, blame and condemnation. Act yourself into a feeling, so to speak.

Outwardly I resisted, controlling and protecting through avoidance by positioning myself to not be in the offenders presence for a duration. Time heals all wounds, so to speak.

The above is an excerpt from last weeks post Journey from flames to forgiveness. This journey of forgiving started in the upside down way of the world–do and then I will be the forgiver and the forgiven; do and then I will be rewarded; do and then I will receive (worldly) blessing.

Strive to follow the rules and then I will please God and become complete in Christ.

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In our human world, it is natural to want to have rules to follow, laws to live up to, yet is that what God calls us to? Are His ways the ways of the world? Does He call us to follow the way of rules to become worthy of being complete in Him?

I tried to find my own words to answer these questions with what I think is truth but Paul’s words say it so much superior.

What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily. Galatians 2:20-21 The Message

I’m struggling friends, of what to write, as there is so much here to unpack! It is the foundation for understanding how much we are loved without needing to ‘impress God.’ It is through this love, our identity in Him, we no longer are  ruled  by our egos, others opinions of us, and our human vulnerabilities. And we are free to love ourselves and others as Jesus loves who keeps no records of wrong.

(Love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5

When we grasp this understanding that we are already complete in Christ, loved wholly and unconditionally, we no longer need to be loved by anything else in this world. Often our hurts, offenses made against us are from expectations we have on others on how we think we should be treated. Our identity gets wrapped up in our attachment to how others satisfy our egos. So when others do not live up to our own expectations, our character feels attacked, and we take offense. We become afraid and build our walls of defense.

In other words we become a slave to others opinions and treatment of us.

But Jesus showed us a Way out of this entrapment to freedom. He showed us how to love.

 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:24

They do not know what they are doing. No judgement, no unmet conditions, just Perfect Love seeing the brokenness in his offenders, and keeping no record of the wrong. Instead, He rose and came back into a world that crucified Him because He loves us that much!

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When we grasp this understanding of this perfect love He has for us, where there is no condemnation, no-need to please or make-up for our transgressions, we begin to love ourselves as the Father loves us, freeing us to let-go of any need to be loved and treated a certain way to feel okay in this world. And in that way we free others too, from our own judgement and conditions. This leads us to take no offense and casts out our fears of being vulnerable because we are complete in Christ, and fully loved just as we are now.  We can then take that understanding of God’s love for us and return that same love out to the world.

Friends, I don’t pretend to know it all. Paul’s words again express this so much more superior than mine.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12

Camp on these words for a moment-Christ Jesus took hold of me. He’s got you, looking out for you, because of who He is-Perfect Love.

letgo3-35-of-1And how can we understand His perfect Love that holds no record of wrong, that does not take offense and extends only grace? I believe only through the Holy Spirit, asking our eyes and heart to be opened to Our Good Father.

Open the Eyes of My Heart-Michael W Smith

 

 

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20 thoughts on “From flames to forgiveness-Part II

  1. Hi Lynn! I was just at bible study last night, when we studied the words of Hosea. He says that God wants our hearts, not our empty practices. He really wants a relationship with us.
    I can’t be a slave to others opinions and God at the same time. Like you said, letting go of people-pleasing is hard, but necessary to fully be ourselves, and to share that with our Maker. If I don’t come to him fully, then I’m taking my love and time away from him.
    Believe me, it’s a work in progress for me…
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Hosea is such a beautiful love story isn’t it? This might be a time to dive into it again. What an enriching study it must be. And yes, so true He does not want our ’empty’ practices! I realized I have done to hope to be filled when all He wanted was for me to accept His grace and mercy. Thanks Ceil!

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    1. God is good. It has definitely been a year of going deeper into Christ in me and experiencing that freedom. There have been a lot of pointers and my blog friends are a part of those pointers. Thank you for being one of them!

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  2. Hi Lynn,
    Realizing we are loved is sometimes hard to grasp but you’ve offered us the key — asking to be guided by the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and illuminate our understanding. It is freedom to revel in the knowledge that grace is extended to us and then we can offer it to others, but it can be hard to practice (at least for me)! You’ve tackled a perplexing mystery – -that we are loved by God just as we are!

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    1. Hi Valerie, you nailed it that accepting His love and grace can be hard before we are home again. But so grateful He did leave us the Spirit to help us practice it, and loves us even when we fail. I like how you say ‘illuminate our understanding.’ I might just borrow those words when speaking of that is ok!

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  3. Wow, Lynn! This really resonates with me. I’ve really been trying to get out of that rut of “doing.” I can say I believe in free grace, but I feel I live out that I have to earn God’s love. I love the Message’s version in Galatians 2! And this is so true – “When we grasp this understanding that we are already complete in Christ, loved wholly and unconditionally, we no longer need to be loved by anything else in this world.” I have been longing to grasp this deeply in my heart. Thank you so much for this beautiful encouragement here today of Jesus’ Perfect Love. Hugs!

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    1. Hugs to you back Trudy! That Message version of Paul’s words got me too, showing the struggle to ‘please’ where we can get slaved by our world. But the Spirit keeps nudging us out, asking us to turn to ‘grasp’ Him as He knows it brings peace, joy and love. I sense you’re listening to that nudging, T! It’s a journey. Just so important for us not to be too hard on ourselves. I have to remind myself of this too over and over.

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  4. I’ve been a “rules” girl for as long as I can remember, so I can relate to this in so many ways. The Lord’s been showing me much in the last few years, and I am so grateful. I appreciate this, more good things to ponder. 🙂

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    1. Karen, I know my analytical mind wants to say I do this and this, and the result is this. I think our society and even our churches point us in this direction of ‘doing’. It sounds like God’s been showing you a way that brings the peace of Him into your life. So grateful for His guidance in you and all of us…

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  5. Oh Lynn, yes! When we begin to grasp how much God loves us, we stop {or at least slow down!} our expectations that people will fill that aching chasm deep inside. We get freed up, our relationships improve because we’re not so needy, and we get comfortable in our own skin and can really be who He’s created us to be.

    What a super post. Thank you so much for going here.

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    1. Hi Linda! I love your words of ‘aching chasm deep inside.’ You also remind me how so freeing it is for ourselves to let go of expectations, however, when we are this way, it is freeing others to be more comfortable in their skin too! God designed us perfectly didn’t He? Have a wonderful day!

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  6. Lynn, it is so freeing when coming upon the realization that He wants an intimate relationship with us. To know we have been saved by grace, not by our own works. Every other religion is based on hoping to be good enough to get into heaven or paradise earth, but Jesus is the only one, Who was and is good enough to pay the price for us all. Thanks for your post!

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  7. Lynn, thank you for sharing honestly. Your words are truth, and comforting as well. I love what you said near the end of your post. Paul’s words. The phrase, “Christ Jesus took hold of me” never stood out like this before. That is such a powerful visual and understanding. When I can live like He’s got my back, then I can live in the confidence that He’s with me, even when it comes to forgiving those who are hard for me to forgive.

    Such a beautiful post!

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  8. Thank you Lynn for pointing us to Paul and the journey he took in following Christ. He learned how to die to self in order to live for Christ and that is something I hope I can somehow understand and live in a small way in my own life. Knowing Jesus has perfect love for us should be enough. I know that if I embraced this truth I would be so much better at accepting me for who I am and others for who they are. The fact that Jesus took hold of each of us is a beautiful nugget of truth that leaves me in awe that anyone loves so fully. Your words are life giving and I appreciate your willingness to unpack this from your perspective.

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    1. Hi Mary! I see you as living out God’s love for you and connecting with others in your writings of your experiences. I know we won’t ever get it perfectly here, and am grateful He has given us His word and relationships to navigate this journey of life. Thank you for being part of my journey!

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  9. Dear Lynn…I am soaking in the words that you posted…I know I will re-read this more then once to be able to absorb the layers this post has to it. Looking forward to the Holy Spirit bringing understanding each time I read. At the first of the year I took on the word, knowledge thinking I needed more knowledge but it just didn’t sit well even though I wanted more knowledge. Several events God was walking me through concerning my own freedom in Him help me to see I needed the word, deeper. If I never gain one more scrap of knowledge of Him I know I have enough…Enough to know I am saved eternally, nothing can snatch me out of His loving hands. Enough to know He has given me gifts that need to be put to use for the sake of others. Enough to know He only keeps me here because there is lost all around me. You post has put another layer of depth in my going deep, thank you,

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    1. Enough! So true. Yes, Amen to that. In our world it can be hard to grasp that we are enough right now when there is pressure all around to perform. But Christ gave us freedom from that striving. It’s a lesson I know I that is ever evolving for me. Thank you for your words. They are a ‘wise’ blessing to me and others, I am sure!

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