So I find myself in the midst of finals week with a whole day with very little to do. And upon finally tiring of facebook, I was shocked to discover my blog is still floating around out there! Which I suppose makes sense, seeing as I never took action to take it down, but you might note that I haven’t posted since 2008. That’s my senior year of high school. I’ve changed quite a bit since then, and yet at the same time find myself struggling with many of the same things: for starters a solid helping of fear, and a heap of selfishness.
I’m thinking a lot today about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. He is decidedly against empty actions, so my usual striving for approval, which works so well in school, will not apply here. I relate a lot to the “blind Pharisees” that Jesus so often rebukes. Read Matthew 23, you’ll get a good picture of what goes on in my head sometimes. I too want a list of things to do for the Lord, maybe an assignment with a deadline, specific and easy tasks that will make people think that I’m really spiritual. But bear with me, check out what God actually wants, and how much more beautiful it is:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
— 1 John 4:7-21
This passage is just so amazing. How awesome is it that the creator of the universe can love us so much, we who can never do anything for Him. And He does not demand actions of us, but only asks that we in turn to Him in faith and to each other in love, because his character is such that learning how to truly practice self sacrificing love can bring us closer to Him. It’s all about love.
Which brings me back to my fear and selfishness. How can I ever be able to wholeheartedly love anyone more than I love being safe and comfortable? My roommate quotes me saying “I’d rather think of myself as retarded than heartless,” because I find myself having such a hard time remembering names, yet really have little problem in my college classes, and I’d love to say it’s some kind of disorder. But actually it’s just proof that I don’t care about people.
All in all, in the three years since I’ve blogged, I have changed quite a bit, mostly due to my friends in the body of Christ who helped break me out of my shell and have inspired me to even want to care about anyone or risk being vulnerable with them. But I find myself thinking today about just how very radical the love of the Lord is. To really give up ourselves for the sake of another, like He did. This seems an impossibly daunting task alone, as someone so heartless. It is comforting then, to know that He is there to help us. And in fact work through us, He who is love will help us to learn love.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
— 2 Corinthians 12:9
Anyway, that is where I am now, trying to learn how to love, and rely on the holy spirit who knows what He’s dong rather than on myself. Perhaps I’ll blog again before three years go by and let you know how it goes.