Of all the different ways we can consider making a difference in the world, I believe the most important and profound way we, as Christians, can be difference makers is simply by experiencing the fullness of LIFE Jesus offers. Not arguing politics. Not being good moral people. Not attending church or going on mission trips (Although I LOVE going to mission trips!). I believe, by far, the greatest impact we can have on the world, the deepest satisfaction we can feel about the meaning of our lives, will flow freely from allowing the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to invade our hearts and minds, electrifying us in off-planet, supernatural, only God ways.
Unfortunately, far too many of us cut off our Father from our hearts. I continue to labor to bridge the gap between our theology and our emotions. And here is another swing at the plate!
When you read the following passage, what kind of emotional content do you see? The following is Ephesians 5:1-2 and was written by the Apostle Paul,
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
I love printing out, or writing out, verses. Doing so gives me a lot of space to circle words or write thoughts as I try and understand the passage. You may find it helpful to try that here because these two verses are LOADED.
I wonder what kind of emotional impact you think Paul wanted his audience to experience from these verses? Did he want them to only “think” about the teaching or does he also want them to feel it? Does he want them to experience something in their hearts as well as their heads?
And, if he does want some heart connection, what would that heart connection be?
In a broader sense, I would love for the Holy Spirit to use these two verses as seed in you to open you up to all the heart/feeling/experiencing words of the Apostle Paul. Paul, the “theologian of theologians”, wrote prolifically and robustly about feelings and experiences. I don’t think you can truly understand Paul’s words until you can also feel Paul’s words.
So, what kind of emotional encounter do you think Paul wants his people to have as he calls them beloved children of their Heavenly Father? As he points to the reality that the Christ, the Chosen One of all creation, loves them as well? As he highlights the cross as the manifestation of the degree to which Jesus loves…….you?
Doesn’t Paul want us to be soaked in love like a biscuit soaked in gravy? Imagine pouring gravy all over a biscuit so that you can no longer see the biscuit. Then, let the biscuit be smothered for five minutes. What would you say about the biscuit, if after five minutes, you pulled it out of the gravy and NONE OF THE GRAVY PENETRATED THE BISCUIT? Smothered but not soaked! That’s a HARD biscuit!
When you have had biscuits and gravy, haven’t you broken up the biscuit and sopped up the gravy? Why do you break the biscuit? You break the biscuit so that the gravy can penetrate deeper! Sop it up… 😊 (Apparently biscuit sopping can be theological!?!?)
Does Paul just want smothering or is he expecting soaking? I suggest Paul calls his people beloved children of God our Father because he expects God’s children to experience God’s love! To be lit from the inside out for having been made children of God!
Hey, this isn’t just a Paul deal. The Apostle John is in some biscuit sopping love of our Father as well. Look at how EXPLICIT his teaching is on this subject from 1 John 3:1,
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us that we would be called children of God, and such we are.
Come on. What do you do with that? How does John want his audience then, and us now, to experience this? No way exists to know this passage without opening one’s heart/emotions/feelings to our Father so that He can heal, and bless, us!
But getting to the place of emotional freedom, trust, and confidence takes time for most of us. For a variety of reasons, many of us are emotionally hesitant. Ah, we are in great company! In John 4:16, the Apostle John shares a sliver of his testimony of opening his heart to our Father.
We have come to know and have believed the love which God (our Father) has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love, abides in God, and God abides in him.
This passage is worth another blog on its own. Do you see how John says his knowing (which in the Greek means experiencing) and believing (which means trusting) His Father’s love was a journey? JOHN WALKED WITH JESUS!!! And, yet, opening himself emotionally to His Father took time.
Come on…that is powerful.
What if, and I wonder if this is too strong, almost all of our internal instability and vibrations that negatively impact us and our relationships could be quieted by opening ourselves to our Father’s love and learning how to abide?
I am not sure how universal a solution resting in our Father’s love would be BUT I do know His love casts our fear, heals, and generates life.
Can you feel Ephesians 5:1-2? Where are you on John’s heart journey? Would you be willing to start? Would you be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to move you forward?
Pray with sincerity.
Father, I want my heart to be wide open to you. I want to know and believe in your love. I want to experience the rush of your love for me. I want “beloved child” to be deeply meaningful to my soul. Will you graciously show me the way by your Holy Spirit? Will you show me barriers, fears, wounds, or doubts that keep me from releasing my heart to you? Thank You Jesus, my brother, for making my adoption into our Father’s family possible. In Your name I pray, Amen.