How To Live the Best Life in 2018

wordswag_1514896506062.pngWe all desire to be loved, don’t we? We will do almost anything to be valued, to feel like we are a worthy person. And, it can be a trap! We confuse “I like what you do” with “I love you for who you are” too often. That is not surprising, really, for many of our human relationships are formed around roles and performance.  While we are children, it does not take us long to discern that others like us more when we do what they ask us to do. But, what an amazingly wonderful thing happens to us when (or if) we discover that kind of love that has nothing to do with how good we are, how well we do our job, or our attractiveness.  Finding a person who shows us that kind of love that says – “I love you just because …”  makes us feel most alive.

Christian, do you know that God loves you ‘just because you are?’

Jesus says this – “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (John 15:9, NIV)  Jesus lived in complete harmony and intimacy with the Father, without separation, without shame, without pretense because He knew that “God is love.” Do you believe that or are you still convinced that God loves you only when you are good, when you manage to live an entire day without saying or doing anything too sinful? Yes, it is true that we rebel and resist and that those choices (called ‘sin’ in the Bible) separates us from knowing God. But, God’s desire is for us, so much that He gave His Son to restore our relationship to Him. He did so for no other reason than His love. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ” (1 John 3:1, NIV)

The conspiracy of evil will try to keep you and me from believing that God loves us.  From Eden to now, the whispered lie is that we are rejected, unworthy, unvalued! And, where that is the only ‘truth’ fear grows and from that fear comes all kinds of destructive choices; hate, addiction, manipulation, hypocrisy, controlling religious behaviors – just to name a few. But, when we believe what the Word says; ” God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first. ” (1 John 4:17-19, The Message)

The best life we can know in 2018 is founded on the fact of the love of God, for you, for me, that desires us, that promises us life now and eternal! Before you object, pause to meditate on the story Jesus told about a son who took his inheritance, left his father, and wasted it all in rebellion. When he remembered his father’s house, he was drawn home,  but even then tried to make a deal.  But the father ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and welcomed him home.  This is the story of God’s love for us.  It will free us to be all He desires for us.

So here is a word from the Word – one of the most beautiful and powerful passages in the Bible. Receive it, believe it, and let it change you from the inside out.
“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.
Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:18-19, NLT)

__________________

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

 Behold the Man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

 I will not boast in anything
No gifts no pow’r no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Stuart Townend © 1995 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

 

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