Here's a truth about God's love that's both conceptual and extremely practical. Love creates movement. When love is present, there will be motion. You can stay stationary when God's love comes toward you. And there are really only two directions in the response movement to God's love:
- Movement Godward
- Movement away from God
We are propelled by love toward God or repelled by his love away from him, but we don't stand still. When God's grace enters our life, it causes us to respond. For example, let's say that I'm dealing with a particular issue in my life that is sinful and dysfunctional. And let's say that God brings X person into my life to help me deal with that issue. This person confronts me with the truth about myself. They help me see that God's best is really much more than what I've been living. This person, on God's behalf, sets before me life and death and gives me a choice (cf. Exodus 30:11ff]. His love intersects my life and forces me to choose, and in choosing, to move. Love creates momentum the propels me toward God or repels me from him based on my choices in responding to that love.
Has there ever been someone in your life that you have reached out to in love, and they have not taken that love? It may have been tough love (as above) or even intimate love, but they don't know how to respond or can't or won't and they are instead repelled by it. So many of us respond to God that way. He constantly reaches out to us to see us moved toward him in deeper intimacy, deeper fellowship, deeper communion with him but too often we are scared of love and the changes required, so we turn the other way. Scripture calls that "hardening our hearts." Hebrews 3:15 says it this way:
"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."
When someone offers us love and grace, and we can't or won't take it, we harden our hearts from receiving that love. We become unreceptive and closed, and we "move" away from them. On the other hand, when we cultivate hearts that are open, inviting, and receptive, then we are drawn closer to God as he offers his love to us - painful or intimate. I don't know about you, but I can certainly so many things to soften my heart and open it up. I can surrender control, for one thing. I can face my pride. I can admit that I am not self-sufficient. I can be honest and say that I need love and without it I am lonely. I can pray to the Lord and ask him to soften my heart to be receptive to his offers of love. In doing so, I may be able to move closer to him.
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