1 John 4:19 ESV
I’ve said it before and I’m say it again a thousand times. We are not the author of love. We did not create love.
1 John 4:19 says, “we love because he first loved us.”
Whew…am I ever glad.
I remember the first time I realized I don’t have to DO.
That concept became real to me when I studied Communication and Culture in college and the U.S.A. was listed as a ‘doing’ culture. Studying how various cultures communicate was much more complex than I thought it would be.
Various cultures interact in different ways.
As I studied how various cultures interact I came to realize that includes our interaction with the Gospel message. In some ways I realized there are aspects of the Western Culture that are not altogether easy to understand in scripture (https://cultureplusconsulting.com/2015/06/23/nine-cultural-value-differences-you-need-to-know/).
For example, the overall concept of complete reliance on God to do the work is not in complete alliance with the American culture.
Many Americans believe they are responsible for at least part of the action. Surrender theology is more difficult for people who live in a doing culture.
At this point we have to remember that Jesus was born in Israel which is located in the Middle East.
Middle Eastern, Chinese, and Japanese cultures are part of the ‘being’ cultures.
Fortunately for me, my dad believed in surrendering to God. Sometimes that means we have a hands off approach and we allow God to be in charge.
Believing that God initially created love and daily is the author of love is more in line with a being culture.
That does not mean that it’s impossible for Americans or others who are part of a doing culture to believe that God created love and continues to create love today in our every day lives. It just means that we need to be aware of what our culture teaches us.
The concept that we love because God loved us first is a perfect example.
We did not create love.
God created the world and humans out of His love.
God set the ball in motion so to speak.
We accept God’s love.
In Spiritual Direction terms we open our hands and receive what God created.
We receive God’s love.
The intent in today’s scripture is in receiving what God offers.
As an American that’s easier said than done. We are good at do, do, and do. We are list makers. We accomplish goals because we do the work.
What I learned is that I had to re-train my brain to wait on God. It wasn’t easy for me, because in many ways it was counter-cultural. I had to learn to stop planning and wait for God to give me His plan.
After practicing being in God/Jesus and waiting for over twenty years I still catch myself planning and doing instead of waiting and being in God.
Today that is probably the Spiritual Practice I use daily. When I catch myself thinking that I can do this or do that for God, I stop. I sit in silence and open my hands. I wait. I intentionally ask God to let me see what He has for me today.
I integrate my Spiritual Gifts with my Spiritual Practice. Since my #1 Spiritual Gift is Dreams and Visions, as I sit in silence I wait for God to show me what He has for me.
As I practice daily and open my hands to God, I have grown more comfortable waiting on God. I have come to realize being in God brings great peace.
I rely on God’s peace.
It did not happen overnight.
I am still a work in progress.
I continue to practice it daily.
It really is a crazy journey with God!
Today’s Spiritual Practice: Silence
Sit in silence with God and physically open your hands. If you’ve identified your Spiritual Gifts, watch for God to communicate with you using those gifts.
BE in God.
In God, Deborah