Grounded in Love
Philippians 1:6-7 ESV
Ephesians 3:16-17 ESV
All this love business can sometimes seem a little overwhelming.
I remember at one point in my life when I wondered how I would be able to cope with all the things we are given in scripture.
I thought it was my responsibility to DO and remember everything.
Somewhere along the line I missed the memo that God does it IN me. I don’t have to try to remember.
I don’t have to do the work.
That’s works theology.
I knew I’d fail.
We are told a few things in scripture that clear that up. In Philippians 1:6-7, Paul wrote,
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.“
In Seminary my New Testament professor taught us to look AT every word. Then look at the phrases. Then look at the larger picture. What jumps out at me in verse 6 is this:
“He who began”
So, who began the good work?
God Jesus began.
Who did God Jesus begin the good work in or for?
In you (or in me).
God began the good work in me.
I did not begin anything. I am not the author or creation.
The good work starts with God Jesus and God Jesus does it in me.
Now. In order for God to do the good works in me, I do need to be willing. I need to open my hands so that I might receive what God has for me.
I didn’t keep track but I’d bet my Spiritual Director stopped me at least 1,000 times to tell me that I am not the author of creation. God is the author. It began with God who created. So it’s God who does the good work in me. God does the work. I need to open my hands and be willing to receive it.
I must be willing. That’s because God will not force me.
In the same way, Ephesians 3:16-17 tells us, “according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love.”
When we break down the phrases to WHO we are told It is God who is giving (granting) strength.
Specifically Paul tells us God is giving us strength.
God is giving us strength through His Spirit.
Christ dwells in my heart (your heart) through faith. Is it my faith? I used to think it was my faith in God. But I no longer think that way. I think it’s Gods faith that God gave to me.
When I was a child I didn’t decide. I heard the preacher talk about Jesus and I decided I want Jesus. I really didn’t decide. God (the Spirit) came to me and urged me to come. God asked if He could come. God was calling me to Him.
God was singing to me.
I heard the song and I turned. I felt God’s love come over me. When I heard the song and I felt God’s love, I wanted it. I wanted more of it.
A few years later when I was older, I went to hear Billy Graham and that night the Spirit swept over me with power and might. I’ve described it like multiple hurricane force wind. It was so powerful that I wept and I could hardly speak.
God came to me.
I didn’t engineer it.
I was a young teenager at that time. After that night I started having dreams and seeing visions. I saw things that would be.
I wish I could say that it was easy, but it wasn’t. I had a lot to learn about how to interpret what I saw. I have learned that I need to hold onto what God gives me lightly. In most cases they represent something that will come.
There have been times when I learned what God has for me in time. There have been times when God has sent someone to help me. There have also been times when I ask God to reveal the meaning and the Spirit helps me.
All I know for certain after many many decades is that what God gives me is rooted and grounded in love.
Love is the key. Gods love is eternal and God has never and will never fail us. God began the work in us and God will complete it. By His love, it will be done.
Spiritual Practice: In God
Sit with God. You do t have to talk unless you want to. Wait for what God has for you.
In God, Deborah