A few amazing things I love about this day.
Lunch with a uniquely wonderful friend. Laughter, absolute freedom to be ourselves, hearts full of love for one another and oh, yeah laughter. But my most favorite is how it’s light…but deep. Truthful, open, full of grace, Jesus-honoring, and yet light. Not bulky or burdensome. Easy flow. A blessing.
I’m thankful. Truly.
When I stop putting away groceries to check my “patron account” with my small-town library (did I ever mention I love my small-town library? I still love books. The ones with paper and old library smell. Smile.) and my screen shows these words:
Ready For Pick-up
Yowsers! It’s a great day!! The books I’ve been waiting on from the other slightly larger small-town libraries in my county have arrived.
I’m excited. Really.
It’s a gorgeous day. The sun in shining and it’s cool outside but the kind that feels good on your face. As I walk to the mailbox and think about the beauty of this day, I remember the scripture I read this morning.
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 Judgement 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 judgement–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)
First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
John really clears it up for us. God loved us first. We are going to love others if we are in Christ, but not because of anything we have to give in and of ourselves. Not because we are proving ourselves. I can really only give what I’ve been given. What goes in is going to come out.
God wants us to love, really love, but we have to live loved first. He already loves us, but often we don’t live like we are loved. We don’t live as though we are a treasure…as though we matter. You might not matter to one other soul on this planet, but you matter immeasurably to the One who made the planets. So, we try really hard to love others because we know it’s right, but we soon deflate because we aren’t loving from being loved. We are loving from a place of duty, what is right and what is expected. That may get us down the road a ways but it won’t get us to our destination.
God loved me first. He’s reminding me of His supernatural order today: first you are loved, now love others. The precious friendships of my life, books ready for pick up and cool crisp weather on my face brings me a measure of joy.
But Creator loves me.
He’s given me so many gifts and He keeps on giving.
I can hardly comprehend it. Yet it’s all around me. Undeniably.
And yet the building block of any joy, any stretch of my life to love others with Jesus-love, is in grasping His love for me first. Oh, then I don’t have to pretend. I don’t have to force myself or try so hard or live in knots when I do it wrong. I was loved by God before I ever did the first thing right. I don’t have to do right so He’ll love me or accept me. I want to do right and love people because I can’t get over it. Can’t get over being loved first.
Now I can look at the world and tell ’em what I got. Crazy love.
Ready for pick-up.