I used to see this verse as an instruction, now I see it as a description. A description of what lovers of Jesus do: we love. I find when I’m struggling to love, I need to know more of Jesus. I need a new revelation of who He is.
The book, Loving Our Kids on Purpose has been shaking me to the core again. I would recommend this book to everyone, even if you are not a parent (and especially if you are), because the author unfolds the truth of how God the Father parents us now out of a New Covenant relationship. It is utterly and radically different to the Covenant of old.
I know this in my head and sometimes in my heart, but oh, to live out of this reality at all times!
Here are a few excerpts from Silk’s book. I am trying to let these words stew in my heart and bring greater understanding, because I just know this is the truth that the Scriptures point to, and if I could live this way at every moment, what a joy and freedom I would know! And what a blessing I would be to those around me:
Jesus promoted relationship above rules. Love and relationship are the bottom line of the Kingdom…Freedom is a top priority in Heaven, because it is what makes relationships possible…God, the Father, is less interested in compliance and much more interested in love.
[In the Old Testament] God related to humankind from the outside in (see Jeremiah 31:27-34). Israel had a culture of external control. If you sinned, you got leprosy. If you sinned, you got stoned. If the nation sinned, their enemies invaded their territory…They had the priests, the temple, and a bunch of other external ways to experience God. In fact, practically every aspect of daily life for God’s people held some kind of external way to relate to God.
The New Covenant Jeremiah [the prophet] described is almost entirely different. He prophesied about a day when our covenant with God would move from an external experienced to an internal experience. The government of Heaven would move from outside the individual to inside the individual. This was the relationship with God that Jesus would introduce through His death and resurrection. (See Jeremiah 31:31-34.)
Many of us still live in the Old Covenant, dealing with God externally. Thinking that if we sin, we are going to be punished. Wondering if our flat tire or losing our job is because we did something to deserve it. But Jesus destroyed that concept on the cross. We no longer need to be punished because Jesus was. We no longer need to be controlled because we have the law written on our hearts. We now just need to learn to walk out our freedom.
We are still living in an Old Testament paradigm that builds an external structure to protect us from the powers of sin and death, instead of activating the power of God within us to do so. We still believe that sin is more powerful than we are. When children [or people] grow up in an environment where their parents are scared of sin, they learn to fear failure.
He goes on to say that God is not afraid of sin, afraid of us failing. God did not hide the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden, but put it smack dab in the middle. Click To Tweet He did not try to protect us from making a bad choice. This is how important freedom is to God.
[God] had a plan for every possible outcome [in the Garden], including the worst. Scripture tells us that Jesus was the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). God wasn’t freaked out by the fact that we could blow it.
God can carry peace into our messes because His plan, the cross, worked. He’s already dealt with the sin issue. He is going to be OK no matter what we do. The Father’s attitude towards us in our sin is, “It’s all right. But I need you to trust me, and I need you to hear me. We’re going to be OK. We’re going to make it through this. I can win with any hand that’s dealt to me. You’re on my side, and I’m on your side. We’ll pick up that which the devil meant for evil and turn it around, and because of that I want you to come to Me in the midst of your failure. I’m not mad. I got really made one time and I poured out all my wrath and punishment for sin on the Lamb that I supplied, because He’s the only One that could handle it (1 John 2:2). Jesus was punished unto death for all your mistakes, so why would I have anger and punishment for you now? I need you to come close to me, not be afraid of me and run away. I need you to trust that I love you and that I am with you and for you. Come here.”
He goes onto explain that if we are accustomed to being controlled from the outside in, by external laws, then we will always be subconsciously looking for something to control us: a religious environment, a legalistic church, a spouse who ends up being a control freak. We will do this because we are afraid of freedom and the power that comes with it. We won’t know what to do with it, so we will look for something outside of us to help “reign us in” instead of trusting that we are new creations with a new Spirit who is greater than any external force trying to take us off course.
I’m going to stop there. That’s a lot to meditate on. It’s so thick. May we all find greater and greater levels of freedom as we come to know Him with more and more clarity.
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