Continued from here.
In my last blog entry, I shared that Henry Blackaby’s book Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God resonated deeply with me and challenged my perspectives of how God interacts with us. One reason I was open to some of his points, which I had never heard despite completing numerous Bible studies, was because his starting point aligned so well with my own re: experiencing God.
Blackaby says – and I fully agree – that our starting point must always be loving God. As I shared previously, I had been a Christian for decades, but I continued to live in defeat until I made the life decision to set aside the first hour of every day for quiet time with God. The first thing God did was pour His love into me, and that changed everything – my perspectives about God, myself, my place in this world, and pretty much everything else. While I became a new creation at age 8 when I received Jesus as my Savior, that new creation did not manifest itself until I developed an actual relationship with God in which I received His love and grew to love Him.
I have learned through personal experience that loving God changes everything. I no longer try to “do what’s right” out of fear of going to hell or being punished. Instead, I love God more than I want to “do what’s wrong,” so my motivation for change is love rather than guilt, shame, or fear.
Another epiphany I had in Europe was that God cares much less about what I DO than about who I AM. When we were in Munich, the tour guide stopped us so she could place coins in the cup of a beggar (a sad young woman, not the dog in the photo). She didn’t do this for show, nor did she do it out of guilt, fear, or shame. Instead, her action was a reflection of her heart, which God had changed. I don’t think God cared half as much about her putting coins in the cup as He did about what her choice to do this revealed about who she is, and who she is reflects her love for God.
I have now been noticing my own actions and what they reflect about my heart. In some areas, my actions reflect a heart overflowing with love for God. In other areas, they reveal pockets of selfishness that need God’s healing. I am powerless to change my actions without God’s love, but as I fill with God’s love, my actions change with little effort. God’s love is truly that powerful!
[Graphic: Photograph of a dog pretending to sleep to collect coins in Munich, Germany. Courtesy Grace Daniels.]