Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lesson from Life, 4

The Christian life is simple. Not easy.

I grew up in church. I always believed. I asked Christ for forgiveness of my sins when I was a child. Our family attended church during the days when most people good people went to church.

I didn't really understand the Bible. I understood the gospel. I loved Jesus. I tried to be good. I thought the Bible was about history, the end times, and salvation. Period.

Many years passed. I went to college, got married, and went to church occassionally. I prayed and I loved Jesus. God gave us a lot of commands about what we had to do to measure up to His standards. Some days I did better than others. I would try hard or hardly try. If it was to be, it was up to me.

Finally, I came face to face with my inability to do life on my own. We went back to church. I began to really study the Bible. I studied several hours a day, for several years. I read commentaries, read books, listened to preachers/teachers, and asked lots of questions. I studied the nuances of the Greek words for love. I learned the names of God.

But I still struggled in living the Christian life. If I could just learn more, I could live better. WRONG!

I knew a lot, but I didn't live the Christian life any better. As I learned more about God, my Father, I found His heart .... His heart for me. I realized that He loved me, period. He doesn't love me more if I am more obedient or less if I mess up. He just loves me. He gave me His Presence, the Spirit, so I would never be alone. I can know Him. I can love Him. I can spend time with Him. He lives in me and can live through me.

I am made to love Him and be loved by Him. I can be so full of His love that it spills out on everyone around me .... without asking, expecting, or needing anything in return. That's it, the whole ball of wax.

No need for knowing all of the nuances of the original language. No need for keeping lists of all I should be doing or how I have failed. I am loved. I am forgiven. I am accepted.

Do I always remember that? No.
Do I always live like that? No.
Sometimes I fall back into my old habits. It is not always easy to keep my mind fixed on Him. It is not always easy to get my focus off my circumstances.
But the love that He has for me doesn't change.

I can still love God with all my heart and be loved by Him. Because of and with that love, I can freely love others, no strings attached. A lesson I have learned in this life.

The Christian life is simple. But it's not always easy.