Archives For receiving

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I can’t eat Mexican food. Well, I can–but I’m not much fun to be around later. If you catch my drift.

Really, it’s the frijoles (beans) that don’t agree with me (my wife says I’m allergic). I suspect I’m not alone in this.

Thus, there’s a saying you may have heard: Mexican food is the gift that keeps on giving.

And giving.

As true as this is, eventually it passes.

There is a real gift that keeps on giving–no matter how badly we stink it up, and that’s God’s grace. Try as we might, we can’t “out-sin” it. God waits, like the father of the Prodigal son, scanning the horizon for his beloved.

He waits, when we stink it up, for us to fall (in the words of the late Rich Mullins) “on the grace that first brought me to you.”

Grace then, like Mexican food, is a gift that keeps on giving. Unlike, it doesn’t lead to noxious emissions; rather, it eradicates them.

Grace: we need it. We need to give it, we need to receive it. We need to live and breathe it.

Grace: freely you have received, now freely give.

Grace: is there truly anything else like it?

In a perfect world, I would know that I’m loved perfectly. As it is, this is something I struggle to receive–that I am loved wholly, completely, everlastingly–in a word, perfectly. Yes, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…”

In my mind, I know this is so, but something happens on the way to my heart. Wires are crossed, circuits shorted. I could posit reasons–cite formative experiences–but the bottom line is: I struggle with being loved by God.

How about you? Is this settled in your heart–that God loves you wholly apart from what you’re done, that His love is based solely in His nature, and not on any earthly merit you may, or may not, possess?

Think about the difference this would make in our everyday lives if we could accept this on faith. I don’t know about you, but I would be freed to act out of this love, and not from fear. I would be freed from expectations, of trying to be liked, from giving love to get ___.

Jesus indeed said “It’s more blessed to give, than to receive.” Yet how do we–how do I–give what we do not have?

How do I let the love in?

Jesus, why am I afraid? You set the example by risking it all, taking a gamble on the whole human race… yet, despite Romans 5:8 (“God shows His love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”), I want to protect myself, guard my heart. Yet you tell me that “he who seeks to save his life, shall lose it.” “O, wretched man am I!”

“Lord, I believe–help thou my unbelief!” Help this truth travel from my head to my heart. Help me to let go, and open that door that you are so patiently knocking upon (Rev. 3:20).

How about you? How do you live out God’s love in an imperfect world?