Friday, July 11, 2008

Just Say No

I guess the past few days have been very relaxing. I've just been allowing myself to be loved by God. I don't want to get caught up in doing, but if I do start doing, doing isn't a bad thing as long as you're doing is based on knowledge. I want my doing to be fueled by love and not guilt. When my doing is fueled by guilt or anxiety that I should be doing something, then I believe that sort of nonsense quenches the Spirit.

Am I allowed to allow God to love me based on Jesus' obedience alone? Am I too fearful to receive His love? I know that loving God doesn't come from trying to love Him. So why do I get so anxious and feel the need to muster up love for Him? To know God is to love Him. Are we letting people or religious mentalities around us pressure us into doing? Is our zeal in order to please men or God? When someone blasts you for not doing something right or doing something enough, do you feel like it's the voice of God saying those things? Rest assured that it's not God. Our Father says in Isaiah 54 that whenever someone stirs up strife with us, it's not from Him. It's very easy to mistake the voices of disappointment and disapproval people may show towards us and take it as coming from God.

We are free sons and daughters. We are not servants anymore. So stop allowing people to pressure you into obedience and allow God's love to be your motivation. If someone is trying to manipulate you or guilt or shame you into something, I don't believe that is of God. God knows fear and guilt does not breed love. It breeds more fear and guilt. Stand up to those voices and tell them that you must not do anything to prove yourself to God or to get Him to like you or love you.

I know all of this is easier said than done and I done expect anyone of us to completely stop it overnight. But learn to discern things like this. Even Jesus didn't do things out of people pressuring Him. Even when it was a good work! He wasn't a slave to guilt or condemnation. He was a slave to the love of the Father.

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying,"Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying,"Send her away, for she is crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs." s She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly.

5 comments:

Aida said...

Great post, Matthew, and exactly where I am right now.

I've done so much out of obligation and now I'm wanting love to be my motivation. It's not easy especially when I don't think that I'm very loving. Then, I get into the "What can I do to be more loving?" mode. When that happens, I've got to stop and remind myself that even that's not about works. It's still Christ in me that has to do the loving.

Matthew Daelon said...

Aida,

Thanks for the comment! It's exactly what I'm experiencing in my own life. It's amazing the freedom we have in Jesus! We're not employees saved only to be God's slaves! He loves us and wants us as sons and daughters.

I often fall into that thinking you've mentioned. A voice will come to me that says "You call yourself a Christian? You don't even do this and this for people! And then I'll set out in the energy of my own effort to try and love to prove myself to myself, people or God. And there is never one ounce of peace in that kind of living. It's a treadmill of guilt.

Aida said...

You're right. That's what it is - an exhausting treadmill. I'm tired of it and I want off.

Joel B. said...

Indeed, great post, Matthew!

Too often I've found myself slipping into the mode of "if I'm a Christian and God's love is in me, then why don't I love people better..." and stuff like that. I have to let go and relax as you're saying here, and just let myself be loved by God.

We know love not because we loved God first but because He loved us, and if we aren't 'being loved' by God then why do we even think we can love others with His love. I mean, we are always loved by God, but often we don't really accept the reality of it and we don't "learn of Him" and His love. We try to learn "how" to love, when love isn't a how, it's a Who.

And we make ourselves feel guilty for not loving, when in reality that's not what love is.

Lots of good stuff to think about here.

AmyC. said...

Matt,
Thank you...and I also thank Papa for putting in front of me this specific Blog this morning. I just had a conversation with my parents (we call each other weekly) and my dad said a few things that were hard to swallow. I love them dearly, but after a conversation like the one today (most are wonderful, genuinely) my heart felt heavy.

Thus, the particular words in your blog stood out to me and comforted my heart:

"Rest assured that it's not God. Our Father says in Isaiah 54 that whenever someone stirs up strife with us, it's not from Him. It's very easy to mistake the voices of disappointment and disapproval people may show towards us and take it as coming from God."

Thanks Matt and Papa.

~Amy :)