When I was a child I had this innate sense of the beauty of God’s love. I felt His protection and believed in His provision. It was easy for me for whatever reason to simply trust that He was going to take care of our family, even when tragic and difficult circumstances arose.
As I have grown and experienced difficulties in life, God’s love has surely been put on trial, but each and every time He has shown Himself to be above reproach.
This is not to say we have not experienced trials. Quite the opposite in fact. We now have two children with auto-immune conditions, and are heading into year three of financial uncertainty (according to the world).
But, through it all the character of God holds true and we continue to learn more and more about God’s Love; His beautiful, perfect, and Holy Love.
My Heart Called Out for Him
I first began my adult walk with the Lord when I was fresh out of high school. It was the time of launch for me, when was 18 years old and headed off to Navy bootcamp. Into adulthood and out of the immediate protection of my family.
The Lord had been a topic of conversation for most of my growing years, but I had never truly come to know Him intimately or personally.
Honestly, there were too many opinions that got in the way of our relationship. Some people negated His Word as unimportant and simply “stories.” Other people doubted His provision for those who called upon Him. And still more doubted His existence at all.
When I left for bootcamp I wasn’t on the bus more than 30 seconds before my heart called to Him and said, “Ok, Lord, if you’re there, I want to know You. Teach me about Yourself. I’m all ears.”
And, thus began the next 15 years of my adult life so far…and it has been a wild journey of learning.
Each denomination was Incomplete
My walk began without any association to denomination. I was raised Catholic, and when I arrived at boot camp I began to explore the other Christian services to learn more about them.
Contemporary Christian services were too much for me then with all of the fanfare and excitement. Therefore, traditional Protestant services were where I spent some time at first.
The Lord led me through various belief systems about Him, as I journeyed through several others and learned about Him. Each one had their own rules and limitations on what were and were not acceptable forms of worship and Godly living. The longer I stayed, the more I felt boxed in. Needless to say I never really stayed at each one long.
Denominations are interesting. Some are incredibly restricted and rigid in what they do and do not “permit” as acceptable “to God.” Others are incredibly lenient and “free,” relieving pretty much any need for living according to a set of “rules.”
I felt smack dab in the middle of the chaos, and sensed that such swinging division is exactly what is spoken against in scripture:
Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” ~ Prov. 4:27
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” ~ Josh. 1:7
On the one hand, I felt incredible restriction and expectation on the part of the various denominations and their “approved” way of living. Yet, on the other hand, I sensed a lack of controlled or regulated rules and boundaries that ultimately helped to keep my flesh hedged in and the Spirit roaming freely within me to love.
For me, there was palpable tension between the two: on the one hand legalism as dictated by man’s varied interpretations of scripture, or the lawless dismissal of rules entirely in the name of “love.”
God’s Love Brings Freedom and Boundaries (Love Series: Part 1)
The only way I knew to reconcile the issues was to return to the Word. Although I value the wisdom that God can give to mankind, I do not so value degrees and certifications. We have designed these accolades to be above the inspired counsel of the Holy Spirit to those who seek after our Abba and call upon His Name.
I believe in a personal and loving Abba who wants His children to know Him intimately. So, I called to Him and He answered me, one piece at a time.
How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.” ~ Ps. 119: 9-11
God’s Love is so incredibly forgiving and merciful to allow for our human nature to unfold. He does not offer restrictions that are cumbersome or otherwise hard. Rather, His Laws are those which govern our flesh, or sinful nature. They remind us how to love Him, how to love ourselves, and how to love each other. And that’s a beautiful thing indeed.
This is not burdensome, but freedom. Our Abba’s Laws are those which provide guidance to handle difficult situations that emerge in our lives and communities. They do, however, take wisdom to navigate and discern the charge of authority to carry them out.
With God’s Love, we are not free to simply do whatever we want and call it “following Him.” Nor are we so restricted with rules that there is no room for individuality or unique lives in Him.Our Abba is all about the middle ground, the space between the extremes, where truly grace and mercy meet with justice and righteousness. Click To Tweet
That’s where He wants us to live, and where He leads us to know His character and amazing attributes.
Only when we step into the in-between with Him can we truly begin to receive clarity on His Love and Holy Name.
Get to Know God’s Love By Getting to Know Him
Join me next week for Part 2 of this series, where I will explore God’s Love as defined by His Word and clarified in His attributes. Through His guidance we can have the understanding of who He is and who we are in Him.
Fellow beloved, you are so incredibly loved by an amazing and awesome Abba, whose mercy endures forever and who establishes Truth in this world. Knowing Him is the greatest journey we could ever embark upon. Oh, what a journey it truly is!
I am excited to walk this journey with you. I cannot fully express the amazing journey that He has for those who trust and know Him. But, surely, I know this:
…that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” ~ Phil. 1: 6