Sunday, February 26, 2012

Guilty, Grumbling or Grateful?

The Christian gospel is all about God’s love but many of us as Christians are not living in the truth that we are God’s beloved. We are paralysed by guilt or we are F.O.C. (full of complaints) instead of being empowered by love.

A mother shared in an Upper Room devotional of how her six year old son showed no interest in talking with her when she wanted to know every detail of his life. How sad and true that we too have little time for God!

Guilt is one of biggest obstacle to our experiencing the love of God. When our focus is on what we are doing or how we are behaving or on what we should or should not be doing, we live in fear of God rather than on having a loving relationship with Him as our Heavenly Father.

Another obstacle that keeps us from the love of God is a grumbling spirit. This is a symptom of our pride which blinds us to the many blessings God has given us. It is an expression of our covetousness and selfishness as our focus is on our needs and wants. Like the Jews who complained after their deliverance from slavery in Egypt, we forget what God had done for us.

Jesus came to show us what it truly means to love God with all our hearts, our souls and our minds. He died on the cross to set us free from guilt so that we can experience the love and forgiveness of God. He taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread” so that we will live grateful lives in total dependence on God.

The primary objective of prayer is not to get God to solve all our problems but to put our trust in God – that His ways are better than our ways and that His thoughts are not our thoughts. Unless we trust God, we cannot prove that He is trustworthy and we are unable to experience His love. When we do not experience His love, our lives cannot be filled with gratitude.

Trevor Hudson and Stephen D. Bryant give us the following excellent advice:

“IF YOU ARE UNSURE about your belovedness, I invite you to listen deeply to the Spirit of God. Listen to the Spirit whisper in your own depths that you are God’s beloved. And as you claim your own belovedness, begin to see others also as God’s beloved, so that we can participate in our belovedness together.

We in the church are not God’s elite. God has no favorites. Remember that scripture says, “For God so loved the world.” Let us begin to see beyond race, beyond culture, beyond gender, beyond sexual orientation, beyond religion, beyond all these externals and see each other as God’s beloved. When we relate to others as God relates to us, our sense of being God’s beloved deepens even more.”

Lent is a time to spring clean our hearts of guilt and a complaining spirit. It is a time to empty our hearts so that God can fill them with His overflowing and unfailing Love. It is a time to grow in true faith in what God has done through Jesus Christ. We need to move from filling our minds with an intellectual faith about God to filling our hearts with an experiential and passionate faith in God’s Love for us.

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