I was listening today to a podcast, and one of the speakers read a Bible verse that brings out the reason I struggle. It's 1 John 4:16:
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.My trouble? The part about relying on God's love.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
I know all about God's love. I've taught it. I've preached on it. I've counseled people about it. I really do believe that God loves His children. But do I rely on it? That's a very different question.
I grew up in a church where knowledge was prized, and experience was looked down on. We were one of those Pentecostal churches, where they were acting crazy, speaking in tongues and hanging from the chandeliers. We were the "people of the book," and we valued knowing Scripture above all else.
There is nothing wrong with knowing Scripture. Every Christian needs to know and love the Bible. We should all have some understanding of basic Bible teachings. But knowledge can never take the place of relationship. At some point, we all have to go from a place of knowing about God's love to relying on His love.
How does that happen? I'm not sure I know. I don't think it's a process that lends itself to 5 steps, or 7 keys. It's probably different for everybody. I'm sure God uses the tools He usually does: prayer, Scripture, friends, circumstances. But we don't look to those tools to do anything for us.
More than anything, maybe learning to rely on God's love is a change of outlook. God wants to shower His love on us. In fact, He does shower His love on us. But we miss it, because we're looking somewhere else.
I know I've come a long way toward experiencing His love as a reality of life. But I've still got a long way to go...
Oh, the podcast I was listening to? It was Joel and Mike at Growing in Grace. If you don't already listen, try it. It is 15 minutes a week of grace-filled awesomeness!