OK, so I’ve been preparing another session on Identity, on who we are as people, on where our security and identity really do lie. I’ve been trying to muse on what has changed since I started writing such thoughts about six years ago, and I hit upon an answer. I think I’m starting to understand why identity, knowing the depths of God’s love and value he places upon us, is so important. It’s important because it’s the thing that brings freedom. We don’t sit around meditating on Gods love, knowing it’s heights, depths, length and breadth so we can feel warm and fuzzy inside. (although the warm and fuzzy feeling is a bit of a bonus). We do it so we can finally be free. Free to know that we can never be unloved, we can never be rejected, we can never be useless, we never don’t matter and we are never of no value. That’s the upshot of the tumbling, ridiculous, throw you up in the air and catch you again, love of God for us. Swimming in that brings freedom.
The problem is that we always look for this kind of love in the imperfect specimen’s around us, we long to be loved, to be noticed, to be valued. We think that what others think of us, how many friends we have who think we are great, whether we are affirmed sexually and physically are the providers of that love. But that love is so fleeting, so small, so inadequate and yet we grasp on more tightly, we slip into self pity and pride because we want things that could never fill this gaping hole inside of us. And we lose our freedom. We lose the ability to love well because we want to cling to love that might disappear if we don’t. We get jealous and envious and proud. (well I do, I don’t know about the rest of you, I even manage to fake spiritualise it all by hiding behind encouraging people, I love to do it, as long as I’m the one to do it in friends lives, it hurts when they are encouraged without me being involved. Then they don’t get to see how great I am. Oh how I need the cross.)
Dwelling in the love God has for us leaves us free to love others well, we can love without grasping for more in return, we can be selfless and undemanding because our need for love, acceptance and value is met in Him, met in the fountain, the waterfall that never ends, met in the never failing spring of living water rather than in the horse trough. (blatant plagiarism from Mr Piper I am aware).
So lets get reminding each other of that beautiful truth. Reminding each other of the jump up and down for joy love and delight of God in each one of us. Lets daily encourage each other in that love, lets leap in freedom to love one another well and bring each other back to the deep wells of grace that God has for us. Lets rejoice when we aren’t, but others are, part of that process in our mates lives. Lets love each other well and delight in God’s work rather than wishing we got some of the glory all of the time. Lets ask God to leave us breathless at his love for us and know that He is the best source of all love. Lets ask Him to set us free from needing to look good, be important in each others lives and get on with serving and loving the people around us each day. Lets ask him for more and more of his grace so we get to say more and more to each other- “God, He’s great isn’t he?!”. Lets really believe the beauty of Zephaniah 3.
“14 Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! 15 The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. 16 On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.17 The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”