Friday, May 22, 2009

For the Sake of Love

     As I sorted through the mail the bill stood out.  What happened? I thought it was taken care of.  Why am I getting another one of these?  I opened it with hesitation, concerned about what I might find.  But there it was in black and white.  I had a zero balance.  My debt was paid in full. There was nothing left to owe.   I knew it had come for a reason.  I heard it loud and clear.  “Your debt is paid, Jewel.”  “You don’t owe a thing.”


      For years I spent all my efforts trying to pay a debt I didn’t owe.  I was trying to score points with a God who was no longer keeping score.  The requirements that should have been placed on me were placed on Jesus.  I am free to be.  Why didn’t I know that?  How did I live so long and not know?


     We are free to be.  The church has ruined this, you know.


      I read it all over the place in the community called  Christianity.  “Do more, give more, pray more, read your Bible more.”  How does all that fit in with Jesus’ words, “It is finished.”  


      What was finished?  Was it just Jesus’ life and sin?  Could it be that what was finished was the separation of man from God’s unconditional love?  After all, didn’t He leave us with the words:  "I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for me may be in them and I myself may be in them.”*  Isn't it really all about living in love?  If we lived fully loved wouldn't we do those things anyways?


       Adam and Eve lost sight of God’s perfect love when they entered into sin.  The path was now blocked.  But Jesus, He restored what was lost.  He fulfilled the requirements of the law, bridging the cavern between earning and embracing.  He now invites us to enter in and just be loved.


      When I used to think of the cross I saw my sins.  It was the emphasis after all.   Because I was so bad Jesus had to leave His heavenly home and come to earth to take away my sins.  Wasn’t it love that brought Him here?  


      To think that when He went to the cross it was my face He saw astounds me.  It wasn’t my sins that took Him to the cross.  He loved me so deeply that He could not bear to have me separated from Him any longer.  So He came, swept me up and invited me to dwell in His embrace.


       I love the movie “The Last of the Mohicans”.  One scene in particular always speaks to me.  Magua, the enemy is coming after Cora and her sister.  He’s seeking to kill them because he has an issue with their father.  Nathaniel and the Mohicans are with them.  He’s fallen in love with Cora.  Suddenly they  discover that their ammunition is wet.  In order to save Cora , Nathaniel will have to leave her.  He says to her, “stay alive, I will find you.”  They jump over the waterfall in order to rescue.    It is love that drives Nathaniel forward. The look in His eyes, the passion on His face.  He will not be stopped until she is free.


      I love that scene because I know that is Jesus with me.  He will not be stopped until I am free.   My sin was not His focus.  I was.   My sins separated me from Him.  He had to pay their debt in order to get to me.


     He came that I might know love.  “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”*  Papa God has loved me even as He loves Jesus.  It's stunning.  What will I do with that?  Will I question, doubt or believe?  It is a life or death question.


      He moved heaven and earth to get to me.  He gave up His very life, not for the sake of sin, but for the sake of Me. The invitation is extended.  I am invited to know how deeply and intimately I am loved.


      “I have loved you with an everlasting love.  I have drawn you with loving kindness.   Jeremiah 31:3

*John 17:26

*John 17:23

©copyrighted:  2009  Julie L. Todd

     

15 comments:

Karen said... Reply to comment

" We are free to be."

Amen! I love that! Beautiful message you have shared...

Last of the Mohicans is a favorite of mine, too...the rescue scenes always have me on the edge of my seat, even though I know what will happen...

Carmen Gamble said... Reply to comment

Really Excellent post Jewel! I wish more of us would get this...and you're right, the church often does ruin this. For the sake of love--incredibly well put!

christy rose said... Reply to comment

Oh Julie,

This is so good. I completely agree. I had been so frustrated with the preaching and teaching in the church that I just wanted to quit going.

We just recently, within the last year, helped to plant a church in our hometown and we decided that we were going to found it on the Gospel, the good news, the finished work of the cross. We are not going to preach anything else. And we expect that we are going to see signs following.

I am super excited about going to church now. Every week I am reminded about what Jesus has done for me and as I grown in that Truth, He reveals Himself in me. Wow!

This is a wonderful post! I love it!

Christy

Amy said... Reply to comment

Julie,

There is nothing more powerful than the message of love.

That's what this life is all about...receiving God's love and sharing it with others!

Thanks for sharing the beautiful words God has put in your heart.

Love you,
Amy

Billy Coffey said... Reply to comment

What a fantastic post, Julie. How much time have I wasted trying to score points when God was no longer keeping score?

And you're right. The church has contributed to the guilt so many feel over never doing or being enough. We're free. Period.

Have a great weekend!

Crown of Beauty said... Reply to comment

How true, Julie! This present world's brand of Christianity has turned the gospel into an "oughta-oughta" gospel, turning it into a gospel of works all over again. But indeed it is for freedom that Christ came.

Having been set free how often are we tormented by guilt for not being good enough, according to the standards of the churches that we find ourselves in?

Even this modern day quest for intimacy can quickly turn into a burden that's too heavy to live up to.

A love relationship sets the beloved free... though of course, if we truly loved, we would show it by our obedience and our response.

Still, the bottom line of love is freedom -- godly freedom.

Thanks for this post!

Cyndi said... Reply to comment

You wrote: What was finished? ... Could it be that what was finished was the separation of man from God’s unconditional love?

Yes!!! The law (shoulds/obligations/ musts) was abolished on the cross. There is nothing left to do but praise and love Him. There may not be many sharing these things, but you are not alone.

God be with you!!
~Cyndi
God Nuggets Blog

Tea With Tiffany said... Reply to comment

Dive into HIS love. He is there in the waterfall ready to catch you.

Love you,
T

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

Beautimus, my friend. As always, I appreciate your reminders and perspective. Hugs.

Peter P said... Reply to comment

Great post Julie.

Very thought provoking.

How many of us actually live like we are free?

Shanda said... Reply to comment

Definitely one of those who feels ruined by the church and stuck in the "quest to find intimacy" that one of the other commenters suggested.

Tired of doing more... tired of "knowing" I'm suppose to be free.

christy rose said... Reply to comment

Julie,
Please come by my site today. i have an award for you.
Christy

The Things We Carried said... Reply to comment

It is the best news I ever heard.

Daveda said... Reply to comment

Hi there! I found your blog surfing through the blogs from Blogger Appreciation week and I am so glad I did!

Absolutely! We are free, such good news! We don't owe a thing...more good news! And, we have been given His beautiful gift of righteousness.

I am with you that the church is so confused they teach people about God's beautiful Grace and then they teach a message that puts them back under the law. I too lived this way for a loooong time, until the Holy Spirit taught (and is still teaching) me how to rest in the finished work!

great Post!

Trinity Mommy said... Reply to comment

Beautiful! I would love to hear more of your "story" regarding your leaving religion and finding relationship! Perhaps for another post :)