9.28.2011

Renovation of the Heart and Mind

(and maybe a little on the blog as well, as you may have noticed)

Many of you know that if I haven't posted in awhile, it's usually because:
[a] I haven't anything (complete) to say worth writing or reading
[b] I've been procrastinating
[c] I'm learning something
[d] A little of all the above.
    In this case, I would circle "d". I usually write when there's something I want to say... And I haven't pieced all the puzzle together yet, but I'm starting to see the picture fill in. A friend encouraged me recently to blog about what He is doing... in me and the world. No easy task, but here I am.

    For now I think I'll have to stick with the former. I can't claim to know what He IS doing specifically, only what I know He does and plans to do. I do know that for the world He works to bring new life. That is His mission.

Jesus, the "Resurrection and Life" (John 11:25) said:
"I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." - [John 10:9-11]

    I have been learning so much. And it seems I learn in trends. By trends, I mean that one topic is in focus for quite some time, then it shifts to another topic that is enriched by the first topic. But in the meantime, the second topic also sheds light on the first. They are part of a trend.

The recent trend has been love.
    Out of this has come ponderings and realizations concerning the importance and significance of love. God's love. You see why I haven't had anything to write? How can I even begin to scratch the surface on this topic? And what could be more important to correctly convey? What I'm beginning to realize more and more is how much it all depends on this. This is at the center. It's Him. His love is not just part of Him, He is His love. [1 John 4:16]

So what is this doing in me?
    My focus has been rooted to these verses:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
And [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” -[Matthew 22:36-40]

    When Jesus said this, it might be a little confusing to us who think of the commandments as the "big 10" found in Exodus 20. Neither one of these seems to be found in the Ten Commandments. However, to the Pharisees, this was incredibly significant. See, the Jews read the Torah, which is the first five books of the Bible. This is the Law that Jesus was referring to, and within it are 613 commandments. Yeah, that's a lot more than 10. So, out of these commandments, which did Jesus think was the greatest? It was really a trick question. (You can check out the reference to see that.) They were trying to trip Him up.
    They didn't expect Jesus to say what He did. He quoted to them something very familiar... something that is still the foundational creed of Judaism today. It is called the Shema. It comes out of Deuteronomy chapter 6:

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

    As you can see, this was quite a big deal. And to this, Jesus added that the second greatest commandment is to "love your neighbor as yourself." - [Leviticus 19:18] He said that this commandment was like the first. In other words, it connects with what John said in 1 John 4:16.

"So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."

    When we love others, we are keeping the first commandment, that we love God. And when we love God, we can do that by showing our love to others. This is central. Jesus says it sums up the Law and the Prophets! In other words He's saying that this is the underlying essence. This is the key. Love.

    So this spreads out to everything. Everything. He did it all for love. This demands a re-estimation of our understanding of what love really is. Because Jesus said there was no greater love than someone laying down their life for their friends. [John 15:13] Love is more than romance. It's greater than a feeling that fades. It's bigger than your fears and stronger than death. It is Him. It changes your life. It transforms. It renews. It gives life!

    How do I convey the gravity of this? How can I show you all that I am learning? How can I help you understand? This is so important. This is the meaning. The reason... for all of it. He did it all for love. And I have so much yet to learn myself. His glory and His love. The purpose. His sovereignty. Our choices. The plan...

    This journey Somewhere is taking me down a path that points to love. It's renovating my heart, rewiring my mind. It is challenging me. Daring me to live my life out of this love. To dare to love completely. To live life wholly. And to live life in love, I must live it in Him. I know it sounds kind of mystical, and I'm trying my best to explain it. He is life, how can try to live without this Life who is Love?

    Ani lomedet. I am learning. Always learning...
Learning to trust, lean, wait... Learning to love. To hope. To live.

1 comment:

  1. "Love is more than romance. It's greater than a feeling that fades. It's bigger than your fears and stronger than death. It is Him. It changes your life. It transforms. It renews. It gives life!"

    Yes. Sweet sister, I love (no pun intended) the depth of His love. It's bottomless and so hard for my tiny brain to understand that it was love that brought forth life, hope, salvation in redemption. This labor of love is never complete in us.

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