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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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Thursday, October 11, 2012
Deceitfully Unhealthy
I recall a dear brother in the Lord encouraging me to receive the love of God. 

He was convinced that "all I needed" was to have a sudden, profound experience whereby I accepted the  profoundly-bigger-than-anything-I-can-possibly-imagine love that God has for me (personally) and as soon as I received this impossibly sufficient love, I would be able to reciprocate this love for God, thereby tapping into the secret of Christian obedience.  He was encouraging me to seek the magic feeling  that was supposed to empower my obedient faith.  If I understood how much God loved me, I would (thereby) find it easy to love God and (subsequently) to obey God. 

To be sure I have no difficulty whatsoever assenting to the fact that God loves me personally.  The scriptures tell me plainly that He does, and the grace that I have received and receive daily, loudly testifies to me of God's love.  I am, and have been for many years, utterly convinced of God's love for me, as is evidence by both the scriptures, and the manifest grace that pervades my life in Christ.

The thing is: neither my "old man" nor anyone else's "old man" can, or will, ever be overwhelmed by God's love.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is deceived about himself and engaged in deceiving others.

To avoid confusion at this point, I do mean "affection" when I speak of love.  That is, I am not talking about a sensation, or a feeling.  We are commanded to "love" the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength.  Were the word love here intended to describe mere affection or emotion it would be a very confusing command, since it is impossible, or at the very least entirely disingenuous, to  generate an emotion that isn't there, and even if it were possible, how could one do so with all one's mind or soul, or strength?

It helps to remember that the word translated as heart actually describes the core of our being, and the word translated as love has a much broader semantic range than to suggest it is merely an affection or an emotion.  The "heart" here means the same thing as getting to the "heart" of a matter, meaning the core of the matter.  We are to love God from the centre of our being, with everything we have - including, but certainly not limited to, our woefully inadequate affections, and utterly fickle emotions.

The command to love God is not a command to generate or pursue an emotion, it is a call to utter devotion - a devotion that involves every aspect of our being, it is a surrendering of our being to God, a surrender of our desires, of our plans, our wants and our efforts - a giving of all to God to do with what He will.  In a word it is repentance.

So many believers are looking for the magic silver bullet that is going to make them love God more.  They try this, they try that, and in the end they a little older, but no better for their effort.  There are no tricks to loving God, well except perhaps giving up on trying to generate affections and emotions that aren't there, and cannot be there (in your flesh).

But if Christ is in you - that is, if you are a believer, then you can let the life of Christ rule you, and in doing so His perfect love for God will find its expression in your life, and you will, by and through Christ, love God as you ought - affection and all.  But this is not something you appropriate by trying to generate it - it is something you appropriate by faith.  As you walk in surrender to God, or said another way, as you walk in the Spirit, you have fellowship with God, and the life of Christ is free to express itself in you - in this way you become a partaker of something that does not originate in you, but in Christ - the love of God.

If that doesn't make sense to you, let me know in the meta and I will explain it more.


posted by Daniel @ 6:21 PM  
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