40 Days Living the Jesus Creed [Days 10-11]
“From the highest of highs to the depths of the sea…”
The last couple of days have been somewhat of a roller coaster for me; extreme highs and desperate lows have punctuated the last 48 hours of my life. I realize how dramatic that sounds, but it honestly sets the stage for where my heart has been and how God the Holy Spirit has been ministering to me…helping me to grow in His knowledge and mature in His image. Some of my experience is still very raw and has not been resolved-reconciled just yet. If you are reading this, I covet your prayers for the continuing illumination that comes only from God.
Briefly, some background story –
Two years ago I went from part-time volunteer ministry (associate pastor) to transitioning to full-time vocational ministry (which I am currently involved in). During this two year period, my family moved to a new state, new church, new friends…etc. We left our old life on faith that God would provide for our needs, and He has…in marvelous ways; however, our house had remained on the market for sale during this entire time. Month after month we saw our financial situation strain at its limits and month after month we saw the Hand of God meet our need, often in surprising and creative ways. While this had tendencies of bringing tension into the household, it also brought with it lessons of trust, favor, and reliance upon God. Yesterday, we sold our house. God provided in His timing. This was certainly a moment of celebration of the highest magnitude. JEHOVAH JIREH!!! There is more to this story and the amazing timing of God, but I’ll share more about that in future posts. Suffice it to say the “rest of the story” helps to shape why this event was such an emotional and spiritual high point…but we need to move on for now.
From the Jesus Creed: Day 10
“The LORD, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” - Exodus 34:6-7
Yesterday, a person very close to me and very dear to my heart, betrayed me and hurt me in a way that I don’t recall experiencing in my life. Much of the day yesterday, in the midst of my great joy and celebration, I was torn with feelings of anger, betrayal, frustration, mercy, grace, angst, dread, and broken trust. I felt love shatter and break in my heart and internally I began the slow and meticulous work of reconstruction of that broken relationship. Mind you, that I didn’t feel like doing this, but knowing it is the Jesus way of living I was compelled to push through my heart pain (I am still processing, and again, ask for your prayers). I was continually reminded of a portion from my reading on day 10 of 40DLTJC; McKnight paraphrases the intent of God’s covenant agreement with Abraham as God walks through the sacrificed animals (Gen. 15) saying, “If this relationship breaks down, you can know this: I am not responsible for the breakdown. I will remain faithful. My word is good.” Implied in that covenant is the notion that God continues to love. God remains faithful to the relationship.
Later, in the day 10 reading, McKnight continues… “We are to look to the good word of God to empower us to remain faithful in the path God has walked for us -the path of loving God and loving others, the path of the Jesus Creed.” And so, my meditation continued through the day, into the evening, and continues into this day (even as I share this account now) with consideration to how I live and love with a proper LOVE (AGAPE) in the midst of incredible anguish of heart and betrayal of trust. This brings me to today, Day Eleven of Living the Jesus Creed.
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” - Matthew 7:12
Scot reminds us, “Love yourself because you are Godlike.” I added in the margin of my book, “We should conduct our lives in a Godlike manner as well.”
It is not my intent to quote this entire reading, but a beautiful line of reasoning is presented that helps speed the healing of my own broken heart. Once more, McKnight writes:
“We are God’s eikons, “images of God,” but the real Eikon of God is Jesus Christ. Paul tells us in Colossians 1:15 that Jesus is the “image of the invisible God.” He also tells us that those who learn to face Jesus by taking away the veil of pretense will see Jesus, and gazing at Jesus transforms us into his eikon (2 Corinthians 3:18). If we are eikons, then we are made in the image of Christ.”
This gives me incredible hope. Regardless of my hurt, anger, frustration, or any other destructive and negative emotion, I am able to rise above and push through this. I CAN LOVE LIKE JESUS. I can forgive as Christ forgave. I can be the one who enforces the covenant of love, and as God implies in His covenant agreement with Abraham, I too can say, “If this relationship breaks down, you can know this: I am not responsible for the breakdown. I will remain faithful. My word is good.” I can remain faithful in love through word and deed. (Bonus meditation and contemplation 1 Corinthians 13 -Agape Love)
God doesn’t leave us in the messes we make…and if I am an eikon, I will not leave others in the messes they make. Love God and love people.
Continuing the meditation through the day – Psalm 139
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Psalm 139:14)
Closing prayer for this morning:
Almighty and everlasting god, By whom that begins to be which was not and that which lay hidden is made visible, cleanse away the folly of our heart and purify us from our secret vices, that we may be able to serve and to love you, O Lord, with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength. Help us, O Lord, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. May we do this through Jesus Christ our Lord the Giver of the Indwelling and Guiding Spirit of God. Amen.
Again, I covet your prayers as I continue to try to “walk as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6)