>>> Sunday 16.15pm GMT – and a brief addition …
I had thought this particular blog had been squished. Not meant for public viewing. Then Little Monk, Kate Bortlett and Annie Walker all emailed back to say they had it – and did I want it back? I had earlier thought (when it disappeared this morning) this one was lost forever. And trusted the Lord in whatever that meant. No stress. No angst. His hand at work. Move on. And did.
Yet without any stress or angst – these words have come zipping back from three corners of the WP world. My lost and lonely blog returns. Thank you all.
>>> I hope it is worth reading!
THIS ONE IS “CHUNKY” IN LENGTH. It SEEMS TO BE A WAY POINT (ANOTHER) ALONG THE WAY. NO APOLOGIES. I HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING OF HOW TO MAKE THIS ONE “BRIEF”.
One of the reasons I still struggle with “Make Disciples” is because it is a core “command” from The Boss. Quoted as often – and with the same misleading misdirection – as “Your Country Needs You”
Your country needs you to not think. Just to sign up and try to kill others – and forget they are trying to kill you. Your Country Needs You is not Love. Love does not need. And yet to “question” that phrase is off-limits. Are you a quisling? Do you really believe in God and your country? Are you an anti-christ?
Just like “Your Country Needs You”, the phrase “Make Disciples” also seems “off-limits.”
And for some reason I have yet to fathom – anything that is stated or unstated as “off-limits” always sees me making a bee-line for it. Always. Don’t know why. He just does.
“Making Disciples”. All my thoughts – the bible, others, others’ words – all riding around like the indians did to the cowboys, around and around. Zoning in – but not quite knowing where the target is. Or why I keep going around in circles.
Love = Simple. Love = God. Relationship with Purpose. Relationship. Community. Communion. A Way of Life. Without the Noise …
Still not being the core or the essence. Still riding around and around trying to see inside.
Then yesterday something profound happened to me. Out of the blue. Not thinking about anything much. Just driving with the radio on. And this happened:
Cause all of me loves all of you love your curves and all your edges all your perfect imperfections give your all to me I’ll give my all to you you’re my end and my beginning even when I lose I’m winning cause I give you all of me and you give me all of you, oh
When I got home I had to google – I had missed the singer and song title. It is “John Legend – All Of Me” And just one word in that beautiful song (might even be a “Worship Song”) – one word spelled … G .. I .. V .. E ..
Give. It is a word we use a lot when we talk about love and god and good stuff like that. He gave his life for us, he gave us this creation, I give my live for him, I die to this world, I give to him, he gives us everlasting life. Give is “good”.
Yet that one word went B-O-O-M- and a ton of my “discomfort” dots were joined …
Give = Transaction.
Transaction. The word which incurs debt and loans and accounts. That word which is devoid of true love. Real Love. God Love. Tucked away inside where it was all cosy and thought itself invisible: “give.” Quietly pressing the cash register on our love without anyone noticing.
“I give you all of me = you give me all of you”
I searched the word give across the entire bible (NIV version). There are 1433 mentions of that word. Maybe someone would like to go through each and every example and find one reference which excludes some form of transaction: give to get, give to repay, give because you were given, give because you need, give because you earned it, given because you needed, give and given everywhere.
Is this a bad thing? Giving is good.
A good thing if there is No Transaction at all. Yet I think we have become hardwired in this regard. I have given everything (so I can have heaven for eternity). Christ died for you (be grateful you son of a …). I give you all my love (the deal is you give all of your love back to me).
Give is not love if it is a transaction. Not God Love.
And if “give” is a transaction, why does my good lord use this word? Am I so off-limits I am once again getting too pally, too “equal” to Jesus, overstepping the mark, not of God?
And I hear his voice – “I also use parables to get through your thick skulls! Words are powerful. Yet they are just “representations” of something bigger. How do we share anything without words, pictures, sounds, feelings? It is when you take a word – any word – and stop thinking. Stop looking underneath, behind, inside, outside. That is when “give” becomes a transaction.”
And then he reminds me of my “indelible lines”. (Two-Touch Jesus: https://justmebeingcurious.com/2014/02/19/two-touch-jesus/)
And that opens my eyes all over again. More batman stuff – you know the drill by now.
“Love = Giving (fill in in your own blank)”. Fill in your own meaning. Add your own transaction without even realising.
Then I live and write and do and speak: “God gave his life for me – isn’t that wonderful?” And we go out an tell everyone. We show others how wonderful. How hard we are working to repay the debt without even realising it. I work at relationship. At doing good. Because I have God. And attach the transaction without even knowing.
And to those yet to experience fully the Love that is God (might this be The Lost World we prefer to call them) – the indelible lines kick in. And they sense something we miss: Now I am meant to be grateful and give my life back in return. Well that is not fair – I never asked for this. If I had know I wouldn’t have asked for this. No way do I want to give my life in return. I am quite happy, thank you. Well – I was quite happy until you told me that.
And that tension kicks in: I have to restore my happiness – repaint my indelible lines even more emphatically. I have to live in self-denial. No he didn’t. He didn’t die for me. I am not a sinner. Look at me. I love people. I don’t swear. And why should I give up everything in return. He wouldn’t want me to give everything away. That’s so not fair. He wouldn’t do that – not if he really loved me.
Because we always have choice. We choose who we love and who we don’t. So if “God” gives without asking me first – and that leaves me in debt? That leaves me no choice at all.
Don Merritt referred to “counter intuitive”. The life of a Christian is counter-intuitive to “normal living”.
I wonder. I wonder if it goes so much deeper that than that.
I wonder if “Love Knows Love”. Love knows “transaction”. Deep down at the very place where no words exist or are needed. At the one place we all connect. Where we are all connected. Where Love lives. Where God resides. Hoping we finally find him – where He waits for us.
That when he used this word “give”, and when we then use (and do) this word “give” – that without even realising it we are attaching “an unspoken transaction” in everything that we think and do and say. And no one “sees” the transaction, but so many “sense” the transaction. Sense they are expected to sign-up to repay this debt they never wanted. This gift they have been given they never wanted. This gift that is so “not free”. This way of life that is so based on “transaction”. That this “True Love” we live and tout still carries a price tag.
If so, that undermines glorious “Relationship”. That redefines a wonderful “Way of Living.” That gets underneath so much unease and discomfort I have carried for so long.
“God gave … because HE LOVES YOU!” Okay, now go and “Make Disciples” (with whatever definition you add to that – bible bashing, community, relationship). And all we are doing is presenting a proposition as a gift. And the response so often is: “how much does this cost, is the price keen, am I getting value for money, do I need this in my life right now ….”
And we revert to ologies and isms and division and bible slice and dicing and proving who is right and who is wrong and why do we live in this Lost World and if God came back now would I be stuffed or saved … stuff like that.
And my discomfort niggles find not this one is not “off limits” after all – I look up from my keyboard and find God looking back at me. Smiling. With open arms. Welcoming: Love = God = No Transactions = “is” not Give.
And if I am of God, of Love, of I am … I am not giving. I just “I Am.”
Can we “get it” behind giving? Can “we get” behind what we are telling others .. telling ourselves? Can we redraw our own indelible lines – can we see the leaves and sky – or are we happier hugging the trunk? And he calls from the leaf canopy. And I look up.
And he is there whispering
“freedom … freedom …”
And I begin to understand – to cut through all this shedding so far – all the: Love is always the answer, Love is always simple, Love is enough – answers are unnecessary … yet that is still not enough, still wrapped in belief/opinion, still hidden.
I “give” you nothing. He “gives” us nothing. I “owe” Him nothing. He “owes” me nothing. All He does just is, because he is I am. All I do just is, because I am of I am. Freedom. Love is I Am is Freedom.
Katie Bortell came closest to these words (Paul, you always make it so complicated and then it becomes so simple again) when she said: “I always knew it was just about the LOVE. I always felt that and knew it was the answer above all else. So I tried to be love when I could. Is that discipleship? I hope so.”
Don Merritt gave a beautiful comment to a question I never even understood: “God’s love for us was one-sided when He sent Jesus to die for our sins. Jesus loved the Father, they both loved us, we loved ourselves. Jesus finished His work and reached out to us in love. We loved ourselves, but did what He said. Now we love Him, and we reach out to others who love themselves. The process repeats itself.”
Now try this for a different headline: “Love is I Am” no giving required.
Or do we still prefer to “Make Disciples” and go discipling … ‘cos He Said?
John Legend: All of Me : http://youtu.be/518WB1IcjPI