Free to love God in all circumstances.

10 Feb

After being reminded of truth last weekend, my time at work has been much better. When tempted to get annoyed or frustrated, I remind myself of truth – that I can glorify God regardless of circumstance and that being gracious and patient is glorifying to Him.

I have been reading Waking the Dead by John Eldredge and his whole book is based around the quote by St. Iphnaeus, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” For several months, I have struggled with an Ecclesiastes perspective on life: everything is vain and a striving after the wind. Why eat? Why make the bed? Why buy clothes? Why enjoy music? Why exercise? It’s all seemed so pointless and such a waste of time.

But John Eldredge says that it is through the heart reawakened by the Spirit of Christ that we truly connect with God. Living life fully is doing what you love, seeing those things as gifts from God and revelations of Him. I have wanted to believe that for so long but it seemed to good to be true.

Tonight at care group, the worship leader, Cathy, thanked God for revealing Himself to us through sunrises, songs, and Scripture. I recalled reading in The Sacred Romance (another John Eldredge book) a long time ago about God wooing us, about Him speaking to our hearts through specific, tangible things. Again, this seems to good to be true.

But then again, it’s God. Nothing with Him is too good to be true because things more amazing than I can imagine are true with Him. He proved that with the gospel. “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” Including love notes throughout the day. Including pleasurable moments, little things that we enjoy.

John Eldredge writes in Waking the Dead, “Everything you love is what makes a life worth living… A life filled with loving is a life most like the one that God lives, which is life as it was meant to be.” This makes sense to me, because if God’s glory is shone in a man (or woman) fully alive, then their heart is engaging with the things of this world around them.

Just as Travis and I were driving home from care group tonight, I was telling him how freeing it was to know that enjoying things in this world is good because they reveal God. I am free to enjoy things because of what they represent – they are the shadow but the substance is to come.

More than that, God has created me specifically to like certain things. There is a reason why I like sunrises, spring mornings, summer nights, grapenuts with bananas, honey and yogurt. He designed me to love reading, writing, and to have deep thoughts (sometimes deeper than I’d like). He created me to be more of a one-on-one person than a crowd person. He created me to be better at thinking through writing than speaking. He decided that I would prefer individual sports like running and triathlons over team sports. He gave me my love for funny movie lines, cute animals, and my wonderful husband (who cooked soup for tonight’s care group!).

The enemy wants to keep my heart indifferent or apathetic. He wants me to drift along in this life, skirting the fringe, finding no meaning or value in anything. He doesn’t want me to engage, doesn’t want my heart to feel. I will close with these quotes from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis:

“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made all the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable.”

“The deepest likings and impulses of any man are the raw material, the starting-point, with which the Enemy has furnished him. To get him away from those is therefore always a point gained; even in things indifferent it is always desirable to substitute the standards of the World, or convention, or fashion, for a human’s own real likings and dislikings.”

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