Acceptance and Love,  Blog,  Life,  Relationship with God

Proving Ground

Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you.

Psalm 26:2-3 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Psalm%2026:2-3&version=NRSV

prov·ing ground: an environment that serves to demonstrate whether something, such as a theory or product, really works.

What do you believe about your belief?

  • Do you believe you have power over your decisions?
  • Do you believe you are enough for your life?
  • Do you believe you are capable of doing what needs to be done today?

I have a friend who is going through a tumultuous season with her teenage son. She’s a believer who has struggled, like all of us, with understanding how to apply the Word to her life. And how to be the Word in her life. Her focus is selective with an attempt at literal application. Over the years, she has repeatedly missed the same mark. A mark that appears to me to be an easy goal. Simple to achieve. No hardship at all. Her test has been love. Love is her proving ground. Truthfully speaking, love is the proving ground for all of us.

What do you know or understand about love?

  • I know that if I allow love to have it’s way in my life, I am de facto relinquishing control over where love leads me.
  • I know that love has nothing to do with romance, lust or physical desires, yet everything to do with one’s heart and spirit.
  • I know that love has nothing to do with me in and of myself while at the same time I am both fully a product and a conduit of love.

I know that God is Love. I know that He created a human version of Himself to live among the rest of His creation here on Earth in order to minister to us in our sin, our sorrow, our disappointments, our madness, our bondage, our sickness, and even in our death. Love is so much more powerful than obedience, preferences, plans, lifestyle, ideals, gender, sexuality and doctrine.

Love covers a multitude of sins because love is not diminished by sin. But perhaps love is proved by sin.

Do you love me?

No.

Why not?

Because you hurt me.

Then you never loved me at all.

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

~ Proverbs 10:12 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Proverbs%2010:12&version=NRSV

People who sin against you, violate your trust, hurt your heart, betray your relationship – whatever the trespass may be – are still precious to the Lord. God has not stopped loving the person you turned your back on because they do not live the way you want them to live. He is actually proving to that person that you had no understanding of love at all. You who were to be this person’s light and source of love took action to drive them further into darkness instead.

How do you respond when your interpretation of the Bible is challenged by a situation within your own family or friend circles?

Do you respond in love, with your heart and spirit projecting the love God gave the world when He laid Himself down for His creation?

Or do you respond in ego, in self, with pride.

ego: a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.

self: a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality; a person’s nature, character; personal interest.

pride: a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.; the state or feeling of being proud; a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.

If we believe God IS who He says He Is, then we know His Word is performative. He didn’t just just tell us about love being gentle, long-suffering, kind, selfless and faithful. He gave us His Spirit of Love from the beginning when He breathed His Life into our lungs. And again in the middle when He sacrificed His form, His Son, Jesus, to show both obedience to the responsibility of love and the extreme performance of love. No one on Earth is worthy to be the Lamb. Not one person. There has never been an alternative to Jesus. No person created has been a potential stand-in cross-bearer for His assignment. Yet Jesus chose to die for us all. Not because we deserve His death, His blood, His concern, or His sacrifice. We didn’t then and we still don’t. And certainly not because He wanted to die for a dying, sinning populace. But Jesus too is a product and conduit of love. He is the Word Love personified. And even He said that those who come after Him will perform greater deeds than He did. Those who believe in Him, will perform Love better than Jesus. Imagine that.

Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

~ John 14:11-12 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=John%2014:11-12&version=NRSV

As you consider Love, evaluate your relationships, especially the strained, difficult ones. In your interactions with the people dear to you, do you represent Love? Are you taking the responsibility of gentleness, kindness, patience, care, sacrifice and faithfulness seriously? Or are you focused only on self – your beliefs, your concerns, your perspective? The bumps and boulders in the road are your tests. Your relationships and daily interactions are your proving ground. As long as you are alive, it’s not too late to take on the responsibility of love and prove yourself the perfect conduit within your circles.

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