God’s Love Is a Slap in the Face
Orphans try to prove their worth over and over. Sons are able to rest in their position at the table.
That’s not talking about physical orphans as much as spiritual ones. The mentality that says, “I’ll become more valuable than anybody else. I’ll be indispensable to God’s kingdom. I’ll progress until I reach the top.”
All the striving. All the frustration. We try to grow and push ourselves to be “better” and “stronger.” The justifications seem altruistic enough, but as most issues of the heart do, they come down to unbelief.
You don’t believe God’s love is enough. You don’t believe you have His attention so you set out in a constant frenzy of positioning yourself by whatever means you can get a hold of. New books, fasting, prayer, conferences, meetings, seminars, and so much more.
It’s as endless as it is pointless.
The fear is that if you don’t do all those things, God won’t see how valuable you are. He might drop you. God’s love looks that mindset square in the face then slaps the fire out of it.
It hurts to recognize that all your attempts at pleasing God and growing into spiritual maturity might be based not on the love He’s shown you but on a need to gain approval. SLAP!
It’s painful to admit your constant striving has produced little in the way of holiness and an over abundance of self-righteousness. SLAP!
God’s love slaps us in the face not as a judgment or punishment. It’s to bring us back to reality, to wake us up. And really it’s not even a slap to our true and authentic selves, who He created us and redeemed us to be. It’s a slap to the façade we like to pretend is helping but actually is hindering us. God will attempt over and over reach us with His love because He desperately wants to extricate us from living our lives as orphaned humanity does, trying to best everyone else and jockey for the highest place.
Jesus made it clear that the “greatest among you” will be the servant of all (Matthew 23:11). You can’t live that unless you know His love, and not in a mentally assenting sort of knowing, a real experience.
Brennan Manning writes,
What would I actually do if I had it to do all over again? Heeding [the Apostle] John’s counsel, I would simply do the next thing in love.
Living in the love of God doesn’t make me work harder. It makes me love more.
Have you found yourself trying to monitor spiritual growth and achieve? What has it produced in your life? Do you agree with my assessment?
Welcome to week 4 of our book club discussion of the Furious Longing of God (disclosure) by Brennan Manning. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. If you have a response on your blog, add it to the widget below. Either way, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!