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Food for Thought - Spiritual Formation

God loves You (pt 2)

To the One Whom Jesus Loves;

Remember God loves you! God’s love for you is unique and personal. It knows no limits and has no bounds. It is a love that says, “You are my beloved in whom I am well pleased.” Beware there are those who may try and dissuade you regarding your pursuit of a deeper realization and appreciation of God’s love for you – fearing it might lead to a privatized “just me and God” kind of faith.
This is far from the truth. You see as you deeply experience the felt reality of God’s “unconditional , there is nothing that will separate you from my love” love, you are enabled to see your entire self clearly and own your own “stuff” (sin, brokenness, and capacity for evil).

Your awareness of God’s love helps to keep you from being defensive or feeling condemned. When you are able to experience this new level of self-consciousness and the corresponding deeper appreciation and awareness of God’s profound love, something unexpected takes place. Your ability to love others is born. You are freed by God’s love to realize, though you are forgiven in Christ, you are still like other people – in their brokenness and capacity for evil. You are not able to be self-righteousness or judgmental, for as you look at them you also see yourself- Forgiven, yes, loved by God, yes, but still far from perfect, still carrying your own “stuff”.
Your feelings of judgment give way to compassion.

You see hurt, fear and pain where before you saw hatred, anger and violence. You see yourself mirrored in the other and something stirs within you. This stirring brings to the surface the grace, mercy, kindness, understanding – the love you have received from God. It is the moment that you feel this spontaneous compassion for another “broken” person erupt inside that you know you have deeply and profoundly embraced and internalized the wondrous and unconditional love God has for you. You see, as you immerse yourself in God’s love, you are transformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus – one who lived a life of love – and like Jesus you are enabled to share God’s extraordinary love with others. In fact, as you continue to focus on the magnificence of God’s love for you – you will find it increasingly difficult not to be stirred to love others.

Do not heed the voices of those who may condemn or question your personal focus on God’s love. Remember, your experience of God’s deep and abiding love provides the fertile soil which enables your love for others to burst forth and grow. It is your internalization of God’s love for you which enables, empowers and compels you to be Jesus to others.

Below, you will find some verses to reflect on. Take 15 to 20 minutes each morning and sit with the words of one of these passages.

As you reflect upon the passage, allow God to bring a word or phrase to your mind.

Ponder this word or phrase and allow God to use it to lead you into a time of silent and verbal prayer.

When you are finished, purpose to take this word or phrase with you in order to think and reflect upon it throughout the rest of your day.

At the end of the day take a few moments to consider how well you did at taking and reflecting on your word or phrase considering how this word or phrase impacted you – your intentions, interactions, attitudes, and insights throughout the day. Close this time in prayer.

Here are some verses for your times of reflection:
John 13:34-35, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, Galatians 5:6,
Ephesians 5:1-2, 1 John 4:9-10, 1 John 4:15-16, 1 John 4:19-21


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