Hi everyone. Rob here.
In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 the Apostle Paul writes this:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
It resonates with me today because it’s my birthday. The numbers tick over to the next one and it naturally leads to a time of taking stock of my life. So I notice that I didn’t sleep well because of discomfort in my lower back and hips. My hair colour is changing. I’m wondering if I should get my prostate checked. Keeping my weight in check seems to get harder every year. In other words, it’s fairly obvious that outwardly I am wasting away! It’s inevitable. While it’s happening faster than I would like there is a renewal happening inside me that outweighs these external changes.
I notice that I love my wife more than I did, say, 10 years ago. I take criticism less personally and more graciously. My kids like being around me. Some people even think I’m wise. I don’t say this to brag in any way (as I’m also growing in humility!) but simply to acknowledge that by turning my attention to Christ I am being made into a better person. We all are when we do that.
I’m not getting richer or more famous or successful. I’m getting better at loving and being loved. There’s still a way to go but this observation reveals a turning point in my life. It was when I woke up to the fact that I am a beloved son of God. ‘God loves you’ is Christianity 101, but it’s when you’ve come to the end of yourself and you realise how unloveable you really are, that the discovery of the Father’s love shakes you to the very core. You discover you now have a choice; to receive or reject. Choosing to receive, choosing to believe what God thinks of me has transformed my life. It has helped me to die to selfishness and sin, and to come alive to love, joy and peace.
Like the addict in 12-step recovery every day is a struggle to believe and receive truth. God’s love needs to be agreed with and entered into daily if we’re to love in his name. Becoming a better person has meant realising my utter dependence on God’s Spirit if I am to live a truly human life. I need God to help me face up to reality and not hide. Becoming emotionally healthy and relationally mature means being able to deal with conflict, rejection, disappointments and all the stuff we love to be in denial about. It means being courageous enough to send that email or have that conversation. I’m still lacking so much but I know where to turn now.
So on this birthday I rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus my brother is teaching me how to live. I rejoice that God my Father embraces me with unconditional love. I rejoice that God’s Spirit is producing fruit in me and the evidence is love. I long for more. I long to be part of a love revolution that sweeps our land and world. I long for more rich conversations like the ones I had yesterday at a pastor’s gathering. I long to speak into people’s hearts and help them wake up to the Divine love of the Trinity.
I will run in eternity. Today I’ll settle for a free heart.
Grace and peace everyone.