As we draw closer to God, the trajectory of our spiritual life starts to rise. And my life story tells you where it goes: upward and onward with Him into ever-increasing freedom, joy and usefulness. During those years in Germany, the Lord has faithfully continued this upward trend of my life, bringing me into ever new and more radiant levels of relationship with Him.
This ongoing growth flows, like all the other changes God has wrought in me, out of meditation. It is powerful to get the Word into my mind through memorizing, then to water it by praying it, and to turn on the light of deeper understanding by personalizing it. The insights that come, the understanding, the transformation of thought, feeling and desire are marvelous.
One great area of growth has been in understanding more of the love of God. Every day in putting on the armor of God, when I come to the belt of truth, I think first about what I actually deserve as a result of my sin in all its darkness: punishment, failure, suffering, death and eternal separation from God in Hell.
Then I add to this dark backdrop, the diamond of Truth, which says that in spite of what I deserve, the eternal holy God chose me (and all others willing to believe) before the foundation of the world. He called me to Himself. He cleansed me, first forgiving, then washing away my sins and transforming me into a new creature. He claimed me as His son. He commissioned me to special service. He cherished me as if I were His only child.
Then I turn the spotlight of His grace to shine on this diamond of Truth, bringing out further sparkeling aspects of His love: I now stand before Him dearly loved, deeply cared for, doted on and delighted in. I bask in the reality of His grace, letting myself feel the wonder of total acceptance, the security of utter approval, the joy of unending love.
As I stand in this beam of grace, reveling without a pause in the light of such unconditional, rich, never-ending love, I am transformed a bit more each day.
There is a solidification of my sense of security. There is a severing of my sinful fear of others’ thoughts and values. There is a shift in my thoughts and feelings towards myself: an acceptance of self based on Christ’s acceptance of me; a lowering of self criticalness along with a rise in my desire to please Him. I experience a rest from the disturbing desire to “measure up” to others standards by being right. There is growth in the peace and joy that comes from knowing God, as opposed to performing well.
All this frees me to love others around me more, to forgive more easily, to quickly overlook offenses, to be gracious, patient and positive.
It allows me to be a carrier of “Sonshine” to others; to have believing faith for them when theirs isn’t enough, to encourage others in thankfulness, to look at the positives in their lives, rather than being distracted by the negatives.
It makes me more realistic, less idealistic. It brings a delight in being weak, confidence in God’s doing what is best, peace in the midst of uncertainty, and joy, even when I don’t get what I want.
It stimulates the flow of creativity and the ability to see what is good in hardship. It gives acuity to see and claim truth when I am accused with vague, negative generalizations.