Last week I introduced our year theme for Following Jesus: Being the Beloved – A Year of Spiritual Formation. We launched this theme with a week of fasting and prayer. Please feed back to our office or to me if you feel God is saying something to us – we want to hear and obey the Lord! Today I present the Big Picture, or the Overall Framework, of Being and Becoming God’s Beloved.
The Centrality and Heart of Love
“GOD is love, whoever lives in love lives in God and God in him/her” (1John 4:16). We dare not reverse it, “Love is God.” Then we make love (whatever we mean by it) god, as many do today in a popular postmodern “spirituality of love”. We love only because God first loved us (1John 4:19), enabling us to love as he loves. How so? God created us in his image in love for love. To love is godly. But our sin, our fallen nature, rejects the ultimate source of love, God. BUT God overcame sin in love. He came to save us in his Son Jesus, his enfleshed love, his sacrificial gift of Self. In Christ we receive and live in the Father’s love – which he knew so profoundly (John 17:23-26). Father confirmed Jesus’ identity as “Beloved” at his baptism, in the Spirit of Love: “You are my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). This is the center that centers us: God’s love, giving us our identity in Christ as “Beloved.” Paul says it so well: “Be imitators of God, as his beloved (born again) children: live a life of love, just as Jesus loved us” (Ephesians 5:1-2). Continue reading Being the Beloved: The Framework